Full-time information technology professionals transitioning to Epic-certified consultant work may wonder what they’re getting themselves into. One work lifestyle doesn’t necessarily outweigh the other, though each has clear benefits and pitfalls. What’s right for you depends on your personality, family situation, skill set and career goals. Weigh your options by considering the four major differences between consultant and full-time employment listed below.
You might be in a different place every six months to a year. Full-time employees generally stay in the area they live in, while Epic-certified consultants can choose between several locations, likely away from their home, based on the needs of hospitals. Most Epic consultant contracts are six months to a year long, while full-time employees stay where they are indefinitely.
You’re paid hourly instead of salaried. Typically, a consultant’s hourly rate is higher than a full-time employee performing the same work because full-time employees have benefits such as health insurance, paid vacation and holiday time off taken in pre-tax dollars from their paychecks. Consultants must also keep up with their hours worked, which means they are paid for working over 40 hours, unlike salaried employees. See Job Volume’s analysis of average Epic consultant contract rates.
Expenses are handled by your staffing firm. Whereas an employee is reimbursed or paid by the employer for business and traveling expenses, an independent contractor has those expenses paid out through the staffing firm that hired him or her.
Either you or your staffing firm handles your tax contributions. If you’re hired as a corporation to corporation (also called “corp to corp”), the IRS sees you as a business, or LLC, so your taxes won’t be taken out of your paycheck – you’ll have to set aside the amount you owe for taxes using the IRS tax table. If you’re hired through a staffing firm and fill out a W-2 form, your staffing firm will take the appropriate amount of taxes out of each of your paychecks. A full-time employee’s employer takes out his or her taxes from each paycheck.