Page last updated: May 7, 2020
The Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) and the Council for Clinical Certification (CFCC) offer the following guidance related to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 and its impact on academic programs, clinical practicum/supervised clinical experience, students, clinical fellows (CFs), and other stakeholders.
The CAA and the CFCC sincerely realize that these disruptions are significantly affecting all of our professional and personal lives, especially graduate students and CFs who have been working for several years to take the next steps in their careers in the upcoming months. The CAA and CFCC have responsibility to assure stakeholders that graduates, CFs, and certificate holders are clinically competent to practice. The accreditation and certification standards have been developed and refined throughout the years by undergoing a vigorous vetting process to protect the public, students, and payers. These standards ensure standardization in the amount and quality of education and training that students receive prior to beginning their clinical fellowship and that a CF receives before practicing as an independent clinician.
“Chair Chats” were hosted by the CAA on April 9, 2020, and by the CFCC on April 28 (audiology) and April 30 (speech-language pathology). These events provided an opportunity to hear your concerns and questions, and to provide information and clarification to the extent possible. Additional content has been generated in response to many of the questions posted during these events.
After extensive, thoughtful consideration in light of these parameters, the CAA and the CFCC have concluded:
- No reductions will be made in the amount of graduate student supervised clinical experience for audiology (the equivalent of 12 months of full-time experience) and clinical practicum for speech-language pathology (400 hours).
- The amount of supervised clinical hours that may be obtained by graduate students through clinical simulation will not be expanded.
- Speech-language pathology programs are allowed to use clinical simulation for up to 75 hours of clinical hours.
- Audiology programs are permitted to count up to 10% of a student’s supervised clinical experience for ASHA certification through the use of clinical simulation.
- Speech-language pathology and audiology programs are permitted to count clinical hours earned through telepractice as part of their required supervised clinical practicum hours, including those earned after January 1, 2020.
- The CFCC has extended through August 31, 2020, the previously announced accommodations to allow hours/experience to be counted for ASHA certification in ways which were previously not allowed. The CFCC’s initial timeframe for these accommodations was from March 16 to April 30, 2020, and extended to May 31, 2020 and then to August 1, 2020. The CFCC will consider future extensions as needed as this situation continues to evolve.
- During this time, academic programs are encouraged to find alternative ways to accommodate various methods for students to meet the standards (e.g. distance education, tele options, program extensions, etc.).
- CAA site visits scheduled for spring 2020 have been postponed. The CAA is reviewing its procedures in light of new guidance from the U.S. Department of Education for accrediting agencies to determine appropriate next steps for rescheduling site visits.
These decisions were made because of the essential health care and education roles that these students will be expected to assume upon graduation; we believe that it is in the best interest of graduate students and ultimately client/patient care and safety to uphold these accreditation and certification standards. CFCC and CAA are trusting that programs will ensure that students are safe and ready to participate in clinical education experiences and that they will graduate with entry-level knowledge and skills. We believe that any further accommodations would not be responsible in light of the assurances these standards are designed and expected to provide to the public, employers, and tax payers.
- CAA COVID-19 Webinar Recording (April 9, 2020)
- COVID-19: CFCC Guidance for Graduate Programs, Students, and Clinical Fellows
- Detailed Information Regarding Academic Programs and COVID-19
- CAA Postpones Site Visits for Remainder of Spring 2020
- Resources for the Academic Community
- ASHA Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates