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[00:00:00] Dr. Sharp: Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Testing Psychologist podcast, the podcast where we talk all about the business and practice of psychological and neuropsychological assessment. I’m your host, Dr. Jeremy Sharp, a licensed psychologist, group practice owner, and private practice coach.

Okay, y’all, we are back for a business episode talking all about where to find your next psychometrist or maybe your first psychometrist.

For a lot of us, bringing on a  psychometrist is the first foray into expanding our practice with good reason. It’s a good way to bring someone on yet still retain quite a bit of control over the work that they do. So, a lot of folks bring on a  psychometrist first so that they can try it out and figure out what it’s like to actually hire someone and get used to letting go of control, which is quite a difficult thing for a lot of us to do.

So, I’m going to be talking today about why you’d want to hire a psychometrist [00:01:00] and then move into where to actually find that individual. And then finally, I’ll talk just a little bit about how to vet a psychometrist. This episode is for all of you who have wanted to take the leap but haven’t been exactly sure how to do that or where to find that person.

Before we get to the conversation, two things. I have my upcoming webinar co-sponsored by Build Great Teams and the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta that’s happening next Thursday, August 20th. I’m co-presenting with Dr. Ryan Matchullis around Psychological Assessment of Children. I’m going to go over the basics, and then Ryan will be talking all about working with challenging kids over telehealth, which is a hot topic and something I’ve gotten a lot of questions about. So, you can find the link to register for [00:02:00] that in the show notes. And I hope to see you there.

And for any of you who are looking for a group coaching experience, the opportunity to collaborate and connect with other practice owners who are right at your stage of development, or maybe a little ahead, or maybe just a little behind, my Advanced Practice Mastermind Group is going to be starting in September. That group is filling up quickly. So, if you are interested, again in a group coaching experience where you get hands-on support with your precise issues in a group of psychologists who are just about right where you’re at in practice, I’d love to chat with you and see if it’s a good fit. You can go to thetestingpsychologist.com/advanced, or check out the link in the show notes to schedule a pre-group call.

All right, let’s get to our episode [00:03:00] on finding a psychometrist.

Okay, y’all, here we are. We are back talking all about how to bring on a psychometrist and really where to find that person. I’m going to spend just a little bit of time talking about why you want to bring on a psychometrist in the first place, and then we’ll spend the bulk of the episode talking about where to find that person.

When I started my practice, I really didn’t know any better, to be honest. And I brought on a psychometrist very early in the process because that’s all that I knew. When I was in grad school, I worked for two years in a neuropsychological practice as a psychometrist and I just thought that that’s [00:04:00] just what you do when you get into private practice. As a testing person, you have a psychometrist.

So, as soon as it became clear that I could not fit in all of the testing referrals that I was getting, that’s when I jumped on to the process of finding a  psychometrist. Fortunately, in my case, I practice in the city that I went to grad school in and I was able to go back to our graduate department and look for grad students to serve as psychometrists. And that turned out really well.

Now, I know not all of you may have the luxury. So, we’ll talk about plenty of other places to find a psychometrist, but the point being, I jumped in pretty early and quickly and certainly made some mistakes, but I also learned quite a good bit as well.

Let me talk just a little bit about why you would hire a psychometrist.

I’m not going to get in the weeds with this because I think it is fairly intuitive, [00:05:00] but the main trade-off is time and money. So when you hire a psychometrist, you are basically freeing up more time in your schedule to do whatever you would like for a relatively low amount of money. So, psychometrists typically get reimbursed or paid rather, I would say about 20 to 25% of our hourly rates.

Now, there’s some variability there depending on your market and how much you’re charging per hour, but I think that’s a good ballpark to start with. So you can see right off the bat that if you are only paying someone about 20% of your hourly rate to do a job that you don’t necessarily have to do, that’s a really good deal.

We talked a few episodes ago about how your time [00:06:00] is worth money. And this is another example of where that principle comes up. So, if you are spending, let’s just say, five hours per testing case just to keep it at a nice round number, and you’re doing two cases a week, that’s 10 hours that you can free up by turning that work over to a psychometrist.

Whatever you do with that time is up to you. A lot of us will use that time to see more clients. So, we’re essentially getting reimbursed our full hourly rate while the psychometrist is also working and getting reimbursed for their time. So, the income tends to multiply quickly in those cases rather than just working on your own.

