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Private Practice as a Career Choice

Private Practice as a Career Choice

Author: Rob Eubanks

This lesson discusses private practice as a career choice.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] In this lesson, we'll discuss the four benefits of private practice. We'll also cover pay and work structure. This includes the wide range of pay and work done by practitioners, which depends, in large part, on how much and how often practitioners are willing to work.

So you should note that the work and pay range are tied to specific circumstances, such as-- saturation of counselors practicing in a specific location, counselor expertise on specific topics, and ability to gain insurance paneling-- or that is, to be accepted as a provider for insurance companies.

Benefits of a private practice-- there are many benefits to choosing a private practice. Some of these include autonomy, income, specialization, and flexibility. The first being autonomy-- meaning that you are free to do what you will with work times and days. So for example, my available appointment times are Tuesday to Friday at 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. So I don't like working weekends, and my energy isn't good in the evenings. And that leaves me time for my other passion, which is this-- teaching.

The second is income. Private practice can be very lucrative and has a higher earning potential than most jobs within the field. So from seeing only 6 to 8 clients a week, taking off 2 months in the summer, holidays and weekends, I make between $20,000 and $25,000 annually. That's not too bad for putting in a total of maybe 8 to 10 hours total per week.

Number three-- specialization. Private practice affords the owner the opportunity to specialize based on his or her own interests or the population that he or she wants to work with. So along with my regular specializations of relationship counseling and adult individual counseling, I also have a specialization in CISM, or Critical Incident Stress Management. Now I'm contracted with employee assistance programs to work on incidents such as after bank robberies on site, employee deaths, suicides, management conflict, or employee disputes.

So the pay for these sort of contract gigs is between $125 and $160 per hour, plus pay for travel time. So it gets me out of the office. It challenges me because it's these new scenarios. And obviously, it pays very well.

The fourth is flexibility. Private practice affords the opportunity to change focus when there is burnout in a client population. So for example, I used to enjoy working with children and families, and that slowly became unenjoyable for me. So I simply stopped seeing children and families and focused on other areas of expertise and looked for opportunities for training in new areas.

Pay structure-- so there's several different ways of being paid in private practice, including-- hourly wage, which would be from an employer; a salary, which would also be from an employer. Aside from a straight hourly wage or salary, there are many per session payment options which come from either the client or insurance company.

So an example would be an individual solely in business for themselves keeps the entire charged amount from the client clinical hour. So another example would be being an independent contractor working for someone else. In this scenario, a split or percent of the per session payment is given to the business owner, the building owner, or to another counselor.

Payment has a wide range from $25 per counseling hour up to $250 per hour, depending on how one is paid. Now there can be tax advantages and disadvantages to different types of payment structures. So it can be helpful to consult an accountant.

So here are a few advantages and disadvantages of different types of payment. Independent contractors do not have taxes removed and have to budget accordingly. Now this can be a pro, as there is more money up front. Yet, it can also be a con, as you'll need to budget for taxes, including self-employment tax.

Now employees have taxes removed from each paycheck. And this could be a pro, as money is better allocated for paying taxes. Yet, it can also be a con as there is less money throughout the year.

Work structure-- so here are some typical services that you can charge for-- intake sessions, ongoing sessions, consultations, trainings, EAP, or Employee Assistance Program contract work. So here's an example of a consultation. Court cases often require expert witnesses. And attorneys often seek out counselors in a consultation basis to provide opinions and insights in their cases. Now these counselors are often called as witnesses to appear in the court trials, as well.

Now here's an example of a training. Businesses and corporations often seek out area professionals to give talks on stress management, communication, and conflict resolution in the workplace. And here are some EAP contract work examples-- workplace trainings; drug-free workplace talks; conflict resolution, which is a big one because there's often conflicts to be resolved within management, within employees, higher upper-level management; next, job and health fairs; trauma and response; and then critical incident stress management. And those I spoke about a little bit earlier in terms of my work with the EAPs.

This is also something that can be done on a contractual basis outside of EAPs for the same reasons that I mentioned, as well as others, such as trauma relief after a natural disaster-- tornadoes, hurricanes, or various incidents like that. So here's what we covered in this lesson-- first was benefits; next was pay structure; last, work structure.


Notes on "Private Practice as a Career Choice"

(00:00-00:52) Introduction

(00:53-03:19) Benefits of Private Practice

(03:20-05:11) Pay Structure

(05:12-06:51) Work Structure

(06:52-07:06) Summary