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The 2018 SLP Telepractice Survey: Implications for Salary, Benefits, and Businesses.

Discussion of the 2018 Telepractice Survey:

The majority of tele-SLP‘s work part time- this is an increase in part- time employment over the past year 47% to 34%. There was an increase in the number of people planning and preparing to do Telepractice. In our online, hands-on, live bootcamps we noted those planners to often be SLPs planning to retire from current position and SLPs planning to start an independent practice.

There’s an increase actually in the number of telepractitioners working in the school system up from 35% to 49%. I personally find the structure of employment to be the quite interesting as we had a significant growth in the number of tele-SLPs working as independent contractors up from 24% to 41%. Likewise, we see a decrease in the number of people actually employed by a company or a school system. There are quit a few threads and posts about the significant differences between Independent Contractor and Employee status.

I was surprised that there was no significant change in the number of SLP‘s with more than one-year experience. It would seem that we continue to have a growth in SLPs new to Telepractice. This growth we see in the number of tele-SLPs joining the Telepractice for SLPs and SLP Telepractice Collaboration Facebook pages everyday.  The great majority of Telepractitioners do not receive an annual salary, but those who do are equally distributed from $35,000 a year to $75,000 a year.

As we know, most speech pathologists are paid on an hourly basis for providing services at a distance. Careful analysis of the survey data suggested that there was an increase in the number of participants earning between $36 and $45 per hour. There seem to be no change SLPs earning a higher salary per hour.  

There was a slightly different picture for SLPs paid per session with a slight increase in those earning between $46 and $75 per session.  Therapists who are paid per-session are being reimbursed more often for paperwork meetings in administrative time up from 25% [2017] to 46% [2018] which we would view as a positive sign.  On the other hand, in general reference to receiving benefits beyond salary, there was a slight decrease in Telepractitioners receiving retirement, paid time off, continuing education, and health care benefits.

Continuing the trend toward more Telepractice being done in schools, there was a moderate increase in the percentage of SLPs offering Telepractice services in a school setting or to school clients. There was actually a drop in the number providing services to young adults, adults and, geriatric clients conceivably related to the lack of third party reimbursement, in particular Medicare, for telepractice services.  Overall, speech therapists are being licensed in more than one state. There was at least a moderate increase in SLPs license in 2 to 4 states in the United States. There was no significant change in SLPs providing Telepractice services across national borders to other countries.   One change that could be of significant is that more SLPs reported having productivity quotas with the majority of those facing a 70% productivity quota.

The great majority of speech pathologists are using either a proprietary video platform [35%] provided by their company or zoom at [29%]. Following behind these are WebEx, Go to Meeting and Blinksession.com. There appears to be quite a bit of growth potential for the more slp-centric (providing features specifically designed for treatment sessions) video platforms such as Blink, Theraplatform, and others.

Finally in terms of needs for SLPs offering services at a distance: what are the needs for an aspiring or established Telepractitioner? We see a little trend in maturity in the profession as the majority of SLPs are looking for more advanced training for things like: more sophisticated use of whiteboards, materials, resources etc. We do still have 33% who are looking for more basic training such as that provided in the Telepracticecommunity.com Bootcamps. Relative to business and private practice, Tele-SLPs are looking for business coaching to start a Telepractice and for marketing and promotion of their Telepractice businesses. Twenty-one % of responders indicated that they could use help with selection of the video platform that best aligns with their resources and plans. We think that this is a very important one in terms of cost savings, time efficiencies, customer satisfaction and other critical factors for success.

For expert and experienced help with tele-training, business coaching or organizational telepractice counseling, contact us at www.telepracticecommunity.com or call 724.831.8353 .

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