Issue Brief on Personnel Preparation and
Credentialing in Speech-Language Pathology
Prepared for the Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education
Kathleen A. Whitmire
Diane L. Eger
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
(COPSSE Document No. IB-5)
Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
CENTER ON PERSONNEL STUDIES IN SPECIAL EDUCATION
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO BOULDER
INSTRUCTIONAL RESEARCH GROUP, LONG BEACH, CA
COPSSE research is focused on the preparation of special education professionals and its
impact on beginning teacher quality and student outcomes. Our research is intended to inform
scholars and policymakers about advantages and disadvantages of preparation alternatives and
the effective use of public funds in addressing personnel shortages.
In addition to our authors and reviewers, many individuals and organizations have contributed
substantially to our efforts, including Drs. Erling Boe of the University of Pennsylvania and
Elaine Carlson of WESTAT. We also have benefited greatly from collaboration with the National
Clearinghouse for the Professions in Special Education, the Policymakers Partnership, and their
parent organizations, the Council for Exceptional Children and the National Association of State
Directors of Special Education.
The Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education, H325Q000002, is a cooperative
agreement between the University of Florida and the Office of Special Education Programs of
the U. S. Department of Education. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the
views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of other organizations imply
endorsement by them.
Whitmire, K.A., & Eger, D.L. (2003). Issue brief on personnel preparation and credentialing in
speech-language pathology.(COPSSE Document No. IB-5). Gainesville, FL:
University of Florida, Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education.
U. S. Office of Special
Additional Copies may be obtained from:
P.O. Box 117050
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
There are no copyright restrictions on this document; however
please credit the source and support of the federal funds when
copying all or part of this document.
P e rs o n n e l P r e p a ra t io n .............................................................................................................................................................6
Certification and Licensure ................................. 10
Q u a life d P ro v id e rs : S u p p ly a n d D e m a n d .....................................................................................................................................1 2
S u m m a ry a n d K e y R e s e a rc h Q u e s tio n s ...........................................................................................................................................1 5
R E F E R E N C E S ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1 7
Appendix A. % of School-Based, ASHA-Certified Speech-Language Pathologists
Who Regularly Serve Students with Specific Diagnoses and Average (Mean)
N u m b e r o f S tu d e n ts S e rv e d ................................................................................................................................................................................1 9
Appendix B. Core Roles and Responsibilities of School-Based Speech-Language
P a t h o lo g is t s .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................2 0
Appendix C. Additional Roles and Opportunities for School-Based Speech-
L a n g u a g e P a t h o lo g is ts ...................................................................................................................................................................................................2 3
Appendix D. % of Respondents by Service Delivery Models by Age Groups of
C h ild re n S e rv e d ....................................................................................
Appendix E. % of Respondents by Various Service Delivery Models and Type of
C o m m u n ic a tio n D is o rd e r/S e rv ic e ................................................................................................................................................................ 2 5
The complexities of caseloads and the roles and responsibilities of school-based speech-language
pathologists have expanded significantly in the past decade. This paper examines issues related
to: (a) undergraduate, graduate, and on-the-job personnel preparation; (b) certification and
licensure; and (c) supply and demand of qualified providers. Findings suggest that the majority
of graduate programs in communication sciences and disorders train generalists who may not be
prepared for the unique demands of employment in schools. In addition, on-the-job training is
complicated by the practice of assigning professionals from other fields to supervise new speech-
language pathologists. Further, alternate certification programs geared for working professionals
may sacrifice quality for expediency. Inadequately trained personnel hired under emergency
certificates, waivers, or some state teacher requirements may be unequipped to handle the
responsibilities of a school-based speech-language pathologist. Additional findings and key
research questions are discussed.
Over the past several decades, speech-language services in the schools have undergone profound
fundamental changes in scope and focus. Legislative, regulatory, societal, professional, medical,
and demographic influences have converged to shape and define practice as we know it today
(Whitmire, 2002). The challenges and demands of school settings call for special attention to
preparation, recruitment, and retention of qualified personnel to meet the needs of students with
communication disorders. This paper will examine these issues as they relate to: (a) personnel
preparation at the undergraduate, graduate, and on-the-job levels; (b) certification and licensure;
and (c) supply and demand of qualified providers.
