A new year presents a fresh opportunity to reflect on the previous year, set career goals for the future, and course-correct as needed. Without a doubt, 2021 brought with it an onslaught of challenges for clinicians and understaffed school districts that included addressing student learning loss and increased mental health challenges and trauma. Many practitioners were pressed to not only support their students in new ways, but they had to balance unique family pressures that often included taking care of children still learning from home due to extended COVID-19 in-person school closures.
Fresh new challenges are yet to come in 2022. But you can leverage what you’ve learned to meet this new year empowered to take control of your career—with teletherapy. Teletherapy offers a powerful career choice to let you practice at the top of your license, with flexibility in scheduling to adjust your caseload up or down as needed, and the ability to serve a broad diversity of students, within a supportive community of professional colleagues.
Let’s explore the top five reasons for starting your teletherapy career and hear from a few clinicians who are practicing as teletherapists today.
1. Take back control of your life (protect your time and health)
A teletherapy career lets you work when, where, and how you want. The keyword is flexibility. You have the power—to control your caseload size, and to expand or decrease your hours as your needs change. You might be at a point in life when you have lots of energy and you want to scale up your therapy career. Teletherapy can let you supplement your existing practice in the hours that work without burning you out.
You might be arriving at retirement but you realize you want to keep working in the career you love, but on your own terms. Perhaps you want to spend mornings going to the gym, or afternoons picking up the children and spending time with them when they get home. Teletherapy also may entice you to cross-license in other states, so that you’re not stuck with the typical schedule of your particular time zone. You can lengthen your day, or time shift as needed. To get started we can help guide you through the logistics of cross-licensing into states where we have students who need services.
And, especially important today, you can reduce “COVID fatigue” with a COVID-safe teletherapy career, to protect yourself and your family members during this very challenging pandemic time.
I enjoy the flexibility and the ability to work in multiple states and multiple districts. In the pandemic, I appreciate the ability to be home and safe because my mother is 86-years-old. If I had to go into a school, I would not have been able to be around her. The benefits now are huge.
—Lynn White, Ed.S.
2. Make the most of your career and curb your commute.
You studied and trained in your profession because you are dedicated to serving students. Chances are, you have found quality time with students diminishing due to additional demands on your time. Many clinicians spend far too much time commuting, sometimes driving between multiple schools. You didn’t invest in your career to spend hours in your car. And once you arrive on campus, you may face peripheral duties and chasing down materials that further reduce time with students.
Teletherapy let’s you maximize time with the students you are committed to supporting. With a teletherapy practice, your office and students are always a few steps away. And you will future-proof your career by choosing a state-of-the-art online platform designed to make your therapy sessions efficient and engaging. For example, PresenceLearning’s award-winning platform includes a digital content library, plus assessments from major publishers. You’ll be able to do much-needed evaluations as a valuable member of a school team, or as an independent practitioner. And you’ll save time on documentation—our platform provides documentation assistance to streamline your workflow, increase efficiency, and give you more hours for students.
Students today need your support more than they ever have. Teletherapy offers you a vehicle to refocus your career on doing what you do best.
“I wanted to continue working with students even after changes in my life took me away from being able to work in a brick-and-mortar setting. I love that I can structure my time to fit the way that I work best. A big motivation to move to teletherapy was to cut out my driving time, which was significant since I was working between three or four schools. I’m able to spend more time with my family and focus on my work because of the benefits of not having a commute.”
—Sarah Baez, Ed.M., NCSP
3. Serve students who need you now more than ever.
You became a therapist to serve students who need your help. And we all know there’s a greater need than ever for clinicians to support young people across the country. The surgeon general, for instance, recently called for expanded telehealth services to help manage the volume of needs among children in school. In an on-the-ground career, therapists are constrained by geography and limited opportunity in the range of students they can serve. Technology can play a key role in the expansion of equity and access in education.
Do you live in a small town in a rural area? Chances are you’re working with a pretty stable demographic. What if you could really open that up to serve a more diverse group of students? Are you bilingual and able to provide services to children who are also learning English as a second language? Maybe you’ve been working with rural elementary school students and want to explore working with teenagers in a larger urban area in a part of the country where you grew up but no longer live.
A teletherapy career can broaden your opportunities to serve a diverse group of students and expand your professional experience.
“One of the biggest things I enjoy is the fact that I get to service underserved areas in the state and being virtual makes it easier to connect to so many more students and schools.”
—Araceli Saldana, LSSP
4. Practice on the leading teletherapy platform.
Students today have grown up with digital technology. And they will continue to grow with digital technology in their future education and careers. We live in a digital age. The best teletherapy platforms offer clinicians an opportunity to meet students in an environment that excites them. Unlike generic video conferencing, a platform designed for teletherapy gives clinicians a range of tools to engage students, and help them refocus when distractions inevitably arise.
The right teletherapy environment brings the therapist directly to their screen, with dual cameras—one for face-to-face interaction, and one for viewing objects on the desktop, hand gestures, etc. Headphones keep peripheral distractions at bay and help students to focus on the conversation with the therapist. Many students experience the stigma of attending therapy sessions reduced by the technology cooler factor—instead of having to “do therapy,” they get to learn and play games on the computer. For many students, this is transformational. And for therapists, experiencing these successful interactions over time is a powerful reason to expand your practice to teletherapy.
The award-winning PresenceLearning platform was built by clinicians for clinicians for preK-12 students with special needs to help them grow and thrive. Over the last 12 years, the PresenceLearning platform has been used by speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and behavioral and mental health practitioners to deliver 3 million teletherapy sessions.
“The PresenceLearning platform allows for each student’s therapy to be highly individualized. It makes planning and creating materials to meet individual needs and interests 1,000 times easier than other platforms.”
—Karen Totman, Maine School Administrative District 75
5. Practice teletherapy with a community of peers and mentors.
Most schools typically have only a few therapists on site. And because clinicians are scarce in some communities, it’s common for many therapists to pack up and commute to other schools in a district. Surprisingly, being a therapist on site can be a lonely role. Choosing a company that makes community and mentoring a priority can reverse that sense of isolation while supporting professional learning, knowledge sharing, and connection.
The PresenceLearning Care Network is the largest network of speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, school psychologists, and social workers with 1500+ practitioners. Clinicians have a wide range of opportunities for connection with peers—exploring and participating in various groups in The Lounge online, identifying study partners, sharing therapy ideas, and more.
Every clinician in the network has a personal “empowerment manager” to support them, a constant flow of professional learning opportunities with PresenceLearning mentor clinicians and invited experts, plus a full support team to back them up if they run into technical challenges when they’re working in sessions with students.
A teletherapy career can help you find the community you have been seeking to help you get up to speed and keep growing.
“It’s super nice to have connections with all the therapists in The Lounge—you can follow different threads. You can share what you’re doing with a student and ask for any suggestions. This opens up so much opportunity and learning for us as therapists to have so many people to collaborate with whereas if you’re just at a school, you might have maybe one or two other SLPs if you’re lucky, unless you’re at a big district. I’ve really appreciated that.”
—Kaitlin Hurley M.A. CCC-SLP
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We’re actively hiring. Start the new year with a teletherapy career! Apply now.