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Choosing the Best Setting and Terms for You

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Frequently Asked Questions about Your Choices

NB: This document is part of the "PediaStaff New Graduate Guide." Click HERE to see the entire booklet.

I want to do pediatric therapy. What kind of choices do I have? What kind of placement and staffing does PediaStaff do?
PediaStaff excels and specializes in the placement and staffing of pediatric and school-based (also called education-based) occupational, speech-language pathologists (speech therapists), physical therapists, and school psychologists. Pediatric and School Based placements are all we do. Our clients are school districts, general hospitals, children's hospitals, early intervention providers and pediatric outpatient and rehab facilities. Our clients hire travelers, contract therapists and direct hire employees from us. Sometimes our candidates start out as contractors and then convert to direct.

What is the difference between "pediatric" and "school-based/education-based" therapy?
Most of the healthcare community considers the "pediatric" population to be the group of patients who are under the age of 21. In general, hospitals, rehab centers and outpatient clinics follow this more generic convention. The school and government subsidized therapy communities however, often talk about "pediatric" as the birth to five population; "early-intervention" as the home based (or "natural setting") services for the birth to five population; pre-school as campus based services for children aged three-five and "school" or "education based" to be services for children ages 6 to 18 taking place in a K-12 setting.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of travel/contract positions compared to direct hire placement?
Travel or contract placement can be preferable for a therapist in several situations. For one, pay is generally much
higher when contracting. If you are traveling in a state or city away from your permanent place of residence you may
be eligible for tax-free per-diem to cover the costs of your housing and meals while working away from your primary
residence. Traveling/contracting is also ideal if you are looking to explore new areas of the country for a while.
Advantages of direct hire placement would include opportunities for professional advancement – a direct hire employee
will generally be offered promotions long before a contractor. Benefits may be better in a direct hire environment.
Generally school districts have excellent benefits; and although the pay is much lower for district employees vs. contracting,
therapists with large families may find that the better benefits package outweighs the lower annual salary.

What is “travel therapy” and how does it differ from “contract therapy”?
A “contractor” is generally a therapist who lives locally to the client but is compensated hourly and paid through a staffing
agency or back office. A “traveler,” like a contractor, is also paid hourly and paid by an agency or back office, but
has arrived from out of town for the duration of the assignment and usually qualifies for a tax-free per-diem to pay for
the expenses associated with living out of town while maintaining a residence back home while on assignment. Contractors,
because they are local, do not have these additional expenses and are not eligible for per-diem or housing.

What types of contract/travel assignments are available and how long are they?
PediaStaff works with public and private schools, hospitals, outpatient clinics, early intervention agencies and more. Most school districts are looking for a full school-year commitment, but sometimes will consider a shorter duration. Early Intervention varies from 13 weeks on up. Hospitals and clinics are often looking for family/maternity leaves or to temporarily fill a vacancy.

Will PediaStaff be able to find me an assignment anywhere I want to go?
Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Many large metropolitan cities will not consider travelers from out of state because of their large PRN pools locally. If you are open to be one or two hours outside the major city of your choice your chances of landing the assignment close to where you want to be will improve drastically. In rural and suburban areas, the need for travelers generally is dependent on whether there are ample local candidates to start with and also whether there is a school graduating candidates in the area you are looking to work. No matter, PediaStaff will always try to find you an assignment regardless of expected market conditions and will follow up with you to make sure you know the status of your search.

What benefits does PediaStaff offer?
PediaStaff offers contractors a highly competitive benefits package which includes relocation assistance, licensure/professional dues, malpractice insurance reimbursement, and continuing education. PediaStaff utilizes a back office that will serve as your employer for the duration of the contract assignment and offers a national medical, dental, vision, life
insurance plan, 401K program, optional summer pay, and paid time off. Paychecks are weekly and direct deposit is offered. Please see your PediaStaff recruiter for a detailed benefits sheet.

Do you provide housing or is there an allowance?
The back-office provider PediaStaff utilizes operates on the per diem system rather than providing the actual housing. This means you will receive an hourly portion of your pay – tax free, that is to be used for your housing. We believe this is a superior system to that of providing housing because you can choose how much to spend and where to live rather than having us decide for you.

What is tax-free “per diem” and who is eligible?
Tax-Free Per-diem is an allowance defined by the IRS as money that can be paid to you (tax-free) to cover living
expenses incurred during the assignment. Therapists living away from their permanent residence (defined as where you are currently paying rent or mortgage) are eligible for per-diem. The spirit of this allowance is to exempt from taxation any duplicate expenses affiliated with work that would not be necessary were you living at home.

What type of support is provided if I have a clinical or administrative problem?
PediaStaff offers clinical support through its staff of clinical support coordinators from the day you begin your assignment
through its completion. Support is available 24/7 by licensed therapists who have extensive experience working within pediatric therapy.

What other support tools does PediaStaff offer?
Our website contains a virtual library of hundreds of resources for your education. In addition to our well-regarded website, pediatric therapy blog, and newsletter, therapists who join PediaStaff will have access to our proprietary on-line library of books and tools as well as the newly created PediaStaff clinician blog.

Tags: Contract-vs-Direct