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.
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; 25 hours of guided observation may be earned through the use of video recordings.
- 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. Visit the CFCC’s COVID-19 Guidance webpage for more information for students and clinical educators for 2022.
- The CFCC has extended through December 31, 2021, the previously announced accommodations to allow hours/experience to be counted for ASHA certification in ways which were previously not allowed. For a complete list of the CFCC’s COVID-19 accommodations, please visit CFCC's COVID-19 Guidace webpage. The CFCC will continue to consider future accommodations 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 will continue to be conducted as virtual site visits for spring 2022. The CAA approved an emergency policy, in light of guidance from the U.S. Department of Education for accrediting agencies, to conduct virtual site visits during the COVID-19 pandemic to support accreditation decisions.
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.
Contact Kimberlee Moore, director of accreditation, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Todd Philbrick, director of certification, at email@example.com if you have specific questions.