Professionals in every career need to take breaks for one reason or another. Paternity leave, short-term disability, and taking time off to pursue a degree are all valid reasons to leave your job for a short while before returning to the workforce.
Here are some specific things you need to think about before you take a leave of absence from your physical therapy job:
- How and if FMLA applies to you: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 makes it possible for employees to leave their jobs for certain reasons for a certain amount of time. Having a child, adopting a child, caring for a spouse, parent, or child, or being sick yourself are all covered under FMLA, provided you meet the criteria outlined in the law. Check it out for yourself and talk to your boss about your leave well in advance (unless it's an emergency in which case speak up as soon as possible).
- Know what you need to about your license: PT license guidelines vary from state to state, so you need to do some research to see what you need to maintain your license during your time of leave. Don't mess around and neglect to keep your license up to date if you want to come back to a career in PT.
- Expect change when you come back: Some jobs don't change much even when you take a year or two off, but PT unfortunately isn't one of those jobs. Expect to encounter changes when it comes to payment, documentation procedures, and evolving evidence, especially if you've taken an extended leave from the PT world. Check out these tips on reentering the field to get up to speed on how things have evolved since you left.
- Brush up on your PT know-how: Taking time off from PT doesn't mean you aren't an asset to the industry. Dig in to some research about the current salaries for physical therapists, and keep your eye out for job openings and general career news surrounding physical therapy. Spending some of your time off thinking about how you'll get back in will pay off big time when the time comes for your return.
Leaving and returning to your role as a physical therapist has a few special considerations that other careers don't need to consider. For more advice on how to reenter the workforce after your leave of absence, or to learn about new job opportunities in the healthcare field, please contact us.
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