The roles and responsibilities of school-based speech-language pathologists (SLP) have
expanded significantly in the past decade, and caseloads have become more complex (American
Speech-Language-Hearing Association [ASHA], 1999, 2000a, 2001c, 2001d, 2002b). (See
Appendix A, Appendix B, and Appendix C). The setting requires sound knowledge of
assessment and treatment procedures for a broad range of disorders, including articulation and
fluency, autism, cognitively based communication disorders, and dysphagia. It also requires
knowledge of issues associated with cultural/linguistic diversity (ASHA, 2000a). In addition,
SLPs are involved in the prevention of literacy problems-the identification, assessment, and
remediation of spoken and written language problems in preschool, elementary, and secondary
students (ASHA, 2001c). Furthermore, they must engage in a wide range of indirect activities to
support educational programs and to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local mandates.
Many of these expanded roles, which were required or strongly encouraged by the 1997
reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (U.S. Department of Education
[USDOE], 1997) are consistent with current policy and practice in the field of communication
sciences and disorders.
Preparing SLPs to meet the demands of school settings is complicated by: (a) undergraduate and
graduate program issues related to content, design, and faculty; and (b) on-the-job training and
supervision limitations. These factors have long-term and devastating implications for quality
speech-language services in the schools.
Undergraduate and Graduate Training
Content for generalists versus specialists. The majority of graduate programs in speech-
language pathology are training SLPs to be generalists in the field of communication disorders
rather than specialists who work in school settings. This approach provides a solid foundation in
communication disorders that clinicians can take into any employment setting. However, this
may lead to gaps in professional preparation for the unique challenges and demands particular to
Eger, Moreau, and Tempalski (2001) surveyed experienced clinicians and verified this weakness
of preparing generalists in graduate training. The respondents were 20 SLPs who were certified
by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). On average, these SLPs had
23 years of professional speech-language experience and had supervised 8.6 graduate student
clinicians from three universities over 5 years. Rating the skills and qualities of their student
clinicians, the certified SLPs indicated that 74% were adequately to well prepared to apply
academic information to the school setting, such as defining a set of procedures for conducting
assessments using standardized tests. However, on more school-specific information (e.g.,
defining a set of procedures for informal curriculum-based and authentic assessments), they rated
only 47% as adequately prepared to apply this academic information to the school setting and
none as wellprepared.
A specific area of concern involves service delivery options, because there are significant
discrepancies among recommended practice, reported practice, and graduate training. In general,
there are direct and indirect speech and language services. Direct services include the pull-out
model, the push-in model, the self-contained classroom model, and the co-teaching model. The
pull-out model is the traditional approach to speech therapy in which a student is taken to the
therapy room for direct services provided by the SLP. In the push-in model, the SLP provides
services in the classroom rather than pulling out the student. The self-contained classroom
model, the most restrictive model, is used selectively for students with severe speech and/or
language problems. The co-teaching model usually involves the SLP and a classroom teacher
working together to teach a language arts curriculum.
Indirect service is the other major type of speech and language program. This involves the
collaborative consultation service delivery model. The SLP collaborates with members of the
school team to provide speech and language services to the student. This collaborative model
usually involves the technical skills of the SLP for assessing skills and establishing realistic
communication goals for the student. Implementation of the goals and strategies is carried out
by members of the team throughout the school day and is integrated into the educational
It is often appropriate to offer a combination of service delivery options to meet the individual
needs of the student, particularly as these needs change over time. For example, the SLP may
initially combine individual pull-out therapy with small-group, classroom-based intervention to
establish some prereading language skills in the child. As skills develop, the SLP may drop pull-
out, observe the child during classroom lessons, and consult with the classroom teacher on
effective teaching strategies to improve the child's literacy skills. The SLP may also modify
instructional materials and conduct a staff inservice on the language-literacy connection.
