Western Kentucky University

Clinical Externship

Required Documentation for All Internship/Externship Courses

  • Criminal Background Check - must be updated yearly
  • Proof of recent physical examination - must be updated yearly
  • Professional Liability Insurance - must be updated yearly
  • Negative TB skin test (must be updated yearly) or chest x-ray (must be updated every 2 years)
  • Other documentation may be required by specific externship sites (for example, a more recent or in-depth criminal background check, CPR training, drug screening, site specific orientation, vaccination and vaccination records, etc.)

Clinical Externship (SLP 591)

Upon successful completion of the SLP 590 - Clinical Internship, the student is then eligible to enroll in SLP 591 – Clinical Externship. Beginning with students admitted in Fall 2014, there will be the option to choose to do 2 externships or 3 externships. All externships must be supervised by a speech-language pathologist who has had the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) for at least one year and is a current member of ASHA.

Each externship is expected to be completed within a semester's time (16 weeks, including time to submit paperwork prior to semester end). Students are only allowed to register for one externship per semester and will not be permitted to register for the next externship until all requirements of the previous are completed.

If a student chooses to complete 2 externships:

  • Each SLP 591 will be 3 credit hours
  • A minimum of 75 clinical hours must be obtained during the externship
  • Student must be at externship site for a minimum of 60 full-time days (full day = 7 hours minimum at the site to count as a full time day) or 120 half days (half day = 3.5 hours minimum at site to count as a half day) during each externship; a combination of whole and half days is acceptable to meet the equivalent of at least 60 full-time days. Please note the externship must be completed within a semester's time (16 weeks), therefore it is not recommended one plan to work during this time if choosing the option of 2 externships.
  • 1 externship must be completed in a public school setting
  • 1 externship must be completed in a medical setting

If a student chooses to complete 3 externships:

  • Each SLP 591 will be 2 credit hours
  • A minimum of 50 clinical hours must be obtained during each externshipStudent must be at externship site for a minimum of 40 full-time days (full day = 7 hours minimum at the site to count as a full time day) or 80 half days (half day = 3.5 hours minimum for it count as a half day) during each externship; a combination of whole and half days is acceptable to meet the equivalent of at least 40 full-time days. If completing on a part-time basis students should plan to be on site at least 2 ½ days per week.
  • 1 externship must be completed in a public school setting
  • 1 externship must be completed in a medical setting
  • 1 externship must be completed in a distinctly different setting than the other two (this gives you opportunity to explore a working environment that may be of interest and to gain additional skills such as private practice, specialty clinics, early intervention, etc)

For those who began the program prior to Fall 2014, a total of 3 externships will be completed while in the Master's program at WKU. The 3 externships must be in three distinctly different areas under the supervision of an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist not employed by the university. One must be completed in a school setting, one in a medical setting, and the third is reserved for an area of your choice but cannot be the same as the other two (examples: early intervention services, private clinic, home health or a different medical setting than the first such as a skilled nursing facility, rehab hospital, hospital, etc.) You may only complete one externship per semester and must fully complete each externship before beginning work towards the next externship. For each externship, you are expected to be at the site participating in all aspects of your supervisor's responsibilities for the equivalent of 40 full days (full day = at least 7 hrs). This can be completed in as little as 8 weeks full-time (5 full days/week) or 16 weeks part-time (you should plan to be at an externship a minimum of 2 and 1/2 days or 5 half days for a part-time externship). For each externship, you are also expected to accrue a minimum of 50 clinical hours, but you will need to complete more to earn the minimum 400 hours required for graduation. Clinical hours are only those hours you spend actually providing treatment and evaluation services to patients under the supervision of an ASHA-certified supervisor.

Clinical Hours

At the end of your career at WKU you will need to have accrued at least 400 clinical hours to meet ASHA and WKU standards. The 400 hours does include 25 observation hours and can include up to 50 clinical hours obtained during undergraduate work. Among these 400 hours, you must have 50 hours with children (have not reached age 18) and 50 hours with adults (18 years and older). Of the 50 hours with children and the 50 hours with adults, you must accumulate 15 in evaluation and 35 in treatment. You must have at least 15 hours in hearing treatment or screening (these cannot count as any of the 15 in evaluation).

Hours earned during SLP 590 will count toward the minimum 400. All clinical hours earned while enrolled in a graduate speech-language pathology program will be evaluated by the department for transfer and apply toward the 400 hours required by ASHA. However, graduate students transferring clinical hours must fully complete all credit hours and requirements for clinical courses. At least 200 hours must be completed through WKU.

Arranging Clinical Placements

Arrangements for clinical placements are handled in one of three ways.  The Academic Coordinator for Clinical Education (ACCE, also referred to as the externship coordinator) makes placement arrangements for the campus students. Distance students are responsible for seeking their own externship placements.  The Distance student provides contact information to ACCE when he/she has identified a site that is willing to pursue a contract with WKU.  The ACCE is responsible for initiating the contract.  WKU faculty makes the arrangements for the NYC/UFT students.  For all cohorts, there must be a contract in place prior to the beginning of the externship.  All students enrolling in SLP 591 may be assigned to externship sites that are 100 miles or more away for campus/home.

Please note: a contract (also known as an affiliation agreement) is a legal agreement between the site and WKU.  Due to required legal wording, it may be more difficult and time consuming to obtain a contract in some states.

Employment

Students wishing to obtain employment as a speech language pathology assistant (or whatever the title given to Bachelor's level professionals in a given state) may have that experience serve as their SLP 591 placement (if the employer and supervising SLP are in agreement). The supervising SLP must hold a current CCC for a minimum of one year and complete a form indicating his or her willingness to serve as the SLP 591 externship supervisor.

Students who are employed outside of the profession or a setting where they will be unable to use that setting as an externship need to consider scheduling as externship plans are made.  Most facilities providing services do so during a typical work day.  A few may have evening or weekend hours especially in the New York City area, but that is not the norm.  That means you will need to allow time during the day (a minimum of 2 and 1/2 days or 5 half days for a part-time externship or 5 full days a week for full-time externship) for time at externship and leave the evening hours free to attend classes.  Unless applying to the UFT/New York City cohort where we have relationships with a number of sites that provide evening and weekend therapy then you should plan to be unable to work full-time while completing externships.

Competencies

All graduates with the Master of Science degree in Communication Disorders (effective Fall 2014 the Master of Science degree will be in Speech-Language Pathology) will demonstrate entry level competencies with clients across the lifespan and diverse cultural backgrounds as addressed in the 2005 certification standards of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association and the 2008 accreditation standards of the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology.

Further, competency in evaluation and treatment must be demonstrated across nine different skill areas and four interpersonal and communication skills areas with children and adults. These are delineated in the Knowledge and Skills Acquisition (KASA) form maintained in the online database, CALIPSO. Competency in these areas will be assigned by clinical supervisors. The accumulation of the competencies identified in the KASA serve a key component to being granted the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) by ASHA. For more information on these standards, please visit the ASHA website and look for 2014 Speech-Language Pathology certification standards.

For more information, contact the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education: sarah.ward@wku.edu

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 Last Modified 8/12/14