How to Become a Healthcare IT Consultant While Retaining Benefit of Steady Pay

Nov 4, 2016 12:00:00 AM · by David Kushan

Are you considering making a move into consulting? Becoming a healthcare IT/informatics consultant affords many advantages you might be missing as a permanent employee. Unfortunately, there is a common myth that becoming a healthcare IT/informatics consultant requires being completely independent.

In fact, the truth is that it’s possible to enjoy the benefits of being a healthcare IT/informatics consultant without sacrificing the stability of a steady paycheck that traditionally is associated with being a full-time staff employee at a hospital or healthcare organization.

Know the Facts About Consulting

Making the move into consulting can be a big step. That’s why before making such a move, it’s important to educate yourself about the options. Some of those options, such as becoming an hourly contractor for a consulting firm or starting your own independent business as a corp-to-corp consultant, require a significant change in lifestyle. Taking a salaried employee position with a consulting firm can feel like a smaller step, however, especially for those just starting out.

This alternative eliminates many of the complicated issues facing consultants that choose one of the other options, particularly when it comes to financial stability.

What’s the Difference Between a Salaried Employee and an Hourly Contractor?

If you’re hired as an hourly contractor – someone who is paid an hourly rate for the time they work – there remains a constant risk that once the project is complete, you might go a lengthy period without any income as you seek your next project. On the other hand, if you are hired as a salaried employee by a consulting firm, you will continue to get paid while the firm searches for your next project. This concept is called “bench pay” and provides consultants the same kind of financial stability that hospitals and healthcare organizations offer.

In today’s consulting marketplace, many consulting firms hire both hourly and salaried consultants, depending on their needs at the time. It it incumbent on the consultant to clarify with the firm whether the opening being discussed is salaried or hourly. For those uncomfortable in making too big of a change, too fast, it’s preferable to find a consulting opportunity that is salaried.


Consulting offers employees a chance to travel, experience different office cultures, and meet new colleagues that can be difficult to come by with a regular position. However, there are many factors to consider when making the transition from a full-time hospital position into consulting.

While that transition can be made smoother by becoming a salaried employee at a consulting firm, the dynamic is still very different from one in which you go into the same office with familiar coworkers for years. Once you have decided to move into consulting, however, it’s important to remember that you can still maintain a steady paycheck, if that’s the route you choose.

Want to learn more about what it takes to enter a career in healthcare IT consulting? Download our free guide Healthcare Consulting 101: Understanding the Four Types of Healthcare Consultants for more information.

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