Despite 20 years of policy and practice guidelines encouraging an integrated and comprehensive
approach to service delivery (Frasinelli, Superior, & Myers, 1983; Nietupski, Scheutz, &
Ockwood, 1980; Eger, 1992; ASHA, 1993; Blosser & Kratcoski, 1997), data from the schools
indicate a skewed use of service delivery options. The 1995 ASHA Survey of Speech-Language
Pathology Services in School-Based Settings (Peters-Johnson, 1998) in Appendix D strongly
demonstrates that, except for the birth-to-2 age group, the traditional pullout (TP) model is used
most frequently. In fact, in the 6-11 and 12-17 age groups, TP was used 78% and 65% of the
time, respectively. The percentages of respondents using the TP model were even higher when
data were grouped according to type of communication disorder (Appendix E).
A similar pattern was seen 5 years later in the ASHA 2000 Schools Survey (ASHA, 2001a) in
which TP was the most commonly used model of service delivery. Respondents indicated that in
87% of the cases, the clinician is responsible for determining the type of service delivery model.
This is significant for the preparation of SLPs. In the survey of school clinicians rating graduate
student clinicians (Eger, et al., 2001), the data suggest that students are primarily trained to
utilize the pull-out model of service delivery. About 86% of student clinicians were rated
adequately to wellprepared in applying academic information to the school setting in the area of
individual or small group (pull-out) therapy. However, only about 35% of these same student
clinicians could adequately apply academic information to the school setting in the area of
classroom (push-in) therapy or consultation with the education team. Again, none was rated as
wellprepared in these two service delivery models.
Preparation for SLPs must also include: (a) knowledge of curriculum and instruction, (b) skills in
professional collaboration in planning and providing services, (c) training in strategies and
techniques for working in educational settings, and (d) supervised experiences in general
education settings (since traditional university-based clinics do not provide adequate experience
with current service delivery models and collaboration in the development and implementation
of assessment and intervention plans). This content should be infused into academic course work
in communication sciences and disorders and through integration with general education
preparation programs. Such preparation is often not found in programs for communication
sciences and disorders programs.
Program designs for preparation for school-based practice. Programs that do provide
training relevant to practice in school settings follow several designs. Some offer undergraduate
and graduate course work tied to specific requirements for state teacher certification. This track
may include: (a) a course in organization and management of speech-language services in the
schools, (b) course work in child development and pedagogy, and/or (c) a clinical practicum
experience in a school setting (i.e., student teaching). Other programs offer streamlined training
to upgrade professionals with temporary or provisional certification so they are eligible for
permanent teacher certification. Still other programs offer course work needed for licensed
and/or ASHA-certified SLPs to qualify for state teacher certification. Unfortunately,
certification programs for working professionals often are not part of an institutions' accredited
degree program and are typically designed to meet minimum requirements in a minimum amount
of time. These programs may sacrifice quality and comprehensiveness for expediency.
Shortage of doctoral-level faculty. A shortage of doctoral-level faculty in communication
sciences and disorders is affecting undergraduate and graduate training in speech-language
pathology. There is a substantial disparity between the current number of individuals with
doctorates pursuing careers in higher education and the current/future demand for such faculty.
From 1993 to 1998, the number of doctoral degrees in communication sciences and disorders
dropped by 11.3% and continued to drop over the next 3 years (Boswell, 2001). At this time,
there are 333 unfilled slots for students in doctoral programs in communication sciences and
disorders. Typically, 1-2 years pass before a faculty position is filled with a qualified individual.
The impact of the shortage of Ph.D. students and faculty is widespread (ASHA, 2002a). The
inability to recruit new Ph.D. faculty is already putting some academic programs at risk for
closure. This means potentially fewer trained professionals available for employment. Fewer
Ph.D. faculty also means fewer research projects in communication sciences and disorders,
leading to a slowed growth in our understanding of human communication and a longer time to
develop and test improvements of treatment options. Fewer Ph.D. faculty means fewer
opportunities for doctoral study, meaning fewer Ph.D. faculty in the future. Furthermore, this
shortage is expected to increase due to the peaked age distribution of faculty members who will
be retiring in the next few years. Over the next 15 years, preliminary estimates project that the
shortage of Ph.D. faculty is likely to become so severe as to require massive restructuring in the
field, resulting in program closures and reductions in the proportion of faculty holding the Ph.D.
