The Vocal Point

The Dream Job- Choosing a Clinical Fellowship (CF)

The Clinical Fellowship Year, also known as a CFY in the Speech Pathology world, is probably just as anticipated as graduation. Before Speech Pathologists obtain their Certificate of Clinical Competency(CCC) from the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), SLPs must complete their Clinical Fellowship Year. During a CFY, SLPs work under a supervising SLP and complete a certain number of independent and supervised therapy hours. Choosing a CF can be hard and sometimes discouraging, especially if your heart is set on a certain population or setting.

Why am I writing about this? Well, because I want to share my experience with you and to tell you that settling shouldn’t be an option. I hear that story too often- new grads settling for jobs and just letting go of their dreams. I attended Graduate School at LIU Brooklyn. For my last clinical internship, I had the opportunity to shadow Medical SLPs at a hospital. What an experience! I immediately fell in love with the idea of becoming a Medical Speech Language Pathologist. I enjoyed seeing critically-ill patients, watching instrumental studies and the instant gratification of making a positive impact in someone’s life.

After graduation, finding a medical CFY was almost impossible! Hospitals wanted years of experience or were not willing to take on a clinical fellow. The more jobs that turned me down, the more I wanted to turn the page and just take the “convenient” job. During my job searches, other states started popping up. Texas was one of them and I decided to dive in. There were so many opportunities in Texas- different settings and great pay for CFs. I decided to apply and received a call from one of the many jobs I had applied to! The company was interested in meeting me and even flew me out to Texas for the interview. This seemed like the perfect start to my career but I was doubting myself. Was I ready to leave my friends and family? Was I ready to give up everything I knew? I lived in the Bronx my entire life. Dear reader, I did! I took a leap of faith and have never regretted it. I decided to move to Texas and kick start my Medical SLP career. I completed my Clinical Fellowship Year at a Skilled Nursing Facility in a small town in Texas until I obtained my Certificate of Clinical Competency. Once I was awarded my C’s from ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association), I moved to Houston and started to work at a Post Acute Rehab Hospital as well as a Long Term Acute Care Hospital. During my Medical SLP career, I took a lot of continuing education courses to ensure I was equipped to evaluate and treat my patients. Along the way, I made many friends, learned so much about the Texan culture and made a small difference in some of the lives of my patients.

Take the risk! As clich√© as it may sounds, follow your dreams wherever they may take you-literally. If you take the chance, you’ll never know where you might end up.

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