Red flags and green flags!

Applying for your first job as a new graduate speech pathologist

With the demand for speech pathologists steadily increasing and lengthy waitlists everywhere we go, as a student or new graduate you can find yourself with many job opportunities.

We’re often faced with the choice of picking between multiple options, and it can be hard to figure out which job is the best fit for you!

Keep reading if this feels like you! Below are some of the most common red flags and green flags suggested by a group of new graduate speech pathologists.

1. New graduate programs
  • Red Flag: There is no new graduate program or they offer you one at a later date with little or no information. Transitioning from studying to working as a clinician is stressful! Without a structured program and support to guide you from your first day, you will feel overwhelmed and burned out.
  • Green Flag: You are offered a highly structured new graduate program with training and personal development opportunities. Expect your employer to tell you about this in detail and invest in YOU and your growth.
2. Staff experience levels
  • Red Flag: There are no experienced senior speech pathologists or leadership team to support you.
  • Green Flag: A dedicated leadership team of senior speech pathologists with experience ranging from 5-10 years. Bonus points if a member of the leadership team is available to speak to everyday in person and support you through any challenging cases or clients!
3. Supervision
  • Red Flag: Supervision is limited, infrequent or not scheduled. Speech Pathology Australia recommends and requires at least a minimum of 12 hours of mentoring or clinical supervision from a more experienced speech pathologist.
  • Green Flag: You are offered scheduled, weekly supervision sessions. You are also supported with mentoring sessions, peer supervision and drop in times in addition to your scheduled weekly supervision. Expect to have a team who regularly checks up on you and is ready to support you outside of this too!
4. Productivity levels – how many clients?
  • Red Flag: You are expected to work a full caseload from day 1. If they expect you to see 6 or more clients in a day, run.
  • Green Flag: Your workplace provides you with at least 1-2 weeks of shadowing your team members’ sessions. This gives you the opportunity to get a feel for the sessions and come up with ideas for your own! After shadowing, expect to see clients at a slow and steady pace.This will give you plenty of admin time to prep for your sessions and write notes at the beginning. Trust me, you’re going to need it!

 

5. Salaried vs Pay per client/visit
  • Red Flag: You are signed on as an independent contractor and are paid per client. This is very risky as there will be fluctuations in your pay. Especially during busy holiday and vacation periods, or when your clients are sick.
  • Green Flag: Expect a salaried position with generous annual leave, including sick leave and mental health leave. Your team should care about your wellbeing and work/life balance!

If you don’t have all of this information, that’s okay! Make sure to read through job descriptions and contracts carefully, talk to your friends about your interviews, and ask your interviewers and employers if you have any questions.

I hope you find the perfect fit for you, join a workplace that makes you feel supported and love coming to work every day!

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