Title: Workforce watch
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090862/00021
 Material Information
Title: Workforce watch
Series Title: Workforce watch
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education, College of Education, University of Florida
Publisher: Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education, College of Education, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: February 2004
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090862
Volume ID: VID00021
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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*r I

An Insufficient Supply and a

Growing Demand for Qualified

Related Service Personnel

Are School Districts Prepared?

For many students with disabilities,
related services are an essential el-
ement of their individualized education-
al program. Federal law provides that
I school districts and early intervention
programs utilize appropriately trained re-
re are lated services personnel, and that states
ensure there is an adequate supply of
ified qualified providers.
ated service However, nationwide, there is a grow-
districts ing shortage of qualified school-based
related service personnel. Among those
related services affected by personnel
shortages are physical therapy, occupa-
tional therapy, speech-language pathol-
ogy, and audiology.
Recruiting and retaining qualified related
service personnel in school districts is a
challenge for district administrators. Are
you prepared to ensure that qualified re-
lated service personnel are available in
your district? What should you consider
FEBRUARY2004 when hiring new candidates? Read on to
PB-21 gain insights from the research.

Are You Prepared for Shortages
of Physical Therapists?
There has been and continues to be a
ON PERSONNEL shortage of qualified physical therapists
JDIES IN SPECIAL in the schools. Most shortages are expe-


rienced in rural areas. In 1 997-1998, the
overall vacancy rate for unfilled physical
therapy positions was seven percent for
children six through 21 years of age, and
two percent for children three through
five years of age.
Traditionally, few physical therapists have
sought employment in schools. There are
a variety of reasons why this is so, the
most common being that few have an in-
terest and/or specialized training in pedi-
atric physical therapy. Moreover, salaries
typically are higher in the private sector
(e.g., hospitals).
Although shortages exist, several fac-
tors have contributed to a more recent
increase in the supply of school-based
physical therapists. They are:
* Federal legislation changes affecting
Medicare and Medicaid programs
have led to a significant decrease
in demand for physical therapists in
medical and health care settings.
* An increase in physical therapy prep-
aration programs during the 1980s
and 1 990s has resulted in more po-
tential applicants seeking work.
* Employment of physical therapy as-
sistants-individuals trained at the as-

SNationwide, the
shortages of qual
school-based relay
should know to b



sociate degree level who must
work under the direction of a
physical therapist-during the
1970s and 1980s lowered
vacancy rates and shortages
of physical therapy personnel
in some areas of the country
(e.g., rural areas).

What should districts consid-
er when hiring new job ap-
plicants? Currently, increasing

numbers of
are seeking

- Shortages
often result in
larger ratios of
service providers
to students.
Even with the
expansion of
consultative and
team models
for the delivery
of services,
expertise often is
spread too thin,
the benefit to

physical therapists
employment in the
schools. Howev-
er, many lack the
specific knowl-
edge and exper-
tise required to
be a successful
provider of re-
lated services in
an educational

Pediatric physical
therapy is a rela-
tively small com-
ponent of most
physical thera-
py preparation
programs. Few
individuals re-
ceive personnel
preparation ex-

perience in pediatrics, and those
who do tend to have experiences
limited to acute care settings.

As of 2002, all entry-level physi-
cal therapy preparation programs
are now at the master's or doc-
toral level. Most programs did not
add additional coursework in pe-
diatrics or school-based settings.

Are You Prepared for
Shortages of Occupational
School systems are the largest
single work setting for occupa-
tional therapists. Within the next

five years, there will be a nation-
wide shortage of occupational
therapists that will affect school
districts. The demand for occupa-
tional therapists is expected to in-
crease by as much as 35 percent.

Factors that contribute to the
shortage of school-based occu-
pational therapists include:
* Schools are generally not
the candidate's first choice
for employment. Although
recent federal legislation re-
duced the number of occupa-
tional therapists employed in
the private sector (e.g., hos-
pitals), increasing numbers of
middle aged and elderly peo-
ple, along with increased life
expectancies, have reversed
this trend.

