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OTS 149: The Essentials of Contracting as a School-Based OTP

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Welcome to the show notes for Episode 149 of the OT Schoolhouse Podcast.

Thinking about working directly with schools or going through a staffing agency? Jayson and Elise explore the pros and cons of direct contracting vs. staffing agencies and share insights to help you make informed decisions about your career path.

They discuss the nuances of being a 1099 subcontractor versus a W-2 employee, the non-therapy duties that often come with traditional employment, and the hard-to-navigate waters of rates, negotiation, and setting up clear, beneficial contracts. They will touch upon the importance of establishing boundaries to prevent burnout and maintain a fulfilling career.

Tune in to learn more!

Listen now to learn the following objectives:

  • Learners will identify the differences between contracting in a school and being a school employee

  • Learners will understand the process for self-contracting and going through a staffing agency

  • Learners will identify ways to find and negotiate a contract as a school-based therapist

Guest Bio

Elise Mitchell, M.S. CCC-SLP graduated from Missouri State University in 2013 and entered the world of school staffing by working for virtual staffing companies for six years as an SLP, school sales person, and provider manager. 

Years later, Elise left the world of large staffing companies to focus on being an INTENTIONALLY small contractor, serving her state and setting her contract terms. 

After falling in love with direct contracting, Elise founded The Therapist Support Network with the goal of making materials, support, and community available to all therapists who want to work with schools without working for them.


“You can't be a contractor and suddenly, qualify a student outside of the parameters the state tells you to- you're still a school provider. You still have your governing body …and then, of course, IDEA.”

-Elise Mitchell, M.S. CCC-SLP

“ I called schools with a vacancy. I called a special education director, so don't call the HR department.”

-Elise Mitchell, M.S. CCC-SLP

“Don't sell to someone who has not consented to be sold to. We've all had those moments at car dealerships or walking across the mall or whatever where like someone just starts to sell to us and then it doesn't even matter. If they're selling me gold at for a cost of a penny, I'm not gonna listen to them because they, invaded my bubble and my boundaries.”

-Elise Mitchell, M.S. CCC-SLP

“Start hourly, and bill for all services, bill for evaluation write up, IEP write up, bill for everything….there are ways to get access to what schools have paid. That is public information.”

-Elise Mitchell, M.S. CCC-SLP

“If the district does have a salary schedule for the OTs, you can look at that. You've got to understand that that doesn't necessarily include health care costs. You’re going to have to take taxes out of that yourself…but I think that's another potential starting point to look at”

-Jayson Davies, M.A, OTR/L


Don’t forget to use promo code JAYSON to save on your purchase.

Episode Transcript

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Click on the file below to download the transcript to your device.

Ep 149 - The Essentials of Contracting as a School-Based OTP
Download PDF • 159KB

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