So that’s, I’d say, the main [00:07:00] advantage, but there are other reasons too. Sometimes folks don’t want to fill that time. And you can just dial back your schedule a bit and maybe have time to actually write those reports or be with your family or take some alone time or whatever it may be.

One of the other main reasons that I really enjoy employing psychometrists is for the aspect of giving back to the field a bit. I tend to employ grad students as psychometrists, advanced grad students. And it’s a really nice way to provide some training, to form relationships with local universities so that you can provide a practicum experience, and just give back to the field and do some supervision. And I really enjoy that. Some of you may not, and that’s fine. There are definitely options for non-grad student psychometrists, but that is [00:08:00] one thing that I really love about having a psychometrist.

So, those are just a few reasons that you might consider a psychometrist.

And again, a psychometrist can almost be a proxy for expanding your practice even further and get you used to the idea of bringing on another clinician and give you some practice at letting go of control of your assessment process, which a lot of us need some work with.

So, if you have decided that you are open to finding a psychometrist, let’s talk about where you might actually look for that person. I’ve heard so many times over the years that it’s hard to find a psychometrist. So, let’s talk about where you might look.

Now, I’m going to give you five places and that’s going to expand a little bit. Actually, I’m going to give you two bonus options to look for, but there are plenty of others. I’m not going to list [00:09:00] absolutely all of them, but these are the ones that I would say are the top five places that you might look.

All right. In my experience, like I mentioned, a former graduate program is a great place to look for a psychometrist. If you’re lucky enough to be practicing in the area that you went to grad school and you appreciated your grad school’s training, of course, this is a fantastic option. Hopefully, you still have a relationship with that program and you have a good sense of what the training looks like. And in my case, this meant that I could really trust the psychometrist that I was bringing on because I knew what they were doing in grad school. I knew that it was quality training, and I knew that it was pretty heavy on assessment.

Now, I will say, if you’re looking at grad students as a psychometrist, I only take advanced grad students who already have their master’s. They’re usually in their 3rd or 4th year of their Ph.D. [00:10:00] program. And you can count on the fact that they have a pretty solid assessment base already.

I never hire psychometrists who have no assessment experience simply because I don’t want to have to start from the ground up in training a grad student or psychometrist in how to administer tests. I want folks with a good bit of experience. And these have been pretty easy to come by.

So that’s the first place that you might look. Check out your former graduate program, email the training director and see if there are any options for grad students to come to your practice for a practicum or just an externship or whatever they might call it. It may be any number of names. Different departments call it different things, but externship or practicum placements seem to be the most common. So that’s one place.

[00:11:00] The second place that you might look, and this seems counterintuitive, but you will do well to look at APA internship sites and postdoc sites in the area. You can find these in the APPIC directory, both internships and post-docs.

And you might be saying to yourself, wait a minute, these folks already have full-time jobs. Why do they want to come and work in my practice?

Well, because there aren’t a ton of assessment-based internships out there, and there are plenty of both interns and post-docs who might want to make a little bit of extra money and get a little extra experience. So this is great for someone or a practice owner rather, a psychologist who may just need one day a week, or you want to hand over one case a week [00:12:00] and you don’t need to bring someone on full time and you don’t want to worry about providing enough work to satisfy a full-time schedule. So, this is a great option for those of you who may just need a little bit of help in your practice. And again, that’s a good way to weigh in. And if you find someone who’s an intern or post-doc, the chances are they have a decent amount of experience as well, kind of like those advanced graduate students that I was talking about.

All right. Another place that you can look is basically any graduate-level psychology program in the area. So, if you are, again, anywhere near institutions of higher education, you can look for school psychology programs, masters in psychology programs, even some master’s level allied health professional fields. Some [00:13:00] of them will provide basic training in assessment. And if you’re willing to take on a little bit more responsibility on your side to do some of that training, these are places to find graduate students who might want to get some experience that they may not exactly get in their program.

So I would not limit myself to clinical psychology programs or counseling psychology programs necessarily. There are plenty of other options where they do take courses in assessment and may have the experience that you’re looking for to come work in your practice.