Supervision for on-the-job training. Although on-the-job training is not unique to school-
based settings (Rosenfeld & Kocher, 1999), three factors related to the schools have long-term
impacts on the quality of speech and language services. The first is that most graduate education
programs do not include specific content on school-related roles and tasks. This includes: (a)
curriculum-based assessment, (b) development and implementation of educationally relevant
intervention plans, and (c) implementation of specially designed instruction to remediate or
circumvent severe language problems in the classroom. The fact that graduate students are not
receiving this content was verified in a survey by Eger, et al. (2001). These skills must be
learned on the job.
The second issue is that the difficulties associated with on-the-job training in school-specific
skills are exacerbated by the fact that many school systems have professionals from other fields
supervising SLPs. Only 23% of respondents to ASHA's 2000 Schools Survey reported being
supervised by a speech-language pathology supervisor; the remainder were supervised by a
special education coordinator or school principal (ASHA, 2001b). If there is no speech-language
supervisor to assist with proper mentoring of a new staff member, school-specific content is
The third issue that has long-term impact on the quality of school speech-language services is
that many school systems, especially smaller districts, do not have a supervisor or peer with
ASHA's Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-language Pathology (CCC-SLP).
Because school systems cannot (and should not) hire entry-level graduates who need to complete
a clinical fellowship year under the direct supervision of an ASHA-certified SLP for ASHA
certification, the pool of qualified candidates is limited further.
CERTIFICATION AND LICENSURE
The credentials held by speech-language clinicians working in the schools vary according to
state requirements. Possible credentials include ASHA's CCC-SLP, a state license, and a state
teacher certificate. This variability has created concerns regarding the qualifications of school
personnel and barriers to the hiring of qualified personnel due to issues of reciprocity.
ASHA's Certificate of Clinical Competence
ASHA's CCC-SLP sets the standard for entry-level requirements for the practice of that
profession. Requirements for ASHA's CCC-SLP include: (a) a graduate degree, (b) 21 graduate
semester hours and a total of 350 practicum hours with at least 250 practicum hours obtained in a
graduate program accredited by the ASHA Council for Academic Accreditation (CAA), (c) a
passing grade on the Praxis examination in speech-language pathology, and (d) successful
completion of a clinical fellowship under the supervision of an ASHA-certified SLP.
State Licensure and Teaching Certification
Some states have what is known as universal licensure, a state license that is required to practice
in all settings and is typically issued and administered by state departments of professional
regulation. In other states, school practitioners are exempt from the state licensing law; however,
they must meet separate state department of education requirements to obtain teacher
certification. A few states require both state licensure and teacher certification or state licensure
plus education-specific course work and examinations (ASHA, 2001e).
Requirements for most state licenses are similar or equivalent to those for ASHA's CCC-SLP.
In fact, some states will automatically grant licensure if the applicant holds the CCC-SLP.
Teacher certification, on the other hand, varies across states in terms of requirements for masters
degrees (e.g., may be a degree in a field related to communication disorders), clinical practicum
(i.e., must include experience in a school setting), course work (e.g., courses in pedagogy and
child development), and examinations (e.g., a passing grade on a state teachers exam).
In 36 states, individuals entering the public school system must have at least masters degrees to
work as SLPs (ASHA, 2001e). Of those 36 states, 7 require practitioners to be state-licensed or
to meet requirements over and above a masters. Even in states that require incoming personnel
to have at least a masters degree, there are still SLPs who entered the school system when only
bachelors degrees were required. Many states have set dates by which these SLPs must receive
masters degrees. Approximately 14 states allow bachelors-level personnel to start work in public
schools as SLPs. However, several of these states require that individual SLPs be enrolled in
masters programs and complete that program within a certain time. A few of these states will
only allow such SLPs to work under emergency certification or when qualified masters-level
individuals cannot be located.
The requirements for ASHA's CCC-SLP were established as the minimum skills required for
entry into the field of SLP. Individuals who hold state teaching certificates with requirements
less rigorous than ASHA's CCC-SLP risk lacking the basic skills and knowledge needed to carry
out the responsibilities of a speech-language pathologist. Individuals at the bachelors level
and/or with emergency certification are clearly not prepared for the demands of broad job
responsibilities or a diverse school speech-language caseload.
