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COVID-19: Clinical Education

Page last updated: June 19, 2020

The CAA and CFCC have received requests to reduce the minimum amount of supervised clinical experiences for students and for clinical fellows (CF). The CAA and CFCC have decided to not reduce the number of supervised clinical experiences for audiology or speech-language pathology students/certification applicants.

Programs must be prepared to extend the program for those students who do not meet the minimum standards. The CAA trusts programs will ensure that students are ready to participate in clinical education experiences and that they will graduate with entry-level knowledge and skills. Given the essential health care and education roles that these students will be expected to assume upon graduation, we feel that it is in the best interest of graduate students and client/patient care and safety to maintain these expectations

  • Reducing standards could pose potential risks to students and CFs who (1) may not be competent and/or qualified to practice as those who were educated and trained before them, or those who will be educated or trained in the future, (2) may not be able to meet state licensure or insurance requirements, and (3) most importantly would put clients/patients/students at risk.
  • It has been requested that the CAA and CFCC lower the total amount of clinical practicum required for graduation/certification and roll those hours into an extended clinical fellowship. This was rejected because it (1) does not comply with the range of state credentialing requirements across the country, and (2) has the potential to endanger client/patients/students.

Short-term and Longer-term Rotations

Please note that programs are still required to meet CAA Standard 3.1A/B (Academic and Clinical Curriculum) and the minimum clinical requirements prior to graduation. The CAA requires audiology programs include a minimum of 12 months’ full-time equivalent of supervised clinical experiences. Supervised clinical experiences that are acquired during years 1–3 should be included toward this minimum, which can include short-term rotations and longer-term externships. Similarly, the CAA requires SLP programs to provide the opportunity for students to complete a minimum of 400 supervised clinical practice hours. It is expected that these supervised clinical experiences should be distributed through the program of study.

It is expected that all supervised clinical hours and experiences are completed by the time the student graduates.

Advising CAA About Alternative Clinical Experiences

Programs are expected to advise the CAA about the changes they made to address the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Activities such as simulated cases and telepractice may be employed as appropriate; the activities must be interactive and not static cases that would otherwise be considered for observation only. The CFCC has developed guidelines for clinical simulation that may be helpful in considering options.

The CAA continues to expect that programs are responsible for and ensuring that clinical education is provided in a manner that supports student development so that students are prepared to enter professional practice as outlined in the Requirement for Review under CAA Standard 3.7A/B (Clinical Education-Students).

The CAA expects that all supervised clinical hours and experiences are completed before the student graduates, in accordance with CAA Standard 3.1 A/B (Academic and Clinical Curriculum). For speech-language pathology students, deficient supervised clinical hours may not be made up during a Clinical Fellowship.

Related Pages

About ASHA

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for members and affiliates who are audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology assistants, and students.

Connect With ASHA

About the CAA

The Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) accredits eligible clinical doctoral programs in audiology and master's degree programs in speech-language pathology. The CAA relies on a dedicated corps of volunteers serving as Council members and site visitors to accomplish the work of the accreditation program.

Contact the CAA

Questions and/or requests for information about accreditation or the CAA can be directed to:

The Council on Academic Accreditation in
Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard, #310
Rockville, MD 20850


Email the CAA