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)
Clinical Externship (CD 591)
Upon successful completion of the CD 590 - Clinical Internship, the student is then eligible to enroll in CD 591 – Clinical Externship. 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.
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).
Of the 400 hours, 25 must be observation and 50 can be transferred in from undergraduate school. Hours earned during CD 590 will count toward the minimum 400. All clinical hours earned while enrolled in a graduate communication disorders program will transfer and apply toward the 400 hours required by ASHA. However, graduate students transferring clinical hours must fully complete CD 591 Clinical Externship three times for a total of three different externships with a minimum of 50 clinical hours each. At least 200 hours must be completed through WKU. 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). Competency in these areas will be assigned by your 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 2005 Speech-Language Pathology certification standards.
Arranging Clinical Placements
Arrangements for clinical placements are handled in one of three ways. The Externship Coordinator makes the placements for campus students. Distance students provide contact information for desired sites to the Externship Coordinator, who pursues a contract with that site. WKU faculty makes the arrangements for the NYC/UFT students. For all cohorts, there must be a contract in place prior to the placement beginning. On-campus students enrolling in CD 591 may be assigned to externship sites that are 100 miles or more away from campus.
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 CD 591 placement (if the employer and supervising SLP are in agreement). The supervising SLP must hold a current CCC and complete a form indicating his or her willingness to serve as your CD 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 they make externship plans. 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 that 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) for your externships and leave the evening hours free to attend classes. Unless you are applying to the UFT/New York City cohort we offer 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.
All graduates with the Master of Science degree in Communication Disorders 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.