Reciprocity issues that affect all applicants for state teaching certification also affect SLPs.
These include redundant requirements for: (a) fully qualified and credentialed candidates from
other states, (b) late budget decisions, (c) teacher transfer provisions that push new hiring
decisions into August or September, and (d) lack of pension portability across states (Darling-
Hammond, 2001). In some ways, state teacher certification reciprocity for school-based SLPs is
even more complicated than for teachers or special education teachers. Although ASHA's CCC
is a national credential, it is not universally accepted by state departments of education. The three
distinct credentials-the ASHA-CCC, state licensure, and state department of education teacher
certification-create confusion for potential school-based SLPs.
Reciprocity issues are further complicated by the fact that many university programs in
communication sciences and disorders are not housed in schools of education. This causes three
common problems: (a) student teaching may not be specifically listed on the official transcript,
(b) course work in education pedagogy may not be required in order to graduate, and (c)
confusion exists over the state and national exams that a student should take.
The way student teaching is listed on the official transcript may cause one of two problems. In
some instances, it is merely a semantic problem: student teaching is noted as a clinical
practicum. This problem can be resolved by the university. The second and more serious
concern is when the applicant may not have met the state requirements for student teaching
despite extensive practicum experience. To rectify this situation, an SLP would need to re-enroll
in a university program and complete a student teaching requirement to be credentialed to work
in schools in that state. For some, this may not be feasible. The lack of required standardized
education course work for teacher certification across states causes an additional problem. Some
state teacher certification requirements include course work in pedagogy that is not required for
state licensure or ASHA's CCCs. Therefore, many students do not take this course work and do
not qualify for state teacher certification.
The last problem-confusion over teacher certification tests-is exacerbated because some states
require a passing score on general education tests in addition to a specialty area test in speech
and language. It is not uncommon that a potential employee in speech and language cannot be
credentialed in a reasonable time because he or she has not taken that state's tests.
QUALIFIED PROVIDERS: SUPPLY AND DEMAND
Teacher quality and its relationship to student achievement are top priorities in our nation's
education agenda. This same priority applies to the hiring of SLPs, who play a key role in
helping children succeed in school. SLPs' knowledge of the language-learning-literacy
connection equips them to analyze the linguistic demands of the school curriculum and to
contribute to students' mastery of that curriculum. However, the recruitment and retention of
qualified SLPs is thwarted by rising demands, challenging conditions, and competing options in
the work place.
Studies on Availability and Need
Studies conducted at state and national levels have documented existing difficulties in hiring
qualified SLPs (American Association for Employment in Education [AAEE], 2000; ASHA,
2001b; Legislative Office of Education Oversight, 1999; U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS],
2001) with projections of increased needs. Fifty-one percent of respondents to ASHA's 2000
Schools Survey indicated a shortage of qualified SLPs in their school district (ASHA, 2001a),
with greater shortages in rural and urban areas compared to suburban settings. Reported effects
of these vacancies include: (a) increased caseloads, (b) less opportunity for networking and
collaborating, (c) decreased opportunities for individual services, (d) decreased quality of
services, (e) increased number of staff without ASHA certification/masters-level training, (f)
reduced duration or frequency of services, and (g) denial of services to children who need them
(ASHA, 2001b; Legislative Office of Education Oversight, 1999).
The Study of Personnel Needs in Special Education (SPeNSE, 2002) conducted by the U. S.
Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs reported 11,148 job openings
for SLPs in schools for the 1999-2000 academic year. The greatest barrier to recruiting SLPs
was the shortage of qualified applicants, with 59% of respondents reporting this factor as having
the greatest impact on shortages.
The American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) (2000) lists speech-language
pathologists as ranking third in the nation in 1998 for number of vacancies as compared to other
areas in the teaching field. Of the 11 geographic regions surveyed, 7 fell in the considerable
shortage category; no region placed in the balanced or surplus category for SLPs.
