Contract Professionals Cost More…Right? Not So Fast!!!!

September 17th, 2015 | Posted by Amber in Client Tips Blog Graphic (10)

Lots of school districts shy away from hiring contract professionals because the general belief is that contracted employees cost more money. Well, let’s look at some comparisons—you know, dollar for dollar.

Let’s say a district needs an SLP to provide services to its students. According U.S. Department of Labor statistics, the average wage for a full time SLP in an elementary and secondary school setting or education support role is $67,000 to $68,500. Some states are lower and some are higher.

But, added to the base salary are benefits:  Social Security taxes (6.2%), Medicare tax (1.45%), and unemployment tax (average is $478 but can be up to 9.1% of base salary). Most employees need health insurance coverage and would like some type of retirement or 401k option. That means, with benefits, the district can add another 18 – 26% to the SLPs salary.

In a similar exercise, let’s look at School Psychologists. Again, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average wage for a full time School Psychologist in an elementary or secondary school setting or education support role is $68,000 to $70,000—some states lower, some higher.

Still have to add the benefits. Still 18 – 26% of base salary. In round numbers, the total cost of a full time SLP or School Psychologist hired by a school district will range from $79,060 to $88,200. In states with very high unemployment taxes, the estimate will be higher.

Now let’s compare the actual cost of a contract professional. Since the salaries of both SLPs and School Psychologists are similar, let’s lump them together for illustration purposes.

With contract professionals, the district sets the number of weeks, the billable days, the hours per day, and total number of days per bi-week which sets the total scheduled hours the professional will work during the contracted time period. In addition, the district agrees upon the amount it will pay per hour. A contract is signed for a specific amount and will be billed for only the time the professional gives services.

Let’s say the district agrees to pay the contracting agency $68.50 per hour for 1225 hours of work for a total of approximately $84,000. Sounds like a lot of money. But, consider this…the district does not worry about withholding taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare tax, unemployment tax, workman’s compensation, retirement or health benefits. The district also does not have to prepare payroll, make direct deposits or, if very old-fashioned, print checks. The contracting agency takes care of all that. District personnel is concerned only with remitting one bill per month.

The cost may be different depending on the location of the school district, the hourly rate, and the number of hours the professional works.

Another issue to consider is that there is no break in or lack of service to students because the district can’t find the professionals it needs. The contracting agency also takes care of that through expert recruitment efforts. Oh, and if the district likes the professional, there is always the option to making him/her a permanent employee.

So…if you are interested in looking into the benefits of including contract professionals in your school system, contact us at We would really like to show we can work together.

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