* Dropping enrollments. Dur-
ing the next few years, current
low enrollments will result in
fewer graduates (e.g., enroll-
ment declined 37 percent from
1999 to 2002). If enrollments
continue to decline, some pro-
grams may close, further limit-
ing future numbers of qualified
candidates. There also are lim-
ited opportunities for current
occupational therapists to pur-
sue additional specialization.

* Changing standards may
affect supply. The move to
require a master's degree for
entry level occupational thera-
pists by 2007 may force some
preparation programs to close
if students cannot meet the
entry level requirements or if
the programs cannot find fac-
ulty with doctoral level prepa-
ration. Currently, the demand
for qualified faculty exceeds
the supply.

What should districts consider
when hiring new job appli-
cants? Preservice preparation in

occupational therapy provides
a good foundation for working
with children but not necessarily
for working in schools. Because
many occupational therapists en-
ter school-based practice as their
first position after graduation, dis-
tricts should provide support as
therapists transition into schools.

Licenses typically are not specific
to educational settings. In fact,
some practitioners view school-
based practice as an advanced
or specialized practice area,
and some states require spe-
cialty licenses in order to work in

Are You Prepared for
Shortages of Speech-
Language Pathologists?
Nationwide, the majority of
school districts report a shortage
of qualified speech-language pa-
thologists, with the greatest short-
ages found in rural and in urban
areas. Between 2000 and 2010,
more than 34,000 additional
speech-language pathologists will
be needed to fill demands. This is
a 39 percent increase. The total
number of vacancies is estimated
at 57,000, due to growth and net

Shortages are exacerbated by the
fact that most currently employed
speech-language pathologists are
not from diverse cultural and lin-
guistic backgrounds. Most speech-
language pathologists tend not to
be proficient in all of the languages
spoken by their students.

Further, there is a shortage of
doctoral level faculty to prepare
new speech-language patholo-
gists. This shortage is expected
to increase due to the number of
faculty members who will be re-


tiring in the next few years. Typi-
cally, one to two years pass before
a vacant faculty position is filled.
The inability to recruit new faculty
may put some programs at risk of
closure, resulting in fewer trained
professionals available for em-

Shortages can have a significant
effect on the delivery of services.
Reported effects include:
* Increased caseloads with de-
creased opportunities for pro-
viding individual services.

* Reduced duration or frequency
of services.

* Less opportunity for indirect
service delivery, including col-
laboration and teaming.

* Potential for an increased
number of underqualified
speech-language clinicians.

What should districts consider
when hiring new job appli-
cants? School districts experi-
ence difficulties hiring qualified
speech-language pathologists for
a variety of reasons. Overall, the
majority of graduate programs in
communication sciences and dis-
orders train generalists who may
not be prepared for the unique
demands of employment in the
schools. This may lead to gaps in
professional preparation for the
challenges and demands particu-
lar to school settings.

Because many school-based skills
are not learned in preparation
programs (e.g., curriculum-based
assessment, development and
implementation of educationally
relevant intervention plans, col-
laboration skills, etc.), on-the-job
training is expected to provide
it. However, the common school
practice of assigning profession-

als from other fields (e.g., build-
ing principals, special education
coordinators, etc.) to supervise
new speech-language patholo-
gists complicates the problem.
Only 23 percent of speech-lan-
guage pathologists are super-
vised by other speech-language

Are You Prepared for
Shortages of Audiologists?
The significant shortage of quali-
fied school-based audiologists
is evidenced by the large num-
ber of unfilled vacancies and the
employment of uncertified audi-
ologists in school districts. This
situation is particularly apparent
in rural areas. Recently enacted
legislation for universal newborn
infant screening may add to the
shortage by requiring additional
audiologists to serve the needs of
children who are placed in early
intervention programs sooner
than in previous years.

Currently, there is one education-
al audiologist for every 71,555
students-a significant departure
from the one for every 10,000 to

12,000 children currently recom-
mended by the American Speech-
Language-Hearing Association
(ASHA). Even the recommended
ratios may be inadequate when
considering school-based factors
such as:
* Excessive travel time between
school locations.

* Large numbers of children with
hearing impairments and other

* Large numbers of preschool

* Number of hearing aids, co-
chlear implants, and assistive
listening devices in use.

