The Pros and Cons of Teletherapy
Depending on where you live, working in a traditional speech-language pathology office may mean driving more than 100 miles a day round-trip to serve clients. Rather than spending hours commuting, you could turn to teletherapy. With any career change, there are pros and cons. If you’re considering a change in setting and thinking of working remotely as a teletherapist, review the pros and cons first.
Pros of Teletherapy for SLPs
Work from the comfort of your home
You’ll need a dedicated space for telepractice, but this means you can make it comfortable for you. If you don’t have a separate room for a home office, you can create a similar space anywhere in your home that’s quiet. Most teletherapy platforms provide you with
See clients from around the country
Because you and your clients use the internet and video conferencing software to conduct your sessions, geography knows no bounds. You aren’t limited to students in your city or state – as long as you hold a license in your home state and your students’ state, they are eligible to receive services via teletherapy. This means you’ll have access to a larger student base, which allows you to add hours to your schedule and more money in your pocket.
See clients on a flexible schedule
Unless the company you work for schedules your student sessions for you, you will have the freedom to see your students on a schedule that works for you. This flexibility means less stress for you and allows you to focus proper attention on each one of your students.
Earn part-time teletherapy income
Many speech-language pathologists already have full-time jobs at schools, hospitals, or other healthcare facilities. The flexibility of teletherapy allows these clinicians to take on extra work in the evenings providing them with an additional source of income.
Cons of Teletherapy for SLPs
No face-to-face contact with clients
Face-to-face contact with clients helps ensure the clients stay on track. It’s not possible to follow a child around if they walk away from the camera. While it helps to have an adult helper with the child to help keep them focused, at times the adult may also walk away. This makes it difficult to get children to speak, particularly if they use avoidance behavior often. For situations like this, make sure there is a paraprofessional or assistant present and/or if the school and students require face-to-face interaction, find out if they can cover the cost of your travel to the school if it fits within your schedule.
Teletherapy isn’t a suitable option for all clients
Teletherapy is a great thing, for the students who can benefit from it. There are still many students who require face-to-face therapy. If your students have severe vision, hearing, or other types of cognitive deficiencies, in-person therapy might be a better option for them. The school district also needs to have a strong internet connection in order for sessions to occur successfully. If the school is in a very rural area, make sure to have their IT team check their internet connection before
Managing your expenses and taxes as an independent contractor
Because you’ll be working out of a “home office,” you’re considered an independent contractor as a teletherapist. This means you’ll have to handle your income taxes, office supplies, and insurance on your own. This is fairly common in the therapy world, so reach out to colleagues, friends, or your recruiter if you need advice or insight on best practices. It’s also helpful to connect with your tax representative to make sure you’re including everything needed to file your return.
Since teletherapists are held to the same standards as those who work in-person with their patients, it really comes down to a matter of personal preference. It’s also possible to operate a hybrid practice, where you see some clients in person and others via teleconferencing.
Need more insight into what it’s like to work as a teletherapist? Check out our #WhereWeWork series, highlighting our amazing therapists and their journies into teletherapy: Where We Work Series
If you are ready to start your career as a teletherapist, search our teletherapy jobs here!