External Clinical Placements

A student’s first clinical assignment is always in our own outpatient clinic, the Sheila Johnson Center (SJC). Clinical assignments in SJC continue for at least two semesters. Blue Track students begin seeing clients during their first fall semester. Orange Track students begin seeing clients during their first spring semester and continue to see clients in our clinic throughout their first summer and second fall before beginning off-site externship rotations.

In our clinic, you are no longer titled as a student. Instead, you are an Associate Clinician. Our clinical learning experiences are all about your growth as a professional, a clinician, and as an independent decision maker. We approach clinical instruction as two adults (Associate Clinician and Clinical Supervisor) sharing the responsibility of providing evidence-based services for our clients. Our expectations are high and achievable.

Following in-house training, Associate Clinicians complete two clinical "externships". We work with students to establish contracts with agencies in areas where the student will be living during off-site external placements. Each externship is a semester-long assignment.

One externship is completed in a public-school system; the other externship is completed via computer-based simulation clinical training that focuses on clinical services with adult clients, as well as low-incidence disorders with pediatric and adult clients. This ensures that every UVA graduate student will meet the national certification requirements of training across the lifespan and the full scope of practice in speech language pathology. Every student must complete one rotation in a public school and the simulation training rotation. Students may also choose to do an in-person clinical training experience in a health care setting by taking elective independent study credits in addition to their required EDHS 8170 course during the summer.

The final semester is a full-time 16-week clinical "internship" somewhere in the United States. Internships consist of school systems and medically based settings throughout the nation. Because only a few options exist for internships in the Charlottesville area, students are encouraged to think broadly about locations in which they would like to seek an internship. We work with students to establish contracts with agencies in the geographic areas in which students would like to live during their internship.

Every intern completes a structured assessment of their internship site (e.g., How many patients did you see? What types of clinical populations did you work with? What was the cultural diversity of the clientele? How helpful was your supervisor? What were living conditions like? Do you recommend the site to other students?). In this way, current students help to provide important information and insights for future students.

We ask students to engage in discussions with our external placement coordinator(s) throughout their programs of study to help establish external placements that appeal to them. Sometimes a student is interested in a placement site based on the site assessment information provided by a previous student. Sometimes students select a completely new site where we haven't previously placed a student. Their choice might be driven by closeness to home, or perhaps the city or state they intend to live in, or perhaps a certain type of facility because that's the type of facility in which they would like to begin their career.

Affiliating Practicum Sites

We maintain contracts with schools and medical sites in the central Virginia region. We also maintain contracts with many other facilities across Virginia, as well as in other states, to meet the needs and preferences of our students. If we do not have an established contract in a geographic location in which a student would like a placement, we work with that student to help establish a placement possibility.