* Quantity of special tests provided.

* Extent of equipment calibration
and maintenance responsibilities.

* Amount of direct rehabilitative
services provided.

* Extent of supervisory and ad-
ministrative responsibilities.

Other factors also may affect
shortages. They include increases
in amount of time audiologists

Strategies to retain qualified related service personnel?
* Make salaries competitive with the private sector.

* Provide adequate work/office space, equipment, and materials.

* Facilitate access to technology and clerical assistance.

* Assign manageable caseloads.

* Reduce paperwork burdens.

* Minimize excessive travel time between schools.
* Provide sufficient time for collaboration with education staff and families.

* Encourage and support professional development.
* Offer career ladders.


are expected to spend attending
IEP meetings, and in the amount
of time required to address spe-
cialized needs of students (e.g.,
students with digital amplification,
cochlear implants, etc.).

What should districts consider
when hiring new job appli-
cants? Accreditation is chang-

ing as a result

- Shortages of
related service
providers from
diverse cultural
and linguistic
backgrounds con-
tinue to increase,
posing significant
recruitment chal-
lenges for school

of new standards
developed by
ASHA. One sig-
nificant change
is that candi-
dates who apply
for certification
after December
31, 2011, will
be required to
hold a doctoral
degree. Audiol-
ogists who cur-
rently hold ASHA
certification will
be required to

complete continuing professional
development. Licensure require-
ments will most likely change as
most states pattern licenses on
ASHA requirements.

The long-term effect of the chang-
ing standards on the profession of
audiology may include:
* Shortage of personnel prep-
aration faculty. The current
shortage of doctoral level fac-
ulty may pose challenges to
the development of doctoral
level programs. Programs may
be forced to close or reduce
the number of entering candi-
dates, possibly affecting future

* Financial impact. School dis-
tricts may pay more for audiol-
ogy services, because doctoral
degrees often command high-

er salary steps on school dis-
trict salary schedules. Similarly,
because third-party billing of-
ten requires the use of ASHA-
certified providers, costs likely
will increase when hiring out of
district for audiology services.

SChanges in content of prep-
aration coursework and
continuing education. It is
too early to tell if revamped
doctoral preparation programs
will be shaped with a school
focus. If not, audiologists will
continue to receive little train-
ing related to school settings.

In Summary
School districts are experiencing
shortages of qualified candidates
in each of the related service ar-
eas featured in this brief. Com-
pounding the issue is the fact that
many related service personnel
are not interested in pediatrics-
or in working in schools as their
first choice-and do not receive
adequate preparation in school-
based issues. District retention
and recruitment efforts typically
are hampered by such things as
salaries that are not competitive
with the private sector and inad-
equate resources.

For More Information
Information reported in this brief
was based on the COPSSE issue

* Audiology Services in
the Schools, by Susan J.
Brannen, Nancy P Huffman,
Joan Marttila, and Evelyn J.

* Personnel Issues in School-
Based Physical Therapy:

Supply and Demand, Profes-
sional Preparation, Certifica-
tion and Licensure, by Mary
Jane K. Rapport.

* Personnel Issues in School-
Based Occupational
Therapy: Supply and De-
mand, Preparation, and
Certification and Licensure,
by Yvonne Swinth, Barbara
Chandler, Barbara Hanft,
Leslie Jackson, and Jayne

* Personnel Preparation and
Credentialing in Speech-
Language Pathology, by
Kathleen A. Whitmire and
Diane L. Eger.

These documents can be found
on the COPSSE web site at

The Center on Personnel Studies in Spe-
cial Education is funded by the Office of
Special Education Programs of the U.S.
Department of Education [cooperative
agreement #H325Q000002]. COPSSE
research is designed to inform scholars
and policymakers about beginning teach-
er quality, effective initial preparation, and
the effects of preparation alternatives. The
Center is directed by Drs. Paul Sindelar
and Mary Brownell. The policy briefs were
produced by Warger, Eavy & Associates.
University of Florida, 300 Norman Hall,
PO. Box 117050, Gainesville, FL 32611
352-392-0701 (X283), www.copsse.org

do no necessarily reflect the
k views of the US Department
F L of Education

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