How can I judge the quality of support I will receive when choosing a site and supervisor?
This is where you should apply your clinical observation and data collection skills. The vast majority of sites offer supervision, but not all supervision gives you what you need. You are looking for a site where you see a long term investment in your clinical excellence, not one that simply satisfies the requirements.
Do I need CEUs during my Clinical Fellowship/Required Professional Experience year?
No. You will not be required to obtain CEUs until after you receive your license and certification. However, many clinical fellows choose to complete CEU activities, whether through self study or interactive coursework. One of the most critical tasks of this final year is to strengthen your skills in self-reflection and independent assessment. You and your supervisor should identify the areas where you need additional knowledge and begin to address these early in your fellowship, both through self-study and other means such as modeling and observation. The ability to independently identify weaknesses in your knowledge base and find ways to supplement your competence is one of the most important skills you’ll learn as a clinical fellow. The vast majority of the clinical fellows who work through Pacific Coast Speech Services complete CEU activities to build their skills.
My prior supervisors have indicated that I am an excellent clinician. As long as I have someone to check with if I have a question, supervision is not a major concern for me. I have had excellent internships and honestly feel that I won't need much help. What do you think?
You are off to a wonderful start! Some people are naturals, and have absorbed a great deal from their training. It is common for these clinicians to be assessed at the beginning of their clinical fellowship, found to have strong skills, and to be left alone to develop their skills with minor correction and instruction. This is not what you want, especially if you begin with excellence.
I am nervous about being a case carrier for the IEP process. I have heard that the most difficult part of being a clinical fellow is the organization and planning involved in the process. I have also heard that the parents and advocates can be scary in the meetings, and that the legal requirements must be met flawlessly. Is this true?
This portion of your responsibilities is, indeed, often the most difficult part about being a school-based speech pathologist. The majority of CFs begin their fellowship with observation and treatment experience, but minimal independent application of IEPs and caseload management. As a clinical fellow, it is critical that you receive tailor-made instruction on interpreting IEPs, meeting a wide variety of timelines, managing documentation, forging effective parent relationships, and collecting/providing specific feedback within evaluations and IEPs.
What is the difference between an RPE and a CF? How are the requirements for completion different?
An RPE (Registered Professional Experience) is the final supervised time before you receive your license to practice as a speech pathologist in California. Before you can begin, you must be approved by the Board of Medical Quality Assurance. This process currently takes between 6 – 8 weeks after your application is submitted. The earliest that this application may be submitted is the day after your coursework and clinical hours have been completed (the day after the semester ends). PCSS recommends that you fill out the application and collect all the required information prior to completing your program, so that you can submit it immediately upon your program completion. When submitting, you must also know the specific site where you will be working and have your supervisor’s signature. RPEs require a minimum of 9 months of supervision after approval, and can be extended if your supervisor believes you have not yet met the criteria to receive a license. Be sure to review more specific information from the Board of Medical Quality Assurance. If both the supervisor and the supervisee do not meet the requirements set out by the Board, the Required Professional Experience (RPE) may need to be repeated.
Do I need a teaching credential?
If you are planning to work in a school setting, you may also need a credential as some districts require them. Obtaining a credential is a separate process from the RPE and the CFY. Contact the Commission on Teacher Credentialingfor up to date information.