According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (2001), the employment of SLPs is
expected to grow much faster than other occupations through the year 2010. In their estimates,
speech-language pathology ranks 25th out of the 700 occupations and 11th out of the 68 health-
related occupations in terms of growth. According to the BLS, more than 34,000 additional
SLPs will be needed to fill the demand between 2000 and 2010-a 39% increase in job
openings. A total of 57,000 job openings for speech-language pathologists are projected
between 2000 and 2010 due to growth and net replacements.
Although the U. S. is the most demographically diverse nation in the world (Deal-Williams,
2002), that diversity is not reflected among practitioners, graduate student populations, or
program faculty. According to the 2000 U. S. Census, 77.5% of the U. S. population is white; in
contrast, membership counts indicate that 95% of ASHA members are white. Data from the
Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders show that 93% of
faculty in communication sciences and disorders are white, and 89% of masters-level students
are white. Furthermore, anecdotal reports suggest that many minority students do not remain in
those programs through graduation (Deal-Williams, 2002).
These data suggest a continuation of the current critical shortage for bilingual speech-language
pathologists. Ninety-eight percent of ASHA members report that they are monolingual English
speakers. Although 10.5% of the U. S. population speaks Spanish in the home, only .6% of
ASHA members report speaking Spanish (Deal-Williams, 2002). The lack of diversity in our
graduate programs' students and faculty also raises questions about the preparation of all
students to work with diverse populations. Such a disparity suggests weaknesses in: (a) exposure
to diverse populations, (b) curricula and clinical training regarding diversity, and (c) research on
culturally and linguistically diverse populations.
Challenges to Working in School Settings
Challenges facing school-based SLPs are one possible explanation for the difficulty in recruiting
and retaining qualified applicants (ASHA, 2000b; ASHA, 2001b; Legislative Office of
Education Oversight, 1999). These challenges include: (a) excessive paper work; (b) lack of
time for planning, collaboration, and meeting with teachers and parents; (c) high caseloads; (d)
extensive traveling between buildings or sites; (e) little or no clerical assistance; (f) lack of
parental involvement and support; (g) low salaries; (h) inadequate work space and facilities; (i)
limited access to technology; (j) lack of training for special populations; and (k) lack of
One of the greatest barriers to maintaining qualified and experienced clinicians in the schools is
the lack of portability across school systems and work settings. Schools seldom give new
employees credit for their experience. Even experienced school clinicians moving to a new area
or a new job often start on the first step of the salary scale of a teacher's contract or receive
limited credit for years of experience. In contrast, SLPs in medical settings or private practice
are typically paid for previous experience. In addition to salary portability issues, pension
portability issues for school-based speech-language pathologists are similar to the ones noted by
Sindelar, Bishop, Gill, Connelly, and Rosenberg (2003).
When frustrated by these barriers to providing quality services to children, SLPs have the option
of employment in other settings, e.g., hospitals, long-term health care, private practice, or higher
Recruitment and Retention of Qualified Personnel
Recent studies have focused on strategies that school districts have implemented to recruit and
retain qualified personnel (e.g., Bergeson, Douglas, & Griffin, 2000; Darling-Hammond, 2001;
Urban Teacher Collaborative Report, 2000). In addition to strategies for attracting classroom
teachers, there are specific strategies for recruiting and retaining qualified SLPs. These include:
(a) salaries commensurate with the level of training required for the profession; (b) higher salary
schedules; (c) salary supplements similar to those for National Board Certification; (d) clerical
assistance and computers; (e) reasonable and manageable caseloads that allow services to be
delivered based on individual needs and time to accomplish all responsibilities required of the
school-based SLP; (f) better facilities for intervention and office work; (g) streamlined paper
work, particularly for documenting therapy treatment for Medicaid reimbursements; (h) travel
time between assigned schools; (i) time to meet with teachers to consult and plan collaborative
services; (j) recruitment at colleges and universities with communication disorders departments;
(k) recruitment through national ads (e.g., ASHA's online career web site); (1) reimbursement for
professional dues; and (m) release time and funding for profession-specific staff development.
SUMMARY AND KEY RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The preparation of qualified SLPs equipped for the demands of today's schools is affected by a
number of legislative, societal, professional, medical, and demographic influences. The issues
presented in this paper include:
1. The complexities of caseloads and the roles and responsibilities of school-based SLPs
have expanded significantly in the past decade.