Now, at least in my experience, there are plenty of speech therapists and even occupational therapists who have experience with administering standardized [00:14:00] assessments. So, you don’t have to limit yourself even to psychology programs. You can look at some of those other, again, allied health professional programs that may have experienced with test administration and scoring because when we really get down to it, and I should’ve probably said this at the beginning, the process of administering and scoring standardized measures is fairly consistent across measures.

The tests obviously are different and have different rules for administration and guidelines and measure different things, we all know that, but I think we all also know that if you’ve administered one or two tests, you can extrapolate pretty easily to many others. It’s this general process of following the administration guidelines, knowing what to look for during the administration, and scoring accurately. Those are basically the three [00:15:00] components that we’re really looking for. And I would encourage you all not to be snobby about where you look for that, especially in this regard for a psychometrist.

Another place that you can look for a psychometrist is the “official place,” which is the Board of Certified Psychometrist directory. So this is a thing. They are not widely known at least in this area. I think it’s getting more popular, certainly, and becoming more of an expectation, especially in hospitals that you have a certified psychometrist administering your tests, but if you don’t know what that is, there’s a link in the show notes to the Board of Certified Psychometrist. There’s a directory on that website and it lists all the certified psychometrists by state.

So these are individuals who have gone through a [00:16:00] supervised extended experience with thousands of hours administering tests, and they have sat for a certification exam to theoretically ensure that the skills are in place to reach board certification. So, you can look at the list and you’ll see that even in all 50 states, the list is relatively short.

So, like I said, this is not a hugely popular field, but it is growing in popularity, certainly. And I would not downplay that. Especially if you live in a metropolitan area, the likelihood that you will find a certified psychometrist is relatively high. So check that link out in the show notes and just know that if you go this route, that individual will likely ask for a higher hourly rate simply because they have extra training.

[00:17:00] All right. I think we’re at four. The last official area that I wanted to point you toward is just a good old fashion hiring website. I have found really good luck with Indeed. There are others. ZipRecruiter is an option. I don’t know that I would go beyond that. But between those two, you should have at least a decent chance of finding a psychometrist. And this is of course, geographically dependent on who’s out there in your area, but you can certainly find good folks on the employment website.

So check out Indeed, check out ZipRecruiter, and just make sure to write your ad very clearly so that the individual knows exactly what they will be getting into and exactly what you are looking for in your practice. And you may have to experiment with [00:18:00] two different ad titles. So, a psychometrist might work, a psychometrician might work, a psychological assistant, any of those can be helpful. Just know that if you don’t get a lot of bites right off the bat, you may need to tweak the title.

Now, I told you that I was going to give you a bonus area and actually I have two bonus areas. One of those is LinkedIn. LinkedIn could be considered a job site. You could certainly pay for it and do their premium features where you list a job and get applicants and so forth. But if you don’t want to pay for that, which is fine, you can just use LinkedIn for its true innate capabilities, which was originally for networking in the business world.

Many of us have a ton of LinkedIn friends, and if you’re like me, don’t do anything with them. So, [00:19:00] look at your friend list and pick out all the psychologists and comb through and see who’s in a training facility. And you can just put the word out, especially if there’s anyone in your area. This can be a great place to just spread the word that you are looking for a technician and see what pops up.

Now, the other bonus area that I wanted to encourage you to look at is what I would call adjacent skill areas. The obvious one in our case, I think is looking for school psychologists who might be part-time but want to do some private practice work. School psychologists have a ton of experience administering and scoring tests. They may be looking for something extra on top of the school district, maybe. So don’t be afraid to reach out to school psychologists in your area.

The other adjacent skill areas you might think about are fields or positions that [00:20:00] share a similar skill set. I think about research assistance, for example, in a psychological lab or really a research lab at a university. So, these are individuals who are hopefully familiar with the process of following directions, paying attention to detail, and synthesizing information. So don’t be afraid. If you’re willing to take on some extra training, this will be a great place to look.

Other folks that could be good are those who are doing data entry. The skills involved in data entry, I think are very transferable. The only piece that you would want to be aware of is the interpersonal component, perhaps. And I think there’s more relationship building in being a psychometrist than maybe a data [00:21:00] entry person. But if the interpersonal skills are in place, then you could be off to the races.

