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Letters of Recommendation

QUESTION: The application now states that the Board will contact the references directly with forms and instructions on letters of recommendation. My mentee asked if she should print out Appendix D to give to one of the references to attest to her clinical hours and include that with her application packet or if this is the form that will be sent to the references directly. Also, the website has links for pdf forms of both the recommendation form and verification form. Are these now being sent electronically to the references?

ANSWER: The information sent to those writing letters of recommendation will come from the Board. A mentee may ask the chosen reference to be sure to attest to clinical hours in their particular letter of recommendation. There is no need for this individual to calculate dysphagia related clinical hours for the mentee.

Continuing Education

QUESTION: I have a person who is interested in getting her BCS-S who has a focus on pediatric swallowing. She has attended several courses that did not allow her to receive ASHA CEUs but did address pediatric swallowing. Many were CEUs for OTA but not ASHA. Is that going to be a problem for her? I told her that she would only be able to count hours that were directly related to swallowing/feeding but I would check with you about the fact they were not ASHA CEUs.

ANSWER: Proof of attendance and completion of 7.5 continuing education units (75 hours) in swallowing and swallowing disorders in the past three years (see attached Application form). 4.0-5.0 CEUs must be from ASHA sponsored events.

QUESTION: I have an applicant who will be a guest lecturer providing 1/2 of the lectures for a college level dysphagia course over one semester. She will be allowed to sit in on the other 1/2, who is wondering if she can claim credit for this. I assume she would be claiming up to 3.5 CEU's for her own prepared lectures.Can she claim credit for the portion she sits in on that she is not presenting? Would this have to be claimed through ASHA CEU's? Or should she seek credit through the school?

ANSWER: Here’s what the web site says:

College Courses. If an applicant has completed a college level course in dysphagia, accrued credits can be applied to continuing education requirements. Graduate university coursework must be accompanied by a syllabus or transcript. One college credit is equivalent to 1 CEU (as it relates to application for BCS-S). The applicant must submit a transcript or other document verifying completion of those credits.

Instructor or Invited Lecturer. If an applicant teaches a dysphagia course at an approved university/college or provides dysphagia-related lectures at a conference which provides ASHA CEUs, a maximum of 3.5 CEUs may be applied to the 7.5 CEU requirement for BCS-S. One college credit is equivalent to 1 CEU. Each course may only be applied only one time within an application (even though the same course/conference may be taught several times during an academic year or in consecutive years). The applicant must submit appropriate evidence and documentation of the lectures that were related to dysphagia.

Here’s what Chair of the Board said:

She should be able to utilize all credits from the course towards BCS-S. I don’t know how many credits the course is. Let’s say the course is 3 credits. That would equal 3 CEUs. She’d apply for 1.5 CEUs from attending the lecture, and 1.5 CEUs for teaching the lecture. She can’t get total credit for the course for teaching it and then apply more for sitting in on it. The total can’t be more than the total # of credits for the course.

QUESTION: My mentee wants to take some of the on-line courses Passy-Muir, Inc. offers and wants to know if all of the courses would count.

ANSWER: A review of the courses offered reveals that there are many courses on the web site. Three in particular are related to swallowing in the adult population and one in the pediatric population. These courses would seem appropriate to use on the BCS application. Other courses about Passy-Muir and communication would not apply. You may wish to describe these as courses as ‘other related’ on the application.


QUESTION: My mentee was asking how much of the LSVT course counts toward continuing education for BCS-S requirements?

ANSWER: The Application Committee has determined that partial credit may be given. Calculate how many hours or portions of an hour were on swallowing. If it was a 6 hour course and 30 minutes were on dysphagia it would be .05 CEU’s as 1 hour =60 min. or .10.

You may wish to describe this course as ‘other related’ on the application.

Attach the course agenda to the application to show what part the applicant feels is dysphagia related

QUESTION:  What about other courses like laryngectomy, In-Health, Atos, etc.?  

ANSWER:  Any CEU activity the candidate would like to use to meet the continuing education requirement needs to related directly to swallowing and swallowing disorders.  Applicants should submit a copy of the course/conference syllabus along with their application and indicate ONLY the appropriate number of CEUs that directly pertain to swallowing.                    

QUESTION: Do the 75 hours of continuing education need to be spaced evenly over the last three years before the applicant applies?

ANSWER: No, there is no requirement to evenly space the continuing education.    

Is the requirement for CEUs: 75 per year for each of the 3 years for a total of 225 hours of advanced CEU in dysphagia or is it a total of 75 over the period of three years?

ANSWER:  Continuing education courses should be attended in the areas of swallowing and swallowing disorders within the three years immediately preceding the application. Applicants are required to document a minimum of 7.5 CEUs (75 hours) (4-5 CEUs must be from ASHA-sponsored events). Proof of attendance for each conference &/or ASHA CEU transcript should be attached to the application packet. (10 contact hours=1 CEU).

QUESTION: Does the CEU requirement include taking pediatric courses or can an applicant study on her own?

ANSWER:  An applicant may study on his/her own. There is no requirement for taking a pediatric course.  

QUESTION: If I request an ASHA transcript, how do I reflect the courses I took at state and national conventions since the ASHA transcript bundles the courses together and reflects a total number of hours but does not list specific titles to indicate if the courses were dysphagia related?

ANSWER:  The website information shares that: "Proof of attendance and completion of 7.5 continuing education units (75 hours) in swallowing and swallowing disorders in the past three years”. Therefore, it would be important to list out the swallowing and swallowing disorders courses on the application for them to be included in documentation of acquired continuing education credits.