2. Most graduate programs in communication sciences and disorders train generalists who
may not be prepared for the unique demands of employment in the schools (e.g.,
curriculum-based assessments, classroom-based interventions, collaborative consulta-
3. Certification programs for working professionals that are not a part of an institution's
accredited degree program may sacrifice quality and comprehensiveness for expediency.
4. Shortages of doctoral-level faculty are putting some academic programs at risk of
closure, resulting in fewer trained professionals available for employment as well as
reductions in the proportion of faculty holding the Ph.D.
5. Adequate on-the-job training of school-specific skills is complicated by the common
practice of assigning professionals from other fields to supervise SLPs, thereby failing to
provide content information and mentoring specific to speech-language services.
6. School districts that do not have an ASHA-certified SLP on staff cannot offer required
supervision to graduates who need to complete a supervised clinical fellowship year.
7. Emergency certificates, waivers, and some state teacher requirements result in hiring
inadequately trained personnel who are not equipped to handle complex caseloads and
expanded job responsibilities of school-based SLPs.
8. Recruitment and retention of qualified speech-language pathologists is thwarted by rising
demands, challenging work place conditions (e.g., caseloads, paper work, salaries), lack
of reciprocity in certifications, and competing work place options.
9. Our profession is experiencing a critical shortage of culturally and linguistically diverse
SLPs, graduate students, and faculty. This has implications for curricula, clinical
training, and research as well as skills and knowledge of practitioners.
Key research questions should include:
1. What are the universities currently doing to address the content-specific information
needed by entry-level SLPs who choose to work in school settings? What are the barriers
to providing the necessary information? What are some efficacious solutions to the
2. Is it possible to deliver content-specific graduate course work or professional education
training via distance learning to SLPs who want to work in the schools? Are state or
regional collaborative possible? What should be included in these courses?
3. Why is the collaborative consultation model of service delivery used so rarely to address
the speech and language needs of students in schools? What supports must be in place
for successful collaborative consultation? What initiatives are needed to facilitate the use
of collaboration as an appropriate delivery of speech and language services?
4. What are the demonstrated outcomes in improving formal literacy measures of
elementary students when SLPs, reading teachers, and regular education teachers work
together to target at-risk students and to develop prevention programs?
5. What are additional funding strategies for training clinicians for hard-to-fill positions,
including positions for rural and urban school districts and bilingual SLPs?
6. How can we foster partnerships between the university graduate programs and schools to
transfer information between the two settings? What supports have to be in place for
these partnerships to be formed and maintained? Are there any collaborative that can be
established at state or national levels to infuse school-specific content into graduate
7. What are the deterrents to entering and completing doctoral programs in communication
sciences and disorders? What are effective incentives for obtaining a doctoral degree and
working in academia?
8. What strategies are effective for recruiting culturally and linguistically diverse students
into our graduate programs? What are the barriers to their completing masters or doctoral
Assuring that children with communication disorders receive the highest quality of services
from adequately prepared personnel will require partnerships among university programs,
public schools, and funding agencies. Commitments of time, effort, and financial resources
and support are essential. Only then will training programs produce school-based SLPs who
are equipped to respond to the needs of diverse caseloads and who seek and maintain
employment in the school setting.
American Association for Employment in Education [AAEE]. (2000). Educator supply and
demand in the United States. 1999 Research Report. Washington, DC: Author.