Data entry requires a ton of attention to detail and again, paying attention to numbers, following directions, and manipulating information. I think these are all skills that can be transferrable to being a psychometrist, again, if you’re willing to do more training once the person comes on board.

Okay. So those are several places that you can look for a psychometrist. And once you find that person, really what a psychometrist does is, meets with the client, administer some or all of the tests that you’re giving as part of your battery. Typically, the psychometrist will score the tests and then transfer those scores into a template or a set of [00:22:00] tables and what have you.

So there are plenty of folks out there who can do a great job, and hopefully, with some of these areas, you can expand your search a bit and really bring on someone to help in your practice.

Now, I said I was going to talk to us a little bit about vetting a psychometrist. I’ve done prior episodes on this topic, so I’m not going to go into the details here exactly. But a few things you want to think about, one, Interpersonal skills are huge. So you want to make sure not to rush into this. You want to meet with the person several times and just get a sense of their skills at relationship building and then connecting with others.

I think you also want to get a report sample. If this is someone who has been doing the work for a bit of time and has some assessment [00:23:00] experience, you definitely want to get an idea of what their reports look like. So don’t be afraid to have them turn in a de-identified or modified report so that you can look at their work sample.

If you have the time and the energy, I would highly suggest doing a bit of a “working interview” where you can pay them for this time, of course, but they come in and you observe them while they are administering and scoring some of the tests. This is a common model in medical practices and dental practices when they’re hiring hygienists and assistants. And I think it can work for us as well if you are willing to invest that time. So this is typically, I would say the, you know, toward the latter stages of hiring where you really like someone, you just want to see how they do and you can bring them in for a working interview.

And then the last piece is, [00:24:00] as with anyone you’re going to hire, please take the time to check their references. The times when I have not done so well with hiring, maybe I made poor choices in hiring for our practice, this was one of the main components was not checking references. And who knows. I mean, the references may have been fantastic, but I do know that a common thread in, again, poor hiring choices was not checking references.

So when you do check references, make sure to ask about time management, attention to detail, and again, relationship building. Some of you, depending on what you’re going to have the psychometrist do, may want to ask about writing skills, but for me, time management and attention to detail are more important than actual writing skills because our psychometrists don’t do much writing. [00:25:00] And then, of course, relationship building and rapport, I think are really important components for anyone who’s going to be client-facing.

All right. So, there’s your whirlwind tour of finding a psychometrist, why you might want to do that, and how you might vet that individual. If you’re interested in this topic, like I said, there are prior podcasts that I will link to in the show notes that cover psychometrists a little bit more closely. I hope that this has been inspiring for some of you to really think about expanding your practice. It is totally doable. If you can put in the time to do the training, I think you will be greatly rewarded with both time and money and hopefully, satisfaction as you watch your practice grow and you get to do some training as well.

All right, y’all, thanks for listening as always. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the episode, you can check the show notes [00:26:00] for a link to register for the webinar that I’m co-hosting this coming Thursday, next Thursday, rather with Dr. Ryan Matchullis and the folks in Canada. There are CE credits available here. So, check that out for sure.

And like I said, if you are an advanced practice owner who’s looking to take your practice to the next level in some way, that might be hiring or hiring again, streamlining your systems, nailing down your schedule, freeing up time, additional streams of income, any of those pieces that go beyond basic levels of practice, there’s a group for you. There.s a group coaching experience. I am the facilitator. And you would be with a group of other psychologists right at your stage of practice who are looking to level up as well. So you can find out more about that at thetestingpsychologist.com/advanced. That group will be starting [00:27:00] in September. So reach out if you’d like and schedule a pre-group call. Hope to see you there.

Okay, y’all, take care in the meantime. I hope you’re hanging in there. School is starting. That means lots of different things for different folks around the country. So, I hope you are all well and taking care of yourselves and your families. I will talk to you next time.

The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologists website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional, psychological, psychiatric, or medical advice, [00:28:00] diagnosis or treatment. Please note that no doctor-patient relationship is formed here, and similarly, no supervisory or consultative relationship is formed between the host or guests of this podcast and listeners of this podcast. If you need the qualified advice of any mental health practitioner or medical provider, please seek one in your area. Similarly, if you need supervision on clinical matters, please find a supervisor with expertise that fits your needs.

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