Speech pathology private practice is a wonderful setting to work in and I had the pleasure of working in this setting for a few years. I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED IT!
When most speech pathology students picture what therapy will be like in the "real world," they picture private practice!
Assessment/goals/therapy/dismissal is based on evidence based practice, clinical expertise, and experience.
There are a few cons to consider though....life is not perfect!
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1. Flexibility with goals, assessments, & treatment
The number one thing I loved most of private practice is the FLEXIBILITY!!! When I was in grad school, I pictured assessing a patient, writing a report and goals, treating that patient with EBP therapy techniques, and then dismissing the patient when appropriate.
This is the ONLY setting where that dream becomes "mostly" true!
2. Strong parent relationship
Parents have to drop off, pick up, and hopefully participate in therapy. I saw what an impact a strong parent-therapist relationship had on progress. When parents were updated frequently on goals, hand-given a home program, and observed therapy regularly, children made the most progress.
3. Variety patients and disorders
I worked with children and adults and almost every disorder imaginable. The variety of assessment and therapy appealed to me.
4. Assessment, lots of assessment!
I love assessing patients. I enjoy the challenge of putting "all the piece together" and then creating a "game plan. " In this setting, I completed the MOST formal, comprehensive assessments...by far!
5. Pay Advantage
If you work for yourself and have a successful practice, this setting has the potential to be the highest paying.
6. Less Paperwork
Don't get me wrong, there is still paperwork. However, when compared with IEPs, the paperwork is less.
1. Long hours
For me, this is the biggest drawback. Many children are seen during "after school hours." Therefore, you work until 6 or 7 at night.
2. Pay is not steady
This is especially true if you work for yourself. Your paycheck depends on patient's showing up for appointments and a constant stream of referrals.
3. Lack of benefits
Again, if you work for a big company, this may not apply to you. If you work for yourself or for a small company, you may not have paid vacations, paid holidays, sick days, retirements accounts, etc...
4. Dealing directly with payments
Many speech pathologists are uncomfortable charging and collecting payments.
5. Dealing with insurance companies
Some private practices are insurance providers. This may bring in more clients who could not afford private practice rates otherwise, but dealing with insurance companies can devour your time and create major headaches!
6. Lack of co-workers
Having lots of co-workers especially from other disciplines does wonders for development of skills. In private practice, you may only have a handful of co-workers. It can be a bit lonely.