Essential Skills and Functions

Graduates of the master’s degree program in speech-language pathology are expected to have acquired the knowledge and skills delineated by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) that are necessary for the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC).  These standards include skills related directly to clinical service provision and an array of personal and interpersonal skills expected of professionals engaged in clinical practice. The faculty in the department has the ultimate responsibility for evaluating student progress both in the classroom and clinical settings and recommending graduates for ASHA certification and/or state licensure.  To that end, the faculty has adopted the following list of essential skills and functions for students. These are mandatory for completion of the training program.

Applicants who believe they may not possess all of the essential skills and functions set forth are encouraged to contact the chair of the department.  The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders seeks to ensure qualified persons with disabilities are not denied admission or subjected to discrimination in matriculation.  The department is committed to enabling students by any reasonable means or accommodation to complete their course of study. 


  • Maintains contextually appropriate hygiene and dress
  • Is punctual and maintains regular attendance in the classroom and clinical environments
  • Completes assignments and documentation within designated time frames
  • Holds the welfare of the patient of paramount importance
  • Conducts oneself in an ethical and legal manner, considering both professional codes of ethics and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
  • Understands the impact of his/her own communication skills and style in the classroom, on the therapy process, and potential occupational status
  • Follows all university, department, and clinical facility policies and procedures


  • Willingness and ability to work with other students, faculty, patients, and other professionals


  • Demonstrates moral excellence and trustworthiness
  • Submits assignments that reflect personal work
  • Acknowledges authorities quoted, cited, or consulted in the preparation of written work
  • Demonstrates responsible use of alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and technology in class, clinical sites, and personal life
  • Reports violations of ethics and other policies to the appropriate offices and/or authorities


  • Demonstrates respect for self and others with consideration and compassion, including students, instructors, supervisors, clinical team members, and patients and their families
  • Participates as a team member in both academic and clinical contexts

Intellectual Ability, Communication Skills, and the Desire for Learning

  • Demonstrates the capacity to learn and assimilate professional information
  • Understands detailed written and verbal information
  • Communicates in a professional manner in all modalities (spoken, written, nonverbal)
  • Solves problems through critical analysis
  • Maintains attention for sufficient length in the classroom and clinical settings
  • Demonstrates a reverence for knowledge, experience
  • Is prepared for academic and clinical responsibilities
  • Demonstrates a desire to learn and participate in academic and related experiences

Social/Emotional Maturity

  • Controls emotions by exhibiting appropriate social behavior in the classroom and clinic and during other departmental activities and interactions with others
  • Understands and respects instructor and supervisory authority
  • Receives constructive criticism and responds by appropriate modification of behavior
  • Demonstrates affective skills and appropriate demeanor and rapport with others


  • Accepts the need to be flexible within the environment and adapts to change
  • Self-monitors behavior
  • Modifies communication and therapeutic styles to meet diverse communicative needs

Physical ability

  • Utilizes necessary equipment and materials in the assessment and treatment of the patient independently
  • Demonstrates the physical ability and stamina to complete professional responsibilities for a specifically defined and contextually relevant work period
  • Moves independently within the work environment
  • Provides a safe environment for patients

Sensory/observational skills

  • Identifies through both visual and auditory means (when contextually appropriate) typical and disordered communication and related areas to the scope of practice
    • Fluency
    • Articulation
    • Voice
    • Resonance
    • Respiration
    • Oral and written language
    • Hearing
    • Swallowing
    • Cognition
    • Social interactions/Pragmatics

Approved by CSD faculty, February 2013