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Appendix A. % of School-Based, ASHA-Certified Speech-Language
Pathologists Who Regularly Serve Students with Specific Diagnoses
and Average (Mean) Number of Students Served
% OF SLPS AVERAGE
DIAGNOSIS REGULARLY NUMBER OF
Aphasia 11.2% 3.0
Articulation/phonology 97.2% 23.7
Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder 90.1% 7.2
Autism/pervasive developmental disorder 82.8% 3.8
Cognitive-communication disorder 68.1% 7.9
Dysphagia 21.3% 3.1
Fluency 80.3% 2.6
Hearing disorders 66.0% 2.9
Learning disabilities 92.4% 15.1
Mental retardation/developmental disability 90.3% 9.4
Motor speech disorders (dysarthria, apraxia) 78.3% 3.5
Myofunctional disorders 21.0% 3.5
Nonverbal, augmentative/alternative communication 61.6% 4.6
Specific language impairment 85.2% 15.1
Appendix B. Core Roles & Responsibilities of School-Based Speech-
CORE ROLES RESPONSIBILITIES
Intervention Assistance Team / Child Study Team
PREVENTION Inservice Training
IDENTIFICATION Prereferral Interventions
Screening: Hearing, Speech, and Language
Referral and Consent for Evaluation
ASSESSMENT Assessment Plan
(Data Collection) Assessment Methods
EVALUATION Strengths/Needs/Emerging Abilities
Educational Relevance: Academic, Social-Emotional, and
Vocational Factors Evaluation Results and Team Recommendations
Specific Evaluation Considerations
Central Auditory Processing
Cultural and/or Linguistic Diversity/Limited English Proficiency
Hearing Loss and Deafness
Neurologic, Orthopedic, and Other Health Factors
ELIGIBILITY Federal Mandates, State Regulations/Guidelines, and Local
Presence of Disorder
CORE ROLES RESPONSIBILITIES
IEP/IFSP Federal Mandates, State Regulations/Guidelines, and Local
IEP Team, Factors, Components, Caseload Size
CASELOAD Coordination of Program
MANAGEMENT Service-Delivery Options
Scheduling Students for Intervention
Case Load Size
INTERVENTION For Communication Disorders
General Intervention Methods
Scope of Intervention
Speech: Articulation/Phonology, Fluency, Voice/Resonance
INTERVENTION For Communication Variations
Cultural and/or Linguistic Diversity
Limited English Proficiency
Students Requiring Technology Support
COUNSELING Goal-Setting and Purpose
TRANSITION Between levels (birth to 3, preschool, elementary, secondary)
Secondary to post-secondary education or employment
More-restrictive to less-restrictive settings
DISMISSAL Federal Mandates, State Regulations/Guidelines, and Local
Presence of Disorder
CORE ROLES RESPONSIBILITIES
SUPERVISION Clinical Fellows
University Practicum Students
DOCUMENTATION Federal Mandates, State Regulations/Guidelines, and Local
ACCOUNTABILITY Progress Reports
Treatment Outcome Measures
Appendix C. Additional Roles and Opportunities for School-Based
ADDITIONAL ROLES OPPORTUNITIES
COMMUNITY AND Audiologists
PROFESSIONAL Community-based speech-language pathologists
PARTNERSHIPS Health care providers
OPPORTUNITIES School-wide participation
Appendix D. % of Respondents by Service Delivery Models by Age
Groups of Children Served
SERVICE DELIVERY MODEL
AGE GROUPS TP SC CB CC RR
Birth-2 years 24 7 17 52 1
3-5 years 50 8 31 10 1
6-11 years 78 2 13 5 2
12-17 years 65 7 17 7 4
18+ years 48 8 23 16 5
Note: TP = traditional pullout, SC = self-contained classroom,
consultation, and RR = resource room.
CB = classroom-based, CC = collaborative
[Reprinted from C. Peters-Johnson. LSHSS, 29, page 122 with permission from ASHA, 1998.]
Appendix E. % of Respondents by Various Service Delivery Models
and Type of Communication Disorder/ Service
SERVICE DELIVERY MODEL
TP SC CB CC RR
Articulation/Phonology 87 3 6 3 1
Fluency 86 2 5 6 1
Voice 79 3 8 9 1
Language 49 8 33 6 4
Dysphagia 61 9 12 16 2
Aural Rehabilitation Service 58 6 20 15 1
Orofacial Myofunctional 78 5 7 8 1
Augmentative/Alternative 29 8 40 21 2
Communication Instruction 32 9 41 15 3
Cognitive Communication 42 10 31 11 5
Central Auditory Processing 51 5 26 14 3
Other 40 19 17 12 12
Note: TP = traditional pullout, SC = self-contained classroom,
consultation, and RR = resource room.
CB = classroom-based, CC = collaborative
[Reprinted from C. Peters-Johnson. LSHSS, 29, page 123 with permission from ASHA, 1998.]