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Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders

Part 5: Graduate Clinical Education: Internship Requirements


Breadth and Depth of Experience

Every effort will be made to give you assessment and intervention experiences with people of various ages and social/cultural backgrounds, across the following areas (aka, The Big Nine):

  • articulation
  • fluency
  • voice and resonance, including respiration and phonation
  • receptive and expressive language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics) in speaking, listening, reading, writing, and manual modalities
  • hearing, including the impact on speech and language
  • swallowing (oral, pharyngeal, esophageal, and related functions, including oral function for feeding; orofacialmyofunction)
  • cognitive aspects of communication (attention, memory, sequencing, problem-solving, executive functioning)
  • social aspects of communication (including challenging behavior, ineffective social skills, lack of communication opportunities)
  • communication modalities (including oral, manual, augmentative, and alternative communication techniques and assistive technologies)


Clock Hours and ASHA

For certification, ASHA requires that applicants accrue at least 25 observation hours and at least 375 clock hours as part of their degree in an accredited program.  Of the 375 clock hours, a minimum of 325 must be earned at the graduate level. Students who enter the program with no clock hours may find it necessary to extend their graduate work in order to accrue sufficient clock hours.  While ASHA does not set a requisite number of hours in each diagnosis category, the UMD CSD Department has determined that direct clinic experience across all areas is optimal for professional development.

Students often ask for guidelines on the rate of clock hours accrual they can expect.  This does vary by assignment and other factors such as cancellations and illness.  THERE IS NO GUARANTEE of hours accrual rate, but in general, students can expect the following:

  • 8397: 54-63 hours
  • 8497: 72-93 hours
  • 8597: 100-112 hours
  • 8697: 100-112 hours
  • 8797: 125-140 hours
  • 8897: 125-140 hours
  • 8997: 9-12 hours

It is your responsibility as the student to track your hours and work with the clinic director.

Clock Hours and Earning a Degree

It's not about the numbers, it's about the Competence and Experience.

The CSD Department is charged with providing you opportunities for a breadth and depth of experiences in your clinical education. As a student, you must demonstrate clinical knowledge and skills to work with a diverse group of clients with a variety of communication disorders. To this end, you may be given additional clinical education assignments when the assigned case is determined an appropriate opportunity to broaden your scope and mastery of clinical skills. Successful completion of clinical service and demonstration of skills is required for earning your degree. It may take you 500 or more hours to demonstrate competence.  You can never have too much experience. 


Graduate-Level Clinical Education Courses

Students must complete 4 semester credits of internships to meet Graduate Degree credit requirements; however, students will participate in substantially more clinic internships in order to demonstrate a depth and breadth of knowledge and skills in speech-language pathology, as is required by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Graduate students are involved in internships every semester of their graduate education. All clinic activity which accrues clock hours must involve at least 1 credit of practicum registration.

A series of courses are available for clinical practicum:

On-Campus Internships at Robert F. Pierce Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic

  • CSD 8397: On-Campus Graduate Internship in Communication Disorders I
    • Required 3 credit course, typically taken the first semester of the graduate program.
    • On-campus internship with the equivalent of 3 client assignments. 
    • For each credit, a student can expect devote approximately 6 hours/week in preparation and administrative functions (documentation, meeting with clinic instructor, etc).
    • As available, includes limited off-campus experience in providing hearing screenings and preschool language screenings.
  • CSD 8497: On-Campus Graduate Internship in Communication Disorders II
    • 4 credit course, typically taken the second semester of the graduate program.
    • Must successfully complete CSD 8397 in order to take CSD 8497.
    • On-campus internship with the equivalent of 4 client assignments.
    • For each credit, a student can expect devote approximately 6 hours/week in preparation and administrative functions (documentation, meeting with clinic instructor, etc).
    • As available, includes limited off-campus experience in providing hearing screenings and preschool language screenings.
  • CSD 8997: On-Campus Graduate Practicum in Communication Disorders
    • 1 credit on-campus internship, typically taken in the summer.
    • Focuses on speed and efficiency of service delivery
    • Once client assignment during in summer session.
  • CSD 8297: Audiology Practicum
    • Optional
    • Clinical assessment and rehabilitative experiences in an on-campus clinic under supervision of an ASHA-certified audiologist.

