Clinical Practicum/Externship Resources
University of Montana (UM) graduate students in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorder (CSD) department participate in part-time and/or full-time clinical experiences as students in our on-campus or distance programs. Our on-campus students typically complete two semesters of practicum at the DeWit RiteCare Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic, a clinic that is an integral part of the CSD Department, at the Missoula UM campus. These students then complete three off-campus clinical practicum experiences in community settings throughout the city of Missoula, state of Montana, and/or the country. Our distance students typically complete an intensive UM on-campus clinic their third semester of graduate school (summer) at the DeWit RiteCare Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic and then complete three clinical practicum at clinical sites throughout the state of Montana and/or country. As students progress through their graduate program, they register for corresponding clinical classes that reflect part-time and full-time clinical practicum expectations where they learn and demonstrate their knowledge and skills of how to integrate research principles into evidence-based clinical practice. Students make externship site suggestions and are placed at externships sites based on their plans of study and completion of required course work for that setting.
Clinical placements are designed to support students in meeting the requirements of the 2014 Standards and Implementation Procedures for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology that include practicum experience in:
- three unique settings,
- a wide range of age groups,
- diagnostic and intervention settings,
- with speech and language disorders across the scope practice (i.e., articulation, swallowing, cognition, fluency, AAC, language, voice & resonance, social, hearing, literacy)
- diverse cultures and/or differing linguistic contexts and
- encouraged to include interprofessional education and interprofessional practice into their clinical supervised experience
Each potential practicum experience requires a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the University of Montana and the corresponding practicum site before a student can be considered for a respective placement. This legal agreement describes the mutual cooperation needed in providing an ideal practicum placement for both the student and the clinical site. We have a MOU form that can be used or we will review your site's memorandum.
Two additional documents are required, a clinical pre-placement review and a clinical practicum agreement.
- The clinical pre-placement review is required and created between the clinical educator, graduate student and the clinical externship coordinator. This document outlines the basic roles and responsibilities for our clinical educators. It allow us to verify ASHA certification, continuing education requirements for new clinical educators, and create a profile for clinical educator access to our web-based program. The document is to be completed shortly after initial confirmation of externship. All supervising SLPs are required to be ASHA certified. Certification and supervision CEUs are verified upon completion of clinical pre-placement review.
- The clinical practicum agreement is required and created between the graduate student and the clinical educator. This document describes the students’ skills, clinical needs, and reviews the requirements of the site that includes the agreed upon schedule and practicum duration. The agreement is to be completed prior to the start or within the first week of the practicum.
Practicum clinical educators provide evaluations of graduate student clinical performance at the midpoint and end of the practicum using an evaluation available in a web-based program. The clinical externship coordinator follows up with a mid-term and final conference. This evaluation aids in evaluating students’ performance in the major clinical areas of Diagnostic, Intervention, Oral and Written Communication, and Professional Skills. In return, graduate student clinicians are asked to complete an evaluation of their clinical experience upon completion.
Clinical Competencies, or the final performance expectations related to the specific client populations and procedures encountered throughout students’ clinical training programs, reflect the varying depth and breadth of experiences of each clinical site. These competencies are targeted and tracked in the form of clinical clock hours and case logs.
The UM CSD Department uses a web-based system to document students’ clinical clock hours (case logs) and a related range of requirements. The web-based system is HIPAA compliant and as such clients’ personal information is not included. Through the use of the web-based system, students are able to track their time with: age groups, settings, disorders, languages, and clinical services such as diagnostic, screening, advocacy, counseling, and intervention. Clinical educators at UM and those at practicum sites review case logs and approve or disapprove performance accordingly in the web-based system and midpoint and final evaluation surveys can be accessed in this system as well.
Please contact our Outreach Grant Coordinator, Naomi Kimbell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Clinical Externship Coordinator, Amanda Jackson (email@example.com) for support services with our web-based program.
Other helpful forms are listed below:
- Other resources are available through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD). Consider exploring ASHA Professional Practice Issues: Student Supervision.
- Supervision Workshops are offered through CAPCSD. Please contact Amanda Jackson to learn more about the first in a series of online ASHA CEU workshops. More information is also available in the CSD Clinical Supervisor Handbook.
Are you interested in supervising a graduate student? Return our clinical educator survey , or clinical education form and we will contact you and share more about our program. We place students in a wide range of setting across the United States and would love to add you to our Clinical Education Team!
ASHA & State Supervisory Requirements
Per ASHA and Montana requirements and recommendations, all clinical educators must:
- Hold a valid MT state license (non-school setting) and ASHA certification (CCC). Please complete the clinical educator survey or contact the Clinical Externship Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Clinical educators must have a minimum of 9 months of post-certification practice experience, as of Jan. 1st, 2020
- Complete 2 hours of post-certification professional development in supervision before serving as a clinical supervisor, as of Jan. 1st, 2020.
- The program will collect information during the initial conversation about the clinical educator’s experience level, caseload demographics, and comfort levels. Other professional and student feedback will be considered.