American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Academic Program Capacity Building in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology

Framing the Issue

Building capacity for the long term in audiology and speech-language pathology (SLP) requires a comprehensive approach involving multiple stakeholders such as academic programs, employers, practitioners willing to mentor others, credentialing bodies, and state associations. A multifaceted approach is required because of the diversity of factors thought to contribute to personnel shortages in the professions.

Reasons that have been cited for persistent personnel shortages in health care and educational settings (both school-based and higher education settings) include the following:

  • A shortage of PhD level faculty, which limits the number of students who can be admitted into the requisite graduate level degree programs for entry into the professions. 4 7 8 10
  • Not enough clinical placement sites along with too few practitioners skilled in clinical education or precepting who are available to provide practicum experiences for students. 4 9
  • Perceived restrictions within accreditation standards thought to limit the development of innovative and flexible education models in communication sciences and disorders. 4 9
  • Reported low salary levels or working conditions that may have a negative impact on recruitment and retention of qualified personnel. 1 2 3 4 6
  • A lack of mentoring and professional development in the workplace that serves to foster retention and career development for audiologists and speech-language pathologists. 1 2 3 6

ASHA, academic programs, state associations and others have been working to address many of the issues cited above through a variety of means. This resource, however, specifically focuses on the strategies and successes associated with academic program capacity building and the resources in place to support academic programs in such endeavors.

References

Team members used these ASHA sources for reference.

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