Off-Campus Part-Time Internships

  • CSD 8597: Part-Time Internship in Education Setting
    • 5 credits, 16 hours per week off-site at an assigned education setting, providing clinical services under the supervision of an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist.
    • Must successfully complete CSD 8497 as a prerequisite
  • CSD 8697: Part-Time Internship in Medical Setting
    • 5 credits, 16 hours per week off-site at an assigned medical setting, providing clinical services under the supervision of an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist.
    • Must successfully complete CSD 8497 as a prerequisite

Off-Campus Part-Time Internships

  • CSD 8797: Full-Time Externship in Educational Setting
    • 6 credits, Full-time speech-language pathology externship in an education
      setting under an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist. This
      full-time placement allows the student to experience the rigors of
      full-time service delivery and actively participate in all aspects of
      clinical practice in education settings. Special focus is on refining
      social/cultural competence and formative assessment in clinical
      practice.  Placement may be in the Duluth area or in another city.
    • Must successfully complete CSD CSD 8697 as a prerequisite.
    • Placement must complement the breadth and depth of experiences for certification requirements.
    • Offered only during the Final Semester of the Second Year of Graduate School (typically spring)
  • CSD 8897: Full-Time Externship in Medical Setting
    • 6 credits, Full-time speech-language pathology externship in a medical
      setting under an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist. This
      full-time placement allows the student to experience the rigors of
      full-time service delivery and actively participate in all aspects of
      clinical practice in medical settings. Special focus is on refining
      social/cultural competence and formative assessment in clinical
      practice.  Placement may be in the Duluth area or in another city.
    • Must successfully complete CSD 8597 or CSD 8697 as a prerequisite.
    • Placement must complement the breadth and depth of experiences for certification requirements.
    • Offered only during the Final Semester of the Second Year of Graduate School (typically spring)


Typical Clinical Education Sequence for Graduate Students

Students typically complete the graduate programs over the course of five semesters: Fall, Spring, Summer, Fall, Spring. If you have a circumstance that will extend your graduate education, you will work with the faculty to arrange an individualized timeline for program completion.

First Year, Fall Semester: CSD 8397

  • Robert F. Pierce Clinic
  • Area school hearing screenings and preschool screenings

First Year, Spring Semester: CSD 8497

  • Robert F. Pierce Clinic/contract assignments
  • Area school hearing screenings and preschool screenings

Summer Session: CSD 8997

  • Robert F. Pierce Clinic

Second Year, Fall Semester: CSD 8597 or 8697

Combination may include:

  • Part-time off-site internship in educational or medical setting(16 hours/week, 15 weeks)
  • Area school hearing and preschool screenings as available

Second Year, Spring Semester: CSD 8597, 8697,8797 or CSD 8897

  •   Students may choose from the following options:
    • Part-time off-site internship (16 hours/week, 15 weeks)
    • Full-time off-site externship (40 hours/week, 10 weeks plus 5 weeks classtime)
  • Placement must complement the breadth and depth of experiences for certification requirements.


Clinical Education Prerequisites

Students must meet certain prerequisites to register for clinical internships.

  1. CSD Student. Only students who are CSD Majors or Graduate Students in the CSD Program are considered for clinical education courses.
  2. 25 Observation Hours.  Clinic Observation Completed ASHA requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence state that an individual must have 25 hours of supervised observation. The CSD Department requires that these observation hours be completed BEFORE beginning clinic practicum. Students are required to present proof of completion of observation hours before beginning their first practicum through the CSD Program.
  3. Grade Point Average of 3.0 or higher. To be in good academic standing, a graduate student must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Any student failing to maintain the required average is considered to be on academic probation. A student on academic probation will have one semester to increase their grade point average to the minimum requirement of 3.0. Students failing to meet the grade point average requirements will not be allowed to register for further Communication Sciences and Disorders courses, including CSD 8097 and CSD 8197.
  4. Mandatory Clinical Education Orientation. All incoming graduate students are expected to participate in the mandatory practicum orientation, which is part of the orientation to the Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology at UMD.
  5. Completion of University of Minnesota Data Privacy Courses. All students, faculty, and staff who have access to Protected Health Information (PHI) must comply with the Federal Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Graduate students will be assigned on-line U of M Data Privacy courses which must be completed before the student is allowed to participate in practicum.
  6. Malpractice Insurance. The University of Minnesota carries malpractice insurance to cover staff, faculty and students who practice in the RFP Clinic. This insurance also covers students who complete internships and externships off-campus as a part of their degree through the UMD CSD Programs.
  7. Criminal Background Checks. The College of Education and Human Service Professions requires that all students who participate in internships with children and vulnerable adults must complete a background check through the UMD Human Resources.  In addition, off-campus sites may require additional background checks for a student wishing to complete internships in thier organization.

