Well like I said above...I think your math is incredibly/absurdly/comically off on 200k annually for 20-25 hours of patient contact. You MAY gross that. You will not net that.

The $200K private practice estimate that you are using is, in my opinion, an overestimation.

Ok, thanks for taking the time to describe some of these elements in more detail. If'm understanding correctly it sounds like these are some of the considerations:

Overhead (i.e., space, cancelations)

Benefits (i.e., insurance, retirement, paid leave)

Administrative (i.e., collecting from insurance, gathering a caseload)

**Overhead**
Space: ~$1k/mo (made up number)

Cancelations: ~5% (made up number)

**Benefits**
Insurance: ~$1k/mo

Retirement: ~10% annual salary (~$10k/yr)

Paid leave: 30d = 6 weeks per calendar year

Administrative
Collecting: ~5m per case on avg; 10% opportunity cost on 50m hour of therapy?

Gathering a caseload: ??

So let's do the math again assuming the most conservative numbers I've seen so for from more experienced folks. Why don't we jump ahead to year 5 for both careers, because I'm not sure how to account for gathering a caseload:

$150 per session

30 sessions per week

Independent practice, before costs:

$150/h * 6 clients/day * 5 days a week * 46 wks/yr = $207,000

Overhead costs: 207000*.05=10350(cancelations)+12000(rent) = $22350

Benefits costs: insurance=$12000

Administrative costs: 207000*.10(collecting)=$20700

**Independent practice (estimated) = $151,950**
VA salary in major metro area (e.g., Philadelphia) after 5 years (GS-13, Step 5): 108,900

Overhead costs: zero

Benefits costs: +10%(401k)=11,000; -$150 premium for insurance=1800; net cost=+9200

Administrative costs: zero

**VA position (estimated) = $118,100**
If I'm doing the math right, then in your 5th year as a staff psychologist you're taking about a 20% pay cut to work at the VA.

What am I missing here?