Independent Study Orientation

This orientation explains the concept of an independent study (IS) and describes the process of developing, monitoring and approving an IS. Please contact your provider manager at any point in the IS experience if further clarification is needed.

What is an IS?

  • A learner-initiated and -designed educational experience for the enhancement of skills and knowledge in a specific area that is relevant to the discipline of communication sciences and disorders
  • An experience proposed by the learner and reviewed, monitored, and approved by the Continuing Education Administrator (CEA) of the ASHA Approved Independent Study Provider
  • An opportunity for a learner to design individualized learning activities to meet specific learning needs

What is not an IS?

  • A group of individuals who want to form a Journal or Book Club but do not want to register it as an ASHA CEU Cooperative Event with a Coop Fee
  • Several ASHA members who contact an Approved CE Provider to attend the same conference not registered for ASHA CEUs without unique individual learning goals
  • Training or learning that already happened that an ASHA member wants to get ASHA CEU credit for retroactively

How do I know if my organization is an ASHA Approved Independent Study Provider?

When your organization initially applied to become an ASHA Approved Provider, there was an option to apply to become an ASHA Approved Independent Study Provider. To check on your IS status, go to Find ASHA Approved CE Providers on the main ASHA Continuing Education (CE) webpage. Independent Study Providers are listed separately in alphabetical order. In addition, they are also identified by an orange “Independent Study” tag in the Providers by State listing.

If your organization does not currently have this designation, and you would like to offer this option, please complete the Application to be an Independent Study Provider to indicate that your organization will engage in Independent Studies. There is no additional fee.

What are the steps for facilitating an IS plan?

Step 1. Participant contacts an ASHA Approved Independent Study Provider.

  • Participant must contact the ASHA Approved Independent Study Provider prior to the start of the IS plan.
  • Providers cannot agree to monitor or approve plans that have already been completed.

Step 2. Upon initial contact, the Provider informs the participant of the procedures and policies related to the IS plan, including the fees and the refund policy.

  • Providers may charge participants a fee to monitor and process the IS.
  • Provider-initiated group activities are not appropriate for IS.
  • Providers may limit the number of plans that they will monitor each year.

Step 3. Provider directs participant to the Independent Study Participant Worksheet on the ASHA CE website.

  • Participant completes the Independent Study Worksheet [PDF] and contacts the provider for a consultation.
  • The IS content must relate to the science and practice of audiology, speech-language pathology, or speech, language, and hearing sciences.
  • After a discussion about and review of the participant’s IS plan, the CEA indicates to the participant whether they (i.e., the CEA) will assist in the planning, monitoring, and approving (upon satisfactory completion) of the IS.

Step 4. CEA and participant agree to collaborate on an IS plan that follows the CEB’s requirements.

  • The CEA should work with the participant to fill out the IS Participant Worksheet so that it is clear and complete. It will be a required attachment to the IS course registration.
  • Once the plan is developed—and the CEA and participant agree on all components—both parties sign and date the Independent Study Participant Worksheet. This date reflects the date that the plan was developed and must be prior to the start date of the IS coursework.
  • The CEA may recommend revisions to the Independent Study plan. If that happens, those revisions will need to be incorporated in the IS Participant Worksheet.
  • CEA and participant retain copies of the completed Independent Study Participant Worksheet.
  • Important: CEA does not send any information about the IS plan to ASHA CE until after the participant has completed the entire IS course.

Step 5. CEA and participant will check in during the course of the IS plan.

  • As part of the oversight process, the CEA and participant must agree to periodically check in to discuss progress and report any issues that may change the plan.
  • If changes occur, the CEA and participant need to agree on the changes, and those changes need to be incorporated into the Independent Study Participant Worksheet.

Step 6. Participant completes the IS and submits all required paperwork to the CEA.

  • Participant completes the "Independent Study Activity Evaluation" section of the Independent Study Participant Worksheet and submits it to the CEA, along with all documentation verifying satisfactory completion—which should include an IS time log [PDF], certification of attendance, conference session attendance sheet or some other proof that the participant spent time completing the IS activity. All coursework should be completed in the same calendar year, if work crosses calendar years you need to submit another IS course registration to get credit for that time.

Step 7. CEA reviews the IS documentation submitted by the participant and verifies satisfactory completion by

  • completing the "Verification of Satisfactory Completion and Awarding of ASHA CEUs" section of the Independent Study Participant Worksheet;
  • completing the "Program Evaluation" section of the IS Participant Worksheet; and
  • signing and dating the last page of the IS Participant Worksheet.

Note: CEA should make copies of all forms and supporting documentation.

Step 8. CEA is now ready to register and report the IS plan to ASHA CE.

  • The CEA goes to the "Registration and Cancellation" section of the CE Provider Portal
  • On the online form, the CEA selects "Independent Study" as the type of course registration..
  • The CEA is then directed to IS-specific questions, which will ask the CEA to (a) attach the Independent Study Participant Worksheet and (b) provide participant information for reporting purposes.

Step 9.  ASHA CE staff reviews the IS forms submitted and the CEB awards the ASHA CEUs.

  • ASHA CE staff reviews the Independent Study Participant Worksheet and the Course and Offering Registration to ensure that all CEB requirements have been met.
  • ASHA CE staff may contact the CEA and/or the participant in the event of questions or missing information.
  • ASHA CE Staff enters the IS information and ASHA CEUs on the participant’s ASHA CE Registry Transcript.

Note: Participant must pay the annual CE Registry fee in order to be awarded ASHA CEUs for the IS activity.

Step 10. ASHA CE staff sends the CEA a course roster that includes course and participant information.

  • CEA checks the course roster against the copy of the Independent Study Participant Worksheet and immediately notifies their Provider Manager if any errors are found.
  • CEA retains a copy of the IS Registration, Independent Study Participant Worksheet, supporting documentation, and course roster for at least 2 years.

How do I complete the Online Course and Offering Registration and Cancellation System for an IS course?

Many of these sections are similar to any course registration. Those sections that are different for an IS course—and that require further explanation—are found in the “Learning Experience” section of the form.

Course Information

  • Select course type Independent Study
  • Provide a unique 4 digit course number
  • Course Title

Course Detail

  • Course Description (This will appear on the participant’s transcript.)
  • Subject Code
  • Content Code
  • Instructional level

ASHA CEUs and Offering Information

Type of Learning Experience (Specific to IS Courses)

  • Select IS type.
  • Enter the amount of ASHA CEUs requested.
  • Enter the start date of IS plan.
  • Enter the end date of IS plan.
  • Enter location of IS plan activities.

Attestation (same)

  • Check appropriate boxes in this section


  • Participant Time Log
  • Participant Independent Study Worksheet

What are the timelines?

  • ASHA CE must receive the completed IS course submission and supporting documentation within 45 days of the IS completion date.
  • You do not need to submit any other reporting in the CE Provider Portal.

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