Are you interested in working within the telepractice setting? Would you like to dip your toes in the water a bit and learn more?
Telepractice has, for me, been a game changer as far as my career is concerned. It's been a great fit for me moving away from being a school employee and having the opportunity to still work for schools (which I love) with more freedom and independence than I had before.
Maybe telepractice could be a game changer for you, too?
These questions and answers will give you clarity about your own next steps.
Switching settings can be confusing, and it's important to gather information before you make the switch (or seriously consider making the switch), but this kind of information can be difficult to find online. Read on for more information, specifics, and honesty (because you know that's what we do here).
1. What do you think of working in telepractice?
I’ve been working in this setting for years and I really enjoy it. For me, I’m guessing it’s a long-term switch.
I really do enjoy working within the school setting – seeing a variety of students all day, working with parents and teachers, and more.
However, when I was a school employee and I was there every day, I found I was constantly interrupted and was often doing tasks that were not SLP related that pulled me away from my essential job duties. Because that isn’t happening with telepractice, I feel like I can do my job even better than if I was there in person.
2. What company do you work for?
This is going to sound like a non-answer, but hang tight.
My company isn’t a good fit for everyone. It’s a good fit for me.
Working for the company I work for won’t solve your problems. You need to identify the support you need to make the switch and interview with companies and talk to them yourself. It’s what I did, and because I went through that process, I made the best choice for me. You can do the same, and find the best fit for you.
What I wish people would ask instead is this – what should I ask telepractice companies if I’m interested in working with them? Here are the top 3 questions I’d ask:
Will there be a person onsite with the student as I do therapy?
Will I be paid for all my essential job duties (writing IEPs, writing reports, meetings, prep and so on)?
What kind of platform do you use to do videochat (i.e. zoom, go to meeting, your own platform), and will I be trained on it?
3. What are the downsides to telepractice?
You have to work really, really hard to develop relationships at the school you are contracting with. It’ll take more effort since you won’t just see coworkers in the hallway everyday, for example. You absolutely can develop these relationships with coworkers and parents, but you need to be much more intentional about it in this setting.
4. What are the upsides to telepractice?
I work from home. I can grab a snack or a cup of tea anytime. I have breaks during the day, which I never had when I worked as an employee for a school. My day is a lot less stressful and hectic.
I also love that I still get to work directly with students in the school setting, which I really enjoy.
5. Is it hard to get a job in this setting and how is the pay?
I make slightly more in telepractice than I did as a school employee, but I don’t get health insurance benefits, so it’s really a wash for me. I decided to make the switch anyway, because for me it’s not all about the money and benefits – it’s about how happy I am with my work.
For friends I’ve had who have made the switch to telepractice, they haven’t had an issue finding jobs. However, a few of them are underemployed – in other words, they’d like to be working more hours than they are.
Your Questions Answered
I hope this was a helpful Q and A to answer your questions about telepractice. Making the switch from school employee to a telepractice employee or contractor isn’t the best fit for everyone. But if you are thinking of making the switch, I encourage you to learn more about it and if it might be a good fit for you.
If you have more questions, I’d be happy to answer them in a future blog post, just ask at: www.slphappyhour.com/contact