Additional Requirements for Off-Campus Placements

  1. Successful completion of prior internships.
    • For off-campus CSD 8597 and 8697, must have successfully completed CSD 8497 at the university clinic.
    • For CSD 8797 and 8897, must have successfully completed at least one internship at the university clinic and at least one internship off-campus.
  2. Meet terms of Affiliation Agreement. If a student is completing an off-campus internship or externship , additional requirements may be delieniated in the Affiliation Agreement with that off-campus site. Requirements may include provision of documentation of immunizations and CPR.  Interns will work with the Clinic Director to address requirements unique to off-campus sites.


Course Objectives for CSD On-Campus 8397 and 8497

  • Develop appropriate semester treatment plan for assigned client with general direction from the clinical instructor. The treatment plan will include measurable and achievable semester objectives, rationale for objectives, and treatment procedures. This process includes gathering baseline data by reviewing background information from the client, family members or other involves sources.
  • Demonstrate evidence-based practice. Present evidence of researching the disorder area either through a discussion or written review of pertinent journal articles or other relevant literature.
  • Formulate daily measurable and achievable objectives, with general guidance from clinical instructor.
  • Implement intervention plan with general guidance from clinical instructor, using appropriate modeling of target behaviors, teaching strategies, and feedback strategies.
  • Select and use appropriate materials and instrumentation to maximize intervention plan.
  • Collect accurate data on client behavior to measure progress.
  • Write daily progress notes and semester treatment reports, including pertinent and accurate information, in an organized clear and grammatically correct style, with general guidance from clinical instructor. Session documentation guidelines may vary with the clinical instructor and the needs of the client.
  • Develop an understanding of goals and procedures with the client and/or family members, with general guidance from clinical instructor. Staffings are held at the beginning and end of the semester.
  • Interact with clients, caregivers, other professionals, and clinical instructors in a respectful manner.
  • Demonstrate ethical behavior, including adherence to ASHA Code of Ethics and University and CSD Department policies and procedures for implementation of HIPAA.
  • Demonstrate professional behavior, including punctuality in meeting deadlines for all items listed on the clinic itinerary, adhering to the clinic dress code, and abiding by all clinic policies and procedures.
  • Develop the ability to evaluate own skills regarding effectiveness of management techniques through use of taping, conferences with clinic instructors, and structured observation techniques.


Course Requirements/Expectations for Off-Campus Placements

A student must have successfully completed a part-time off-site internship in order to be placed in a full time externship. Once at the site, the student is expected to:

  • Spend 16 hours/week at the site for 8597 and 8697; and spend 40 hours/week at the site for 8797 and 8897.
  • implement treatment programs designed for assigned clients
  • Perform diagnostic evaluations as assigned by site supervisor
  • Establish positive working relationships with site supervisor and other site staff
  • Comply with site standards for documentation of treatment and diagnostic services
  • Convey treatment information to clients, families, and professionals in oral and written forms
  • Meet professional expectations of the site
  • Comply with CSD department standards for clinical clock hours accrual and documentation
  • Abide by the ASHA Code of Ethics
  • Develop the ability to evaluate own skills regarding effectiveness of management techniques through use of goal-setting, conferences with the supervisor and university liaison, and structured observation techniques.


Evaluation of Student Performance

  • UMD Instructors use UMD CSD Grading Protocol.  Instructors will use the UMD Grading Protocol and will follow the grading guidelines as outlined in Practicum Handbook.
  • Off-campus clinic supervisors may use a variety of protocols.  Off-campus supervisors are welcome to use the UMD CSD Practicum Grading Protocol OR they may choose their own protocol for assessing the student´s clinical performance. Clinic supervisors who choose thier own protocol are asked to inform the intern and the university liaison for placements and provide a copy of their protocol no later than the first week of the placement. Students should ask what protocol the supervisor will use.
  • Remediation Procedures.  Students participating in any clinical education course are subject to Remediation Procedures as outlined in the Handbook, if the practicum grade recommended by the site supervisor is a B- or lower OR if the supervisor has specific concerns regarding the student's performance.


Clock Hours Documentation

Students are responsible for documenting clock hours accrued in practicum.  Students enter time accrued into the CSD Clock Hours Database.  Please refer to the Help Documents in the Clock Hours Database for detailed instructions on recording time accrued.  The following is an overview.

  1. Enter time earned for a given session and submit it to the clinic instructor for approval.  It is best to do this as soon as possible after a session.
  2. Correcting entry errors.  If you make an entry error and the instructor has not approved it, you can make the correction on your own using "Update Hours".  If the instructor has already approved it, then contact the instructor to make the correction for you.
  3. Graphs help you track your progress.  Explore the graphs of your clock hours, as they display breakdowns of the types of clinical experiences you have earned.  You can make pdfs of these graphs for your ePortfolio.
  4. At the end of the semester, be sure you have entered all hours by the due date.  Check to make sure all hours are approved or deleted by the end of a semester.  Your instructors will approve your Semester Clock Hours Reports.  You should scan a pdf of the approved reports into your ePortfolio.
  5. At the end of your final practicum, the Clinic Director and Department Head will sign your Degree Clearance Report.  Scan a pdf of this approved report into your Portfolio.

Transfer Hours: Graduate students transferring from other undergraduate programs will need to provide any documentation of undergraduate observation hours and clock hours prior to beginning their graduate program.  The Clinic Director will transfer these hours into the CSD Clock Hours Database before thier graduate work begings.  Up to 50 undergraduate clock hours may be used toward the total 375 clock hours required by ASHA for certification.


Knowledge Acquisition Reports:

When developing client care plans, all students will research their clients communication disorder, gather information on thier client's needs and values, and consider expert opinion and personal experience. This is part of a lifelong professional practice, and reflects consideration of all evidence in creating a plan that best meets the needs and desires of the indivdual client.

Beyond the research typically expected to plan for any client, some students must complete additional studies if they have not yet taken the academic coursework which addresses the assigned client's communicaiton or swallowing disorder. In these instances, students will be asked to submit a Knowledge Acquisition Report at the start of the semester which outlines the research they have completed on a given communcation or swallowing disorder.


Student-Clinic Instructor Relationship

We are interested in your progress toward becoming a competent and confident professional. The student-instructor relationship is intended to foster student growth. It will be helpful if you enter your supervised clinical experience with the understanding that your instructor is not only an educator but a support person as well. We encourage you to open and honest with your instructor; s/he cares about YOU.

Your instructor will use several methods to guide your learning in the Clinic. These usually include individual student-instructor conferences, reviews of recorded sessions, group meetings, demonstration therapy and evaluation. Through these processes, the instructor intends to help you develop greater independence in problem solving, decision-making, and evaluating your clinical skills.

You can expect your instructor to observe from 25% to 50% of your therapy sessions. If you feel you would like more observations, feel free to discuss that with your instructor-s/he is there to help!

We hope your practicum experience with the Robert F. Pierce Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic will be a rewarding one.


Off-Campus Placements

The purpose of off-campus internships is to expand the students' application of knowledge and skills to a broader number of settings and a variety of clients with various communication needs. It is an exciting and challenging experience that adds not only to the student's clinical knowledge and skills, but also expands their awareness of cultural and professional issues surrounding clinical practice.

Selecting Internship Sites

Students meet with the CSD University Liaison to talk about clinical education. Each student meets with the university liaison. During the Fall Semester of their first year of graduate school to formulate potential plans for off-campus placements. Students share their interests and preferences and the university liaison will honor these requests as much as possible, though there is no guarantee that students will be placed with any given organization.

The University Liaison arranges all off-campus placements.  After meeting with the students, the univeristy liaison will arrange placements for all students. Many factors influence selection of a site. Off-campus placements are made based on student interests, student qualifications, student education needs, site requirements, and site/supervisor preferences and availability.  All off-campus placements are arranged by the university liaison.  Students should not contact sites or professionals to arrange their own practicum placements for internships or externships.

Preparing for the Internship

Some sites require an interview or resume.  Many off-campus sites require a student resume, transcripts, and an interview with the student prior to the practicum. Site supervisors review the resume and transcripts to learn about the student's preparation for the site.  The purpose of the interview is to ensure shared expectations for the practicum experience and, in some cases, to select an intern from a group of candidates from multiple university programs.

Some sites require orientation. Once a student accepted to a site, teh site may require the student to complete an orientation.   This may include a site visit or on-line training or both. The univeristy liaison will help the student identify site requirements and help arrange for the orientation with the site.

All sites require an affiliation agreement. Students are placed in sites with current affiliation agreements in place. This legal document delineates the roles and responsibilities of the site, the site supervisor, the student, and the university program. Every site had different requirements. The student is required to read and agree to the terms of the placement prior to the internship. 

Medical Clearances, Background Checks, and other details. The affiliation agreement will delineate student prerequisites to completing an internship at the site.  The student may need to complete additional background checks, provide documentation of certain immunizations, and other information, before being permitted to participate in the internship at this site. The university liaison will work with the student to meet these terms of the affiliation agreement for the asigned site.

The University Liaison and Your Internship

Instructors in the CSD Department are your univeristy liaisons for internships.   The university liaisons coordinate and facilitate off-campus placements. The university liaisons establish strong communication between the facility and the university program. The liaisons will use site visits, telephone calls, and surveys for this purpose. 

Contact the University Liaison with Concerns. If the student or the site supervisor has concerns or questions regarding any aspect of the practicum experience, they are advised immediately to contact a university liaison in the CSD Department. The site supervisor, the student, and the university liaison will develop a plan of action to improve the situation.

Site Visits.  The purpose of site visits is to support the student learning experience. A student intern is welcome to join the supervisor and the university liaison during a site visit. 
Site visits offer opportunities for the site supervisor to meet with the university liaison and

    • give a tour of the supervisor's practice setting
    • provide information regarding the supervisor's practice/experience
    • explain expectations of interns at the site
    • discuss current assigned student performaance and address any issues
    • ask questions, express concerns and share ideas related to clincal supervision and student learning

Site visits offer opportunities for the university liaison to meet with the site supervisor and

    • establish a firmer working relationship
    • learn about the sueprvisor's practice, experience, and expectations
    • clarify university expectations in student performance and clinical supervision
    • Offer support for the clinical supervisory process and student learning
    • provide information and resources related to supervision of student interns
    • identify any issues related to the internship that may need follow-up

Site visits ultimately support the learning experience of the student.

Off-Campus Clinical Supervision

All off-campus site supervisors must hold ASHA certification at the time of supervising the student. Also, the supervisors must hold current credentials as required by the state in which they practice.  Finally, the CSD Department prefers the supervisors to have a minimum of three years´ clinical experience.

Whether a student is involved in a full-time or part-time practicum, the exact schedule of the practicum is a matter of mutual discussion between the site supervisor and the student. We encourage the supervisor to involve the student in as many aspects of their clinical practice as possible, though only direct client contact time may be credited toward ASHA clock hours.

The supervisor must abide by the following ASHA supervision regulations:

  • At least 25% of the total clock hours must be directly supervised, though supervisors are to use their clinical judgment to provide as much supervision they believe the student needs, for the welfare of the student and the client.
  • An ASHA certified supervisor must be on site at all times. If the site supervisor is absent, the student is not allowed to provide therapy or diagnostic services, unless there is another ASHA certified supervisor who will assume the supervision responsibilities in the primary supervisor´s absence.

Refer to the Off-Campus Intern Guide and to the CSD Off-Campus Supervisor Resources for further information.

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