My mentee wanted to know if clinical orientation and clinical education of nursing staff each month on dysphagia counts toward CEUs.

ANSWER: The Application Committee has determined that monthly clinical education of nursing staff on dysphagia and clinical orientation may be incorporated as an education activity but not continuing education.

My mentee observed an SLP for pediatric dysphagia for 25 hours and is able to obtain a letter time spent from the treating therapist. Would this be counted toward CEUs?

ANSWER: The Application Committee has determined that observation hours do not count for CEUs.

My mentee writes a blog on dysphagia. Can that count toward CEUs?

ANSWER: The Application Committee has determined that blogging is not a CEU activity.



QUESTION: Does the mentee need to pull billing slips and time sheets to document the # of hours she has worked with patients with dysphagia.

ANSWER: The information listed on the application states: Applicants must document nature and source of clinical hours required. For Clinical Track - 350 hours per year for 3 years prior to application. For the Academic/Administrative Track – 100 hours per year for 3 years prior to application (additionally clinical research in normal or disordered swallowing with direct contact with human subjects can be documented). In addition, the applicant in this pathway must have 450 hours total in the 4 years before applying. ocumentation includes any type of billed dysphagia services, including evaluation, treatment and counseling. 

This does not mean the applicant has to attach copies of bills or reports. It means that all of those types of activities count towards the required number of hours. The applicant should list (as in the example provided) the facilities at which the hours were accrued and in what types of activities. The letters of recommendation also attest to the number of hours.

QUESTION: Do the referents have to attest to 1050 hours (350 hours for 3 consecutive years) in their letter of recommendation? I have worked at this facility less than two years and will not be able to attain a current reference that validates this. Additionally, prior to this, I worked abroad at two different medical facilities and may have the same level of difficulty receiving validation. I have asked them to attest to my skill in managing dysphagia but at least one is very apprehensive about attesting time which she has not aware of.

ANSWER: The referent should be able to attest to the facilities at which the hours were accrued and in what types of activities. The letters of recommendation also attest to the number of hours. A minimum of three (3) current reference letters on professional letterhead that attest to the applicant’s advanced competency and verifies that applicant has provided a minimum of 350 hours per year (for Clinical Track) or 100 hours per year (for Academic/Administrative Track) of evaluation and/or treatment of swallowing disorders completed within a year for each of 3 years prior to applying for membership. In addition, the applicant in this pathway must have 450 hours total in the 4 years prior to applying. The referent should only attest to those hours and skills that are associated with their interaction with the applicantANSWER: The applicant will need 3 letters to attest to their skills and if these persons cannot attest to the number of hours, another letter(s) is quite acceptable. The minimum are 3 letters, many send in 5.  (We now have a form to attest to clinical hours).


QUESTION: One of my mentees submitted her application at the first of the year. She was subsequently contacted via email saying she was missing a Biographical sketch/CV. So my question is:
Is there a need for an additional documentation/separate paperwork re: an applicant’s biographical sketch? If one does not have a CV then should they create one or is a resume sufficient? I thought the information contained on page in the application itself was adequate? I am referencing Item 5 on the first page of the application (so on the checklist) vs. info the applicant provides on page 4 or 7 of the application.

ANSWER: The Applications Committee says: That a separate resume or a CV which ever they have in addition to the short bio statement is needed for the application process.

What percentage of applications is accepted? What percentage of applicants passes the test?

ANSWER: We must keep in mind that this is a self-selective process of individuals of a high skill level. As of 2012, we have 304 in the mentor program. 42 applications have been received from those in the program. 32 applications were accepted, 7 were rejected, and 3are in the process of being reviewed. Of the 32 applications that were accepted 26 passed the exam and 6 are waiting to take the exam.


QUESTION: How many experiences should the mentee strive for in each of the 3 categories? I know they don't have to have things in each category, but they should have more than one example in at least one (of course the more the better). Is there a minimum? For example, you can't just have 1 example in 1 category.

ANSWER: The application instructions reflect: Briefly list evidence of advanced skills in swallowing and swallowing disorders as demonstrated by documentation of professional activities over the last 3 years in at least one category listed below. Advanced skills support the application of the highest level of ethical standards in one’s practice. See Appendix A for examples in each category and Clinical and Academic/Administrative Track Guidelines on website for specific requirements for each track. When reviewing Appendix A for examples, one can see that multiple listings better reflect a level of professional experience.

I am not sure but I mentioned to my mentee that the idea is to do things (education, etc) beyond your own site and facility. If you teach something, you should look for opportunities outside your work setting. Is this correct?

ANSWER: Recognizing that in times of tight budgetary constraints for many employers, some clinicians may not have the opportunity to pursue tasks outside of their primary site or may not have opportunity to rise in management; it is acceptable to have tasks be site specific. However, for optimal professional development the mentee may explore other options as suggested on the clinical/administrative tracks as examples of creative ways to expand upon their skill level in a variety of venues in the community, state and national levels.

Could you help clarify the clinical hours and how they can be counted when an applicant is going university tract for BCS-S application?

ANSWER: The BCS-S manual says: Academic/Administrative Pathways: a minimum of 100 clock hours per year of evaluation, treatment and/or supervision of SLPs working with clients with swallowing disorders. In addition, the applicant in this pathyway must have 450 hours total in the 4 years before applying.  These hours must all be direct patient/research subject contact hours. Applicants shall hold an academic position in a degree-granting institution with a combination of teaching, and research, and academic advising with a focus on swallowing and swallowing disorders or an official supervisory position overseeing a