Answering Your Top Externship Questions

Unlike Clinical Fellowships, externships are clinical practicum opportunities for both audiology and speech-language pathology students as part of their degree programs. For audiology students, externships should occur during their clinical doctorate program.

Confused about completing an externship? Here are some of the most common questions we receive!

Can ASHA Help Me Find an Externship?

Externships are typically coordinated by CSD programs because contractual agreements are established between programs and placement sites. Agreements detail everyone’s roles and responsibilities and confirms that students will be supervised by a certified and/or licensed CSD professional.

If you’re pursuing ASHA certification, supervision by a CSD professional holding the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC-A or CCC-SLP) is required [see 2014 Certification Standards for Speech-Language Pathology (Standard V-E); 2012 Certification Standards for Audiology (Standard III) for more info].

If you’re a 4th-year clinical audiology (AuD) student, ASHA’s Career Center may be a resource to find 4th-year externship opportunities. But remember, these placements must be coordinated through your program to ensure any required contractual agreements are in place.

Can My Externship Take Place Outside of the State I Want to Work In?

Yes! The location of your externship has no bearing on your ability to obtain a license, ASHA certification, or ability to practice in another state.

Can I Get Paid for My Externship?

Sure—ASHA has no policy prohibiting student payment for externship experiences. It’s entirely at the discretion of your academic program and/or placement facility. But you may want to consider if receiving a stipend will impact your financial aid package.

Why Do I Work Less/More Than My Friend in a Similar Placement?

Roles and responsibilities are at the discretion of the placement site. Site supervisors determine work schedule and requirements based on their interpretation of what’s needed for students to achieve the knowledge and skills agreed upon in the placement agreement.

For example, some placements might require a 4- or 5-day commitment per week to meet the placement site’s required continuity of care for patients. Be sure you confirm your placement’s requirements before starting your externship!

Why Don’t I Get Clinical Credit Hours for Time Spent Doing Client Paperwork?

Per ASHA’s Certification Standards, clinical hours earned are based on direct contact with clients. Think with the client, not for the client.

I Failed My Externship—What Do I Do Now??

Contact your CSD program. All universities, and/or programs within universities, have a written policy on assessments, as well as procedures for complaints. If you believe you’ve been treated unfairly, you must follow your university’s process to address your concerns.

In some cases, you might be asked to complete another externship. If the outcome results in you not passing your clinical practicum of the full degree program, you may have the option of being awarded a non-clinical master’s degree. While this degree would not make you eligible for ASHA certification or the ability to provide direct services, you could pursue other career opportunities. Your advisor and university’s career center should be able to guide you through the process of exploring other career options.

Completing an externship is an exciting opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field, and we’re here to help you along the way! If you have additional questions, feel free to email us at Academic Affairs & Research Education at ASHA.

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