I want to start off by saying that I absolutely LOVED working in the schools. Between being a teacher and then SLP, the majority of my adult life has been spent in a school setting. When I became an SLP, my plan was to continue to work in the school setting…always and forever. But life happens and plans change.
This past spring I officially resigned from my job at the special education co-op I was working for. I am not going to go into all the nitty gritty details about what led to my resignation, but there were several reasons. At the time of my resignation, I planned to find another school based position. I updated my resume and began to scour the region for SLP job listings at all of the local schools. That’s when I realized…it was not going to be easy to find another school SLP job in my area.
My area of Central Texas is pretty rural. There are many small school districts, several medium sized school districts, and just one or two large districts. Most small school districts use special education co-ops for their speech therapy services. I did not want to go from one co-op to another. I was looking for a job with an actual school district where I could be in one location. I didn’t want just any job. I wanted one that was a good fit for me as well as for the district.
Unfortunately, there just weren’t many openings. I did submit an application to one local district and was called for an interview. I thought the interview went extremely well and I was certain they would offer me the job. They didn’t. It was disappointing, but I knew it meant it wasn’t the right fit for me. I am a firm believer that God has a plan for my life and I knew in my heart that He would lead me to the right position.
As the school year began to wind down, I knew I had to get something lined up. This is when I began to explore the possibility of working in other settings.
Home health and the SNF setting were not what I wanted to do as a full-time job. I knew this from my PRN work in both settings. I have always enjoyed working with adults, but I feel the most passion and confidence in myself when I work with pediatrics. I decided to reach out to some local pediatric clinics and see what happened.
Several job offers came in! The hard part was making a decision.
Did I really want to leave the school setting?
Which clinic was the best fit for me?
After much prayer and conversations with my husband and several close friends, I finally came to a decision. I sent the email and accepted a job at a local clinic.
At the end of the school year, I said my goodbyes (possibly shed a few tears), and enjoyed my last summer off…
It’s now August and I have completed my first two training days at the clinic. I have had some anxiety about making the change, but I trust that God led me to this job for a reason.
I don’t know if I will stay in the clinic setting forever, or if I will return to the school setting someday. I have had moments where I was overwhelmed with guilt for leaving my school job, but I also know that guilt is not a reason to stay somewhere you are unhappy. I am excited about the new setting and using my teaching and school based SLP background in a new way. I know I will have several patients who receive school based speech therapy, and I look forward to working with their school SLPs to help them make great progress. As difficult as it was, I know I made the right decision for me and for my family.
I decided to share this on my blog because I know there may be other SLPs who are feeling that they may want to switch settings, but just aren’t sure. My advice to you is, do what you think is best for you and your family. Don’t let guilt or other outside pressures influence your decision. You might be a private clinic SLP looking to move to the schools. You might be a school SLP looking to get into the medical setting. You might want to try home health. Whatever it is…think about it, pray about it, and I say go for it. The variety and different settings we can work in is one of my favorite things about our field. If you don’t like the new setting, you can always go back.
**UPDATE** After 2 months in the private practice setting, I realized it wasn’t for me. I struggled with inconsistent pay due to no shows/cancellations and really missed being in the school environment. I enjoy working with students and teachers in the classroom, seeing them in a natural environment and being able to incorporate classroom materials into my therapy sessions. I found a nearby district who was hiring and I got a school based position!
If you have any questions for me, please feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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