Working as a Contract School Psychologist
Being a school psychologist, you have an amazing opportunity to make an immense and positive impact on students as they navigate life in the classroom. What if we told you that you could share your expertise across a variety of different school districts, student populations, and caseloads, while also exploring new and intriguing locations around the country?
Expanding Your Influence as a Contract School Psychologist
Working as a contract school psychologist combines the inherent influence you have on student lives with the ability to pursue new career avenues, grow your skill set, and embark on an adventurous lifestyle to match your interests. Much of your day-to-day professional role will remain the same, but there are many factors that differentiate contracting from a permanent position.
What Does a School Contract Look Like?
When looking at a school psych contract with a staffing agency, you’ll notice certain standardized details along with the ability to customize other aspects to fit your personal and professional needs:
Travel vs. Local
One of the top benefits of working a school contract position is the flexibility it allows for you to either work in a district across the country or stay local as you determine your future plans.
Booking a travel contract gives you the opportunity to pick your professional destination—with options across all 50 states—with the freedom to explore and support with travel and housing wherever you head. Then, you can either choose to seek an assignment elsewhere at the end of your contract or, if you love your current district, renew for another year.
A local contract keeps you close to home, so you won’t need to pack up and move anywhere to start working. This can be a valuable option for you to try out a new district for the duration of your contract and see if it’s the right fit for you. If you love it, you can always decide to work a permanent position after your contract—if you want to try something new, you always have the option to find another local district or give travel a go.
Another amazing benefit of working in a school setting is the built-in school calendar and contract length. Your contract will last for the duration of the school year, providing stability for that entire period and giving you ample opportunity to plan for the following year. An added perk to working around the school calendar is your ability to experience your school's breaks and vacations throughout the year. Not only will you have summers off between terms, but you’ll have any other school holidays off throughout your contract.
Staffing Agency Support
From day one of your school psych contracting career, you’ll have a robust support system in your corner through your staffing agency. Your personal recruiter will be there to help you plan, manage, and book your assignments, focusing on your goals with each new assignment you take on. They will be your point person for all big-picture aspects of your career—even preparing for interviews!
Your team doesn’t stop there—credentialing, housing and clinical support staff will guide you through onboarding for new contracts, travel and lodging, and any clinical questions or concerns you might have throughout your contract. If you are traveling as a new grad (yes, all new grads are welcome!), you will also benefit from the support of an experienced school psychologist as your dedicated mentor as you navigate your early career.
Getting Paid as a Contract School Psychologist
Perhaps the strongest differentiator between contract and permanent placements is the pay structure. While the pay you receive from your district for hours worked will be taxed the same way on a contract and permanent position, a travel contract offers additional compensation that boosts your overall take-home pay.
When working a travel contract, you will be earning non-taxable stipends to account for expenses like lodging, meals, and other incidentals ON TOP of your normal weekly pay.
Example: Working as a Travel School Psychologist in WA
Hours (Weekly): 37.5
Taxable Rate (Hourly): $29.00
Non-Taxable Stipends (Weekly): $1099.00
Gross Compensation (Weekly): $2,186.00
Net Compensation (Weekly): $2002.00 (Approx. $80,000/School Year)
If you were working in a fully-taxed position, you would need to be earning $2,625/Week in gross pay or $115,500 annually to equal the same take-home pay each year. For reference, the average permanent placement school psychologist's salary in WA is currently $82,742.
This additional take-home pay in your pocket will give you the freedom to tackle your financial goals while working a travel school psych contract—pay down your pesky student loans, get financially organized, or save like crazy!
Want to Go Virtual?
While you have an important platform to make a difference for students in the classroom, you can also share your school psychology expertise virtually through a school teletherapy contract. As a teletherapist, you’ll be able to treat students remotely, giving you the freedom to practice where you want while providing crucial care to students with limited access to resources.
At AMN Healthcare, our teletherapists have access to our proprietary teletherapy software, Televate, complete with hands-on training, tools, and a library of resources to help you provide the best virtual care possible to students in need. With technology continuing to evolve, opportunities in teletherapy will only continue to grow.