Working as a Speech Pathologist can be an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable experience. However, it’s not always the case in every workplace. As you scroll through job search websites there are always some listings lurking that you’ll want to avoid with a ten-foot pole.
Yep, that’s right. Today we’re going to share with you everything you need to know about the Speech Pathology job you don’t want. We’ll show you what to look out for in job ads and in the interview process to ensure that you end up in a Speech Pathology role that lights you up rather than dragging you down.
The Speech Pathology Job You Should Avoid
You have just started a new role in a Speech Pathology clinic. After your first couple of weeks, you still feel like you know hardly anyone on the team as they’re always busy and, if you’re honest, they don’t seem too happy about it either. The induction process has been pretty much non-existent and while you’ve managed to find your way around the resource cupboard everything inside is worn and almost falling apart. There’s been barely any supervision since you started and when you brought it up to the person that hired you, they shocked you by coming back with ‘You’ll figure it out’.
Your caseload is large, and you have spent a couple of days zipping around town, some days driving over an hour both ways for external visits. You didn’t get much in the way of a caseload handover and you’re picking up things in your sessions that have been completely left out of the reports you have read. You’ve started to take work home with you, which you never used to do, and it’s frustrating your partner and taking away from precious time with your family.
You work all the time, even during your lunch breaks, and after a month you feel like accepting the role was a huge mistake. You want to push through and make it to the six-month mark at least, hopeful that things will turn around, but your gut says otherwise. You have this burning passion for Speech Pathology and helping your clients and their families, but you can feel your love for the profession waning with every day you go to the clinic.
What to Look Out for in a Speech Pathology Job
If you are a new graduate Speech Pathologist or are simply looking for a role where you have a manageable caseload, it’s important to discuss caseload expectations during the interview process.
For new graduates in particular, looking for a Speech Pathology job where your client list is scaled up slowly over time will ensure that you are given an appropriate number of clients as your experience and confidence in the field grows.
There are far too many tales of Speech Pathology jobs that look great on the outside, but when you’re thrust into the role your caseload is enormous with some clinicians doing 6-9 billable hours a day.
While we would always recommend having a professional review your Speech Pathology job contract prior to signing, there are some things that should be immediately noted as red flags.
These red flags include:
- Requirements around paying for supervision hours upon ending the contract within 6-12 months of your start date.
- Stipulating that your salary covers any overtime.
- A full-time role offered on a contracting basis – meaning the employer is not required to pay superannuation, leave, or even provide supervision.
Supervision is an important aspect of performing at a high level as a Speech Pathologist. To ensure that Speech Pathologists across the career span have access to reliable and regular supervision, there are specific requirements set out by Speech Pathology Australia.
If the Speech Pathology job you’re looking at applying for has no mention of supervision, or if the supervision offered doesn’t meet the minimum requirements as specified by Speech Pathology Australia, speed walk in the other direction.
#4: Professional Development
Continued professional development is another important aspect of maintaining quality and integrity in the Speech Pathology field. If the job that you’re looking at has no mention of professional development opportunities, or there are lots of strings attached to CPD, it could be a sign it’s a job worth avoiding.
#5: Career Pathways
You’re looking for a Speech Pathology job where you have a future, right? Well in this case it’s important to look for signs of opportunity for promotion and career growth in a direction that appeals to you. The last thing you want is to end up in a role where you’re waiting for someone else to get promoted or resign before you can step into the next level of your career!
As an example, at SpeechEase we offer a variety of career pathways including those aiming to become High Income Earners, Clinical Mentors, Clinical Leads, and even Clinic Owners. Find out more about Careers at SpeechEase here.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that go into creating a Speech Pathology job that is well-rounded and ideal for the long-haul. Although it may seem like a dream that’s just out of reach, we promise you there are some phenomenal Speech Pathology clinics and employers out there who will value your passion, skills, and empathy.