Different Types of School Contracts: Building Your Dream Contract

Mar 19, 2024

Let me bring you in on the worst kept secret ever--the reason I contract is because I absolutely love and live for the autonomy that directly contracting with schools brings. There is nothing quite like the ability to set my rate, my hours, my terms.

Often my coaching customers will schedule a call with me assuming that school contracting is for a stereotypical full-time position.  It absolutely can be BUT it can also be SO MANY other things. 

Let me give you some examples of types of contracts that you can establish as a direct contractor or a private practice owner looking for another revenue stream.

I cannot express enough the significance in building a contract around YOUR financial and life needs.  THAT is how you sustain, prevent burnout, and keep your passion for school-based therapy going. 

Let's dig in to some types of contracts you can implement as an SLP/OT/PT or other related service provider ⬇️

FMLA Coverage/On-Demand Contracts: This type of contract is ideal for providers who love spontaneity, love variety, only have chunks of time available during the school year, etc.  An FLMA Coverage Contract or On-Demand Contract is a type of contract that is specific to covering a caseload for a short amount of time:  maternity leaves, illnesses, staffing shortages while a school hires, etc.  These contracts tend to have a higher rate than your more consistent annual contract due to the short-term nature.

Niche Services: This type of contract is WONDERFUL for the provider that has a specialty or area of interest.  The most common niche contracts include bilingual evaluations, bilingual services, AAC services, and general AT contracts.  Also, depending on the school's workflow, we could go ahead and put IEEs in this category.  These contracts tend to fall under the "on-demand" category, though you can provide consistent services in some of these scenarios, and again have a higher rate than your more consistent service contract. 

Hybrid (Virtual/In-Person) Contracts: I absolutely love the hybrid contract.  This contract setup is for a provider that wants some of the perks of teletherapy, but also would love to go on-site OR is working with a school hesitant to go "all virtual".  This can involve long-distance travel to another state or can even be a contract with a local district.  Again, leaning into autonomy, you can dictate what your "in-person" terms are such as going on-site for evaluations, quarterly visits, etc. 

Supervision Contracts: This one is most common between SLPAs/SLPs in states that have SLPAs in schools.  With this contract, the school has hired a SLPA but needs a contractor to complete the supervisory/evaluation duties.  The contract can be virtual IF the state allows for virtual supervision of SLPAs.  This caters towards the provider that loves evaluations and supervision, but can be limited on hours due to state/ASHA limitations on how many SLPAs one provider can supervise. 

ESY Contracts: I will be transparent and say I haven't had a ton of experience with this one due to my business model of "closing the office" in the summer.  With that said, it's absolutely a possibly to contract with schools specific just for summer services! This is typically a smaller contract depending on school size, state requirements for ESY, and duration of summer school.

Compensatory Time Contracts: This type of contract has increased over the past few years. This contract is specific to supporting districts that have experienced a lapse in services and now have sessions to make up to students.  Districts all have a different approach with compensatory time, but it can be a great setup for providers that want treatment only and like the idea of a shorter term contract. Plus, it really helps districts that are struggling.

Standard Contract with Hours/Days of Your Choosing: You can absolutely serve schools in a consistent capacity but less than full-time hours if you desire.  You can choose to cover only one of the schools, take on caseload overflow along with an in-house provider, cover their ISP/private school students, etc.  

A Contract You Don't Actually Serve Yourself: It's worth noting that you can have ALL of these different types of contracts, but not be the provider to provide the services.  Are you burnt out from therapy?  Are you building a private practice?  Do you have a successful private practice but want another revenue stream?  Hire out. 

As you can see, there are so many different options when pursuing school contracting.  You don't have to pick just one!  You can be a niche provider with a niche contract and hire a provider for a hybrid contract.  You can serve a hybrid contract this year and decide to go supervision next year.  THAT is the beauty of contracting.  THAT is autonomy and you deserve it. 

See something on here you love but have no idea where to start? 

If you're ready to find the contract of your dreams check out my Contractor Packet and Training for all of the steps and materials needed to execute a school contract. 

Do you also want to hire?  You can bundle it with my Staffing Training and Packet

Keep going, don't stop. 

❤️ Elise