Guest post from Jessica Richards, LMHC
LLC vs. Sole Proprietorship: Which is best for a Registered Intern?
I formed my LLC before I graduated from my Master’s program. I chose to let my LLC go during my time as a registered intern for several reasons.
1) As registered interns we cannot be paid though our LLC by agencies. This is somewhat for our protection as interns. We are hired by the agency to do the work individually. Since they could not pay me through my LLC, it was pointless for me to have an LLC for counseling internship purposes.
2) Although the law now implies we can be in private practice, as interns, so long as we have some licensed mental health professional onsite. What it also implies is that we are not supposed to be conducting our own solo private practice. Therefore, a client should not be paying us directly for services, we should be under the umbrella of someone licensed, i.e., we should be contracted to conduct services under someone licensed. Again, we would not be contracted by an agency as an LLC. (There’s obviously grey area here which can be confusing. Just some things to consider and think about)
3) I let my LLC go because the cost outweighed the benefits at the time as an intern. It was a lot more expensive to maintain the LLC and to maintain all of the insurances that go along with it. Being solo in the beginning and transitioning to an LLC made more sense for me. I wasn’t making an income that could justify the LLC and the actual LLC wasn’t making any money due to everyone I worked with having to pay me as an individual anyways. It became moot.
This is my experience. Catherine L. Hall Waltz may have more information about why interns should be conducting business under someone and not solo. Also it doesn’t hurt to get legal guidance. Often our professional associations will provide legal support to us as part of our membership. Also, healthlawfirm.com has been great for me. The typical cost is $300 for an hour consultation but you can take all of your questions and have all of them answered within an hour.
Licensed mental health professional onsite, Registered Intern and Qualified Supervisor Relationships
It’s actually suggested that there be a separation of qualified supervisor and your business due to potential ethical dilemmas. Protections exist for both the intern and the onsite licensed person that the qualified supervisor be separate.
It’s preferred that the licensed person onsite assist and support the intern and have an understanding of the cases they are seeing. This is why an ideal situation would be that the intern is contracted by the licensed individual to provide services. Thus, the intern would be under the umbrella of the onsite licensed professional. The onsite licensed professional then can observe cases through case notes and case staff meetings or other functions as a part of their business structure. However, direct supervision for licensure hours would be provided by the qualified supervisor. Ideally, there would be an agreement between the licensed person onsite and the qualified supervisor. The onsite licensed person is protected by knowing that the registered intern is receiving regular supervision from a qualified supervisor [and the limitations of their responsibility to the registered intern and qualified supervisor would be identified (inserted by Dr. Waltz)].
– -Jessica Richards, LMHC (contact Jessica) Join our online group for beginning and seasoned mental health professionals on FaceBook at Beginning Counselors of Florida.
– Catherine L. Waltz, PhD, LCSW is an adjunct professor in the graduate program of the School of Social Work, Barry University. She is a continuing education provider in the state of Florida providing courses on professional ethics, laws and rules, supervision, mental health error prevention and is a specialist in domestic violence.
The educational commentaries provided by Dr. Waltz do not constitute a legal opinion. If legal advice is needed, it is recommended that contact be made with an attorney qualified in the jurisdiction in which you practice or is applicable to your case. We recommend that you use your knowledge of the law and your code of ethics in conjunction with this and any other information when deciding upon your course of action.