Recruitment Sources and Strategies
Recruiters for schools across the country are making use of both historically successful and newer sources to fill current vacancies for SLPs and to identify potential employees for the future. These sources include:
- University programs
- Ads in local and national newspapers
- Networking with current staff and student teachers
- Recruitment agencies
- ASHA, and state and local speech-language-hearing associations
- High school and college career fairs
- Job fairs
- Online links among rural, urban, and suburban schools in given districts, and via special education cooperatives
- Social media
ASHA's Online Career Center
ASHA's online Career Center is a service for matching employers and prospective employees. Employers can place ads online, as well as review hundreds of resumes that job seekers post at no charge. The "Manage Your Account" option helps employers organize and process applicants, and the "Resume Agent" sends an e-mail when a resume that matches an employer's specific criteria is entered into the system. ASHA also publishes The ASHA Leader, a newsmagazine that carries employment ads and is distributed to more than 130,000 professionals and students.
ASHA has developed a brochure that can be used to promote the profession: Reward Yourself With a Career as a School-Based Speech-Language Pathologist [PDF].
Successful mentoring programs are multifaceted; time-intensive; and involve effective mentors. Having common planning time, and collaboration with other teachers are reported to be more likely to result in substantial differences in teacher retention outcomes.
Some suggestions include:
- Hire full-time mentors and hiring officials in the school district to help new hires complete the hiring process. Train staff in facilitation skills to facilitate new hires.
- Have high school students shadow SLPs
- Develop mentorship program for new hires. In Anne Arundel County, Maryland, through the New Teacher/Pathologist Induction Program for Special Educators (TIPS), full-time SLPs assist newly hired SLPs in all aspects of their work through on-site visitations, observations, phone and e-mail communications, meetings, and training. (Division 16 Perspectives Newsletter, "Collaborative Coaching Scores a Win: Special Education Induction Program," December 2005, pp. 7–10).
Success Story: Mentoring Program
Anne Arundel County is lower paying than several surrounding counties, thus attracting personnel elsewhere. The county has had an annual attrition rate of 10%-15%, and positions have had to be filled by contractual personnel. Contractual personnel are usually contracted for 1 year, leaving the position open for the next school year.
In Anne Arundel County, a sign-on bonus has been offered to new hires. Another draw to this county is that SLPs are on a separate pay scale. A full-time mentor is assigned to new personnel offering clinical fellowship year supervision, trainings 2 half-days per month, on-site visitations, and frequent phone call and e-mail contacts. Trainings are initiated prior to the opening of school if new SLPs are available. Anne Arundel County is in the process of initiating payment for licensure or ASHA dues. This school year, a new service delivery is being implemented in targeted schools, which addresses workload concerns. In the area of recruitment, Human Resources plans to hold recruiting fairs that target specified groups. We are also considering visiting graduate programs in person to recruit.
Mentoring is top on the list of activities that help to recruit and retain quality personnel. Many potential new hires stated that college faculty recommended looking for school systems with new SLP induction programs already in place. With a full-time resource person available, new SLPs have access to assistance at all times.
Other districts with recruitment and retention problems should have an induction program in place to assist new hires. Mentors should attend recruitment fairs at universities and conventions to encourage prospective hires to interview in their systems. Due to SLP shortages, payment for Certificate of Clinical Competence and licensure/ASHA should be a given.
Fran Silverman, MA, CCC-SLP
Anne Arundel County Public Schools (MD)
Read ASHA's other local district success stories.
Additional Approaches to Reaching Potential Employees
- Reach out to retired SLPs with job-sharing and part-time opportunities. Penalties on Social Security earnings for those over age 65 who continue to work have been rescinded, and this offers additional recruitment opportunities (Maryland State Retirement Agency, 2001).
- Speak to undergraduates and graduate students about the benefits of working in school settings.
- Review the employment ads run in the newsletters and websites of some state associations (ASHA and state associations also offer the opportunity for employers to meet with prospective employees at conventions).
- Contact SLPs who may be leaving health-related or other work settings to learn about working in a school setting.
- Use video interviews.
The National Coalition on Personnel Shortages in Special Education and Related Services (NCPSSERS)
NCPSSERS is a coalition that works to sustain a discussion among key stakeholders on the issue of personnel shortages in education settings; develop and share personnel shortages data and information; and improve policies and practices affecting personnel shortages in special education and related services professions. The Coalition represents more than 30 national, state, and local organizations that provide data on the extent of the shortages across professions legislative updates, and resources on recruitment and retention strategies.
SLPJobs.com hosts comprehensive job listings specifically for SLPs and CFY's searching for a career in speech-language pathology. The site contains SLP job search tools, licensure information, and career resources.
Teachers-teachers.com is a national online recruitment service for educators. This free service can assist individuals who are seeking positions in special education and for SISP personnel to find jobs in the field.