It’s that time of year – many graduate students are looking for their first full-time job as a clinical fellow. It’s definitely exciting, but a little nerve-racking at the same time. That was me just two years ago and I had lots of questions… but I wasn’t quite sure which ones to ask. So here are my top FIVE for your CF position (or really any SLP position)!
1. Can you tell me about my supervision?
As a clinical fellow you are only required to be directly observed by your supervisor 6 hours of each segment (a segment is one-third the total length of the fellowship). Your supervisor is not required to be on site and doesn’t even have to be the same person as your “boss”. They don’t even have to be someone that works for the same company as you. Therefore, it’s important to know your employer’s plan for your supervision (if they have one) and if your supervisor will be someone that’s readily available to you for questions and support. Click here for guidelines from ASHA.
- Who would my clinical fellowship supervisor be?
- Would they be on site?
- How much access would I have to them?
- Is my CF supervisor the same as my day-to-day supervisor?
- Will I receive any assistance with the paperwork I need to obtain my CCC’s?
2. What will my caseload look like?
It’s important to get an idea of how many kids/clients/patients you will be expected to see each week. There might be a requirement for the amount of time you spend with clients versus paperwork, often called an efficiency rate. You may have built-in paperwork time, you may not.
- Is there an expectation for my efficiency?
- Are there incentives or consequences based on my efficiency?
- What is the anticipated or average caseload size?
- What does a typical day look like?
- What is the typical breakdown of disorder type seen?
- How many evaluations will I be scheduled each week?
- What does my paperwork time look like?
- How often and when are meetings typically scheduled?
- Will I be at one location or multiple locations? How is travel time compensated?
3. How about resources and continuing education?
It’s important to know what resources you will have access to. Whether that’s therapy materials, equipment, standardized tests, etc. Some employers also offer free on-site continuing education. Some employers will pay for you to attend continuing education conferences or pay for online continuing education credits up to a certain amount each year.
- What materials and equipment will I have access to?
- Are there funds available to me for new materials or supplies?
- Do you bring in on-site continuing education opportunities?
- Is any monetary assistance offered for continuing education credits?
- What does time off look like for attending continuing education classes?
- Will my certification fees or licensure be paid for?
4. What type of person are you looking for?
At the end of interviews, employers often ask if you have any questions for them. One question I usually ask is about what kind of qualities they are looking for in an employee. This helps me know if I am a good fit. I know when you are looking for your first job, your instinct might be to take the first one you are offered. It feels good to be wanted, and it feels good to relieve that pressure of landing a CF position. However, make sure it’s a the right position for you. Although it is possible to change employers during your CF, it is usually not ideal, so it’s okay to be a little picky the first time around.
5. Compensation, Benefits, Paid Time Off?
Don’t forget all those questions typically asked when obtaining a new job. Before you accept an offer, you should be sure to have information about compensation, health benefits, as well as how your time off is structured. These questions aren’t typically for an interview, but are asked after the job has been offered to you.
- What health benefits do you offer?
- Is my time off accrued or a set number of days? If accrued, how quickly?
- Do I have separate vacation days, sick days, holidays, or personal days?
- Is my compensation based at all on my efficiency?
- Do you offer paid maternity leave?
Good luck! You got this!
To all the experienced speechies… there are probably several great questions that I missed! Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments!