Let’s talk billable hours. 


Because it has a huge impact on your caseload, your confidence and your skill development.

Your billable hours will change as you move from new grad to early career speech pathologist and then mid-career. 


Because when you first start out, you need lots of admin time. Not to write long session plans or to overthink your written reports.  Instead it is needed for learning. Each client you see is unique. They may have a diagnosis you have never heard of. Or be on medications whose side effects you need to know. You may need to speak with the audiologist, OT or psychologist working with them. You may need to seek out other services for them. Each time you do this, you are learning and that takes time. 

You also need to do more PD. What you learn at Uni is important but as a Speechie, the learning is constant and in your first 12 – 24months, you are learning a lot. 

 So if you are working 6 -7 billable hours each day, you are going to get overwhelmed fast. 

As our work days are 7.6-hours, it doesn’t leave you a lot of time to do the bare minimum admin for your clients much less spend time learning. This is why the 4-5 billable hours for new grads is needed. 

Once you are a few years in and the steep learning curve has become more of a steady climb, you need less admin time. You are faster with all aspects of admin. You have templates and processes you know well and save you time. You also don’t have so much new information to learn. Therefore, increasing your billables is possible. 

But they may need to drop as you take on a more senior role, projects or supervision of staff. Again you can’t be in two places at once. You need time to prep for your clients and for the extra tasks you have taken on. 

If you decide to start your own business, again the billables need to be reduced to allow you the time to learn how to run a business. You will be wearing so many hats; clinician, bookkeeper, marketer, policy writer, website developer, social media manager, HR consultant, supervisor etc that booking up all your available time with clients will leave you burnt out. You need big chunks of the day to get everything done, and you can’t do that if you are face-to-face with a client. 

There is no doubt that the speech pathology landscape has changed significantly over the last 10 years. The way we work has changed considerably. So have the types of clients we see. But what hasn’t changed is the hours in our day. We get 7.6 hours each day and 38 hours each week. When we spend too many of those on client-facing work, the to-do-list piles up. We start taking shortcuts. Our therapy suffers. Our client sessions aren’t what we want them to be. We struggle, we lose confidence and we get burnt out. & we think the only way out is to quit the profession.

& this is why billable hours matter. 

They need to be reasonable. Matched for your caseload and years of experience.

The Speechie Life Blog