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Outreach SLP Program

PURPOSE

The primary objective of the Outreach graduate program is to meet the critical shortage of school-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in rural or underserved areas of Utah. The graduate program trains students who have a bachelor's degree in communicative disorders to become eligible for national certification and state licensure as professional SLPs, prepared for employment in all professional work settings. Outreach students are part of the department SLP graduate student cohort, but participate through classes in fall and spring semesters via broadcast technology.

ADMISSIONS 

Admission information for the Outreach program can be found at SLP - MS/MA Admissions

COURSEWORK

As described above, accepted Outreach students are considered part of the departmental SLP graduate program. During the first semester (Summer 1) Outreach students travel to Logan and attend classes on campus with the campus-based students.  In Fall and Spring semesters Outreach students participate in all classes at the time they are taught on campus with campus students synchronously, via broadcast distance education, at USU extension centers or broadcast sites near their schools (places of employment).  For example, if a class is held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. on campus, Outreach graduate students are excused from their work settings during that time and access the class via computers with webcams and microphones, usually at USU extension centers throughout the state.  In this way, Outreach and campus students see, talk, and interact with each other and with the instructors.  Participating in this manner requires approval and accommodation from supporting school districts.  All graduate students are typically able to graduate in six semesters.

CLINIC TRAINING

Outreach graduate students participate in clinical training each semester of graduate school. During the first semester (Summer 1) the clinic rotation is on campus. In subsequent semesters, students are supervised by school district SLPs who hold current certificate of clinical competence (CCC) by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and are state licensed. If an SLP-CCC is not available in the school or district, that district coordinates with Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education (COMDDE) to locate and pay for clinical supervision by a SLP-CCC for the duration of the graduate student’s program.

As students progress in graduate school, they also participate in clinical externships in hospitals, nursing homes, or other settings. Here they gain valuable clinic experience working with communication disorders across the lifespan – again supervised by certified and licensed SLPs.

Each Outreach graduate student also works closely with the full-time USU COMDDE Clinical Educator. This professional ASHA-Certified SLP oversees all clinical training experiences for Outreach students. She meets with all of them regularly, travels to observe them in their clinic training settings, and also uses a HIPPA compliant video conferencing system to keep in touch. She tracks all clinical experiences and assures that each Outreach student receives the variety and number of clinical clock hours required to become a highly qualified SLP and meet the ASHA certification standards. She works with the USU COMDDE Clinical Education Coordinator to ensure equal experiences whether Outreach or campus-based training.

DISTRICT SUPPORT

Prior to the first semester of graduate school Outreach graduate students must gain employment in Utah’s public or charter schools as a speech-language assistant/technician (SLA/SLT) or equivalent. Each newly accepted Outreach graduate student should immediately contact their Utah school district or charter school employer and obtain a letter of support signed by the district and provided to the program prior to the beginning of classes in the first semester of graduate training (Summer 1).

PAYBACK

Students participating in the Outreach program may receive funding for their education through COMDDE via a grant from the Utah State Office of Education. Recipients are responsible to work as Speech-Language Pathologists in Utah public schools for a designated amount of time after graduation. Additional information will be provided at the time of acceptance.