For Speech Language Pathologists a Clinical Fellowship Year is essential to your career. If you choose a contract position for your CFY, you can also fulfill requirements for your degree – all without losing precious time in your search for a job. Plus, when you work with an agency you have a full suite of benefits and a knowledgable support team that can guide you in your journey.
What is a CFY?
Similar to a physician's residency, when an SLP earns degree they must complete a Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY). After completing the CFY, an SLP receives their Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC). SLP are expected to complete annual continuing education requirements.
During the Clinical Fellowship Year, the candidate works as a practicing SLP. Duties may include identifying patients with language, voice or speaking disorders, designing and implementing treatment plans, as well as providing clinical SLP treatment. In addition to clinical skills, a CFY will learn communication skills, patience, and critical thinking. Speech Therapists who are in their CFY are guided and evaluated by a supervisor throughout the entire year.
A CFY must have a Bachelor’s degree before beginning the Fellowship Year. Most CFYs also earn a Master’s degree. Some states will supplement the Fellowship. According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association, these are the basic requirements for the CFY.
- Minimum 36 weeks of experience, for a minimum total of 1260 hours
- Mentoring by a practicioner with ASHA certification in speech-language pathology
- A score of "3" or better on the core skills in the final segment of the experience
- 80% of CFY time spent in direct clinical contact (evaluation, screening, treatment, reporting, and client consultation)
CFY Career Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a Speech Language Pathologist in 2016 was $74,680. Employment of speech-language pathologists is expected to increase 18% through 2026, well above the average for all occupations. With the aging of the baby-boom generation, SLPs will be needed to treat increased instances of strokes or dementia which can cause language impairment. In addition to increased needs from the aging U.S. population, increased awareness of conditions, such as stuttering and autism in younger patients should lead to a need for more speech-language pathologists specialising in pediatric care.
Role of SLP Mentors During the CFY
A CFY mentor is a certified SLP who guides and educates CFY Fellows throughout their fellowhip year. The mentoring SLP provides important performance feedback, sharing insights about the clinical fellow's administrative, "soft" (people), and clinical skills. The mentorship role is both rewarding and demanding. Mentors must commit to six hours of direct supervision and six indirect monitoring activities every four months. Activities may include reviewing treatment plans, monitoring the Clinical Fellow's participation in professional meetings, and following up on the Fellow's performance with colleagues or clients. A CFY assignment should include verification of a qualified mentor and monitoring of all parties' participation in the requirements of the CFY.