Why is an autism assessment so expensive?

Updated: Feb 14

Ever wondered why assessments are so expensive? Here's the reasons.


I sometimes hear questions and complaints about the cost of an autism assessment. Why is it so expensive.

I hope this will help you understand.


Autism Assessments

  • There are 3 hours of face to face sessions - 2 for the interview and 1 for the session where you receive your report.

  • There are about 2 hours spent coding and scoring the answers from the interview.

  • There are about 4 hours or more spent writing the report, the summary letter and making the NDIS recommendations in terms that are suitable for NDIS.

  • The report is not a 'stock letter'. It is an indivdualised report.

  • That's a total of 9 hours but often more. That works out to $216.67/hour. The recommended hourly rate for a psychologist is $267/hour which would mean the assessment would cost $2403.

Training

To become a psychologist takes a minimum of 6 years: a 4 year degree plus 2 years of supervision is the absolute minimum. I have a four year degree, including honours, and a 2 year masters degree. It takes a huge investment of time and money to become qualified to be registered.

It's not like an apprenticeship where you get paid to learn. It's not possible to study full time and work full time.


Maintaining registration and running a business

In addition to the costs to become registered as a psychologist there are the following costs:

  • professional registration fees to AHPRA

  • professional insurance

  • belonging to my professional association, the Australian Association of Psychologists Inc (AAPi), that I belong to make sure I get the best and most up to date advice to help me continue to be an ethical and up to date psychologist

  • Employing Paul as the practice manager so there is someone to answer calls, reply to emails, make appointments and take payments

  • the credit card and EFTPOS processing fees charged for each fee I receive.

  • electricity, cleaning and office supplies

  • computing equipment and software e.g. subscriptions to MYOB and practice management

  • running the website

  • telephone and internet

  • appointment reminder fees

  • professional clinical supervision

  • undertaking my compulsory 30 hours of professional development as required by AHPRA.

  • specialised training

  • maintaining my professional library and resources

I hope this helps explain why the assessment is expensive and why it could cost more.

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