When we sat down to interview Alyssa Conger, M.S. CCC-SLP, we couldn’t help but be impressed with all she’s accomplished since her graduate school days ten years ago. She has worked in the public school system, earned a license to practice in three states (Tennessee, Idaho and California), and presently works as an independent contractor at the Cookeville Regional Medical Rehab Center. And get this, she has even stepped up to take the position of acting president of her local professional association, the Tennessee Association of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists (TAASLP).
As she rattled off her storied background and long list of accomplishments, she mentioned that along with her public school experience she has also worked in the exciting world of telepractice.
Getting started in telepractice comes down to three primary steps:
- Get Familiar with State Licensing Requirements
- Get Familiar with Video Conferencing Software
- Get Involved with Telepractice Companies
- Calvin University - Calvin University's Online Speech and Hearing Foundations Certificate - Helps You Gain a Strong Foundation for Your Speech-Language Pathology Career.
- Emerson College - Master's in Speech-Language Pathology online - Prepare to become an SLP in as few as 20 months. No GRE required. Scholarships available.
- NYU Steinhardt - NYU Steinhardt's Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders online - ASHA-accredited. Bachelor's degree required. Graduate prepared to pursue licensure.
- Arizona State University - Online - Online Bachelor of Science in Speech and Hearing Science - Designed to prepare graduates to work in behavioral health settings or transition to graduate programs in speech-language pathology and audiology.
Get Familiar with State Licensing Requirements
“Speech-language pathologist can work with patients in any state across the country from the comfort of home as long as they are licensed in the state in which the client lives. I know speech-language pathologists who have licenses in multiple states exactly for this reason.”
Alyssa Conger, M.S. CCC-SLP
This awesome ability to virtually travel through time and space to deliver services is more important than ever as the shortage of SLPs around the country becomes more acute amid a growing demand for the services they provide, particularly in more remote and lower-income parts of the country notorious for being medically underserved.
And it isn’t just clients that benefit from using everyday technology to improve access to therapy. One of the biggest factors impacting job prospects for SLPs is the ability to relocate for better job opportunities. Telepractice essentially acts as a relocation vehicle, bringing clients to you that you would not otherwise not be able to work with. The days of uprooting your whole life to chase your career aspirations could very well be a distant memory.
Telepractice is quickly gaining in popularity and is therefore regulated by many state licensing and compliance laws. The bottom line is, even if you’re delivering your services entirely online, you’ll be subject to all licensing laws applicable to where the clients you work with are located. It’s not nearly as scary as it might sound. The solution is simply to hold and maintain a license in good standing for each state where your clients reside.
To make the process nice and painless, ASHA provides a resource on state licensing for SLPs providing services in multiple states via telepractice .
Get Familiar with Video Conferencing Software
For many years, telepractice was something of a buzzword in the therapeutic community, but it’s now a well-established method for delivering therapeutic services to patients anywhere in the world, and is certainly anything but a passing fad. Telepractice essentially eliminates interruptions in ongoing therapy and the potential setbacks in progress that can result when patients either can’t make time for an appointment, or simply can’t make it to an appointment because the clinic is just too far away. But with telepractice, clients can simply use any one of the many popular video conferencing platforms out there – Skype, Zoom, Google, FaceBook – to participate in regular therapy sessions. For many working parents trying to juggle therapy with work and all of life’s other obligations, being able to make it down to the clinic once a week simply wouldn’t be possible.
Naturally, SLPs getting into telepractice will need to outfit themselves with reliable technology tools in order to maximize connectivity with clients and minimize technical hang-ups that might bog down a therapy session by disrupting the momentum.
TheraPlatform, one of the leading HIPAA-compliant teletherapy platforms in the business, recommends the following equipment:
- Web camera featuring 15 FPS (frames per second) capture rate (built-in or separate)
- Headset with attached microphone (analog or USB)
- High-speed internet connection (150 kbps minimum)
- HIPPA-compliant video conferencing software platform
Our Favorite SLP Telepractice Companies
Often times, even though SLPs have the education, experience, state license(s), and technological capabilities to begin telepracticing, they’re unsure of how to bag their first job, or, for those going independent, how to start establishing a client base. Luckily, there are no shortage of companies that not only specialize in providing teletherapy, but are also constantly on the lookout for talented SLPs to join their growing team of professionals. Here’s a few of our favorites:
DotCom Therapy is highly interested in finding SLPs that are rock stars in their area of specialization because they offer clients services that are broken down into specialized categories, including:
- AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication)
- Accent Modification
- Early Invention
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Voice Therapy
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Language Therapy
- Stroke Rehabilitation
Along with the freedom to work from home, DotCom Therapy also give telepracticing SLPs the perks of flexible scheduling, employment benefits, mentorship programs and support, multidisciplinary collaboration, and W-2 employment status.
VocoVision is the perfect fit for telepracticing SLPs with a passion for working with children. The company uses online and mobile applications to connect therapists and educators to children located public and charter schools, virtual classrooms, personal residences, and wherever else they may need help. As an employer, VocoVision is interested in SLPs that can offer assessment and treatment in:
- Articulations and Phonology
- Childhood Apraxia of Speech
- Language Impairments
- Literacy and Written Language
- Fluency (Stuttering)
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
We loved that VocoVision’s job board let’s SLPs search using keywords, state preferences, and job titles. The company also refreshes their job board on a weekly basis so seekers can keep checking up on new opportunities. And if you can’t find any jobs in your area, you can contact VocoVision and they’ll make a concerted effort to find one for you.
PresenceLearning taps into a team of around 800 licensed clinical professionals that utilize secure, live online video sessions along with resources like an extensive library of therapy activities supplemented by meticulous progress monitoring and recording tools. All licensed SLPs hired by PresenceLearning have master’s degrees, their ASHA CCCs, and at least two-years of work experience in a school setting. The ability to conduct assessments in the following categories will be an advantage:
- Full Language Battery
- Bilingual Language Battery
- Pragmatic Language
- Early Childhood
Instead of providing a user-friendly job board, PresenceLearning requires applicant to fill-out a 5-part application form that includes contact information, qualifications, specialty details, availability, and resume sections.
Global Teletherapy is another telepractice company that exclusively caters to the online speech therapy needs of children. Although all employers must provide their own technology equipment, the company does offer training along with activities and toys designed to enhance client sessions. When searching for job candidates, Global Teletheray typically looks for SLPs that can commit to at least 5 hours weekly. Two weeks of experience, with at least some experience in the field of pedicatrics, is likewise a must.
Global Teletherapy’s job center is pretty straightforward. After simply clicking on a job listing, SLPs are asked to submit their resume, cover letter, and answer a few short questions regarding licensure, experience and availability.
Remote Speech is a subsidiary company of Abington Speech Pathology Services, which has maintained a stellar reputation for over 15 years delivering multifaceted speech rehabilitation to individual child and adult clients, schools, and organizations. The company attracts SLP new hires by offering constant mentoring support, comprehensive training, and a software application structure that promotes high-resolution content sharing.
Instead of featuring a job board, RemoteSpeech asks job candidates to provide general information covering contact information, population specialization (child/adult/both), and state licenses.
TinyEYE Therapy Services is a telepractice company whose main goal is lessening the caseloads of schools suffering from SLP shortages. So if you have work experience in the school system, TinyEYE Therapy Services might be the ideal place for start your telepractice career. To make your job easier, the company provides customized activities, recorded sessions, mentoring services, integrated scheduling, and automated reporting services. Once hired, you’re even assigned your very own Primary Support Leader to help you navigate the company’s online platform.
eLuma is comprised of over 80 team members across 25 states that provides telepractice services to students from PreK through high school. Boasting tech support, 401(k) plans, PTO, health and life insurance, and W-2 status for its employees, the company proves it’s a lucrative company for SLPs looking for stable job positions. After submitting a brief online application through its website, you can sit back and relax as the company locates the best placement for you.