As a Licensed Mental Health Professional for the last three years, the way the industry has changed since March 2020 has been significant. I got licensed in December 2017. Then looked for a position with a group practice. I interviewed with one group practice but decided not to take it because of the low pay. This was my first job offer since being licensed and I wanted to see what else was out there. Well, there wasn’t much – if anything at all! This was early 2018.
Solo or Group Private Practice? The Pandemic Has Shifted Things
However, the drastic changes I have seen recently in the mental health field is amazing – all due to the pandemic. Not only is there a shortage of mental health professionals, but I get daily emails from group practices asking me to interview with them. The perks of signing with these group practices are selecting your own days and hours, working online from home with no overhead costs.
Incentives on Solo or Group Private Practice
One of the most significant changes that I saw recently is I even got offered a $500 signing bonus if I joined a specific group practice. I’ve never seen this before in this industry. I feel like mental health professionals are finally being noticed and taken seriously for the amount of time and effort spent to get licensed. It took me 4,000 hours and 4 years to get dually licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist and a Professional Clinical Counselor.
So, Why Are There So Many Group Practices Starting?
The number of group practices springing up all over than there were three years ago when I got licensed. Also, there is certainly a demand for therapists due to the pandemic. Fewer therapists available to hire, the demand and signing bonuses being offered is good news for mental health professionals. Skills are being financially compensated for the quality and effectiveness of our work that we provide to our communities.
The Perks of Group Practice For When You Just Start Out
Starting with a group practice is definitely an option to consider when beginning as entry-level mental health professional. I recommend signing with a group practice for at least a year. Nothing to lost since there is no overhead cost. Work for a year with a group practice. Earn and save some money. Build your clientele. Then decide after a year when your contract is up on how you want to proceed with your career as an entrepreneur. Working solo, running a practice, or working for a non-profit agency?
Solo or Group – It’s Ultimately Up To You
I wish I had these opportunities available to me only three short years ago, but I didn’t. I decided to try the solo private practice route which has grown this past year. Due to the demands of more people wanting and needing help and support because of a pandemic. The ball is in your court as a mental health professional. When deciding which route you want to take, either trying a solo private practice or group private practice. The need is greater than the number of therapists available for hire.
Note: A previous version of this article was originally published at Practice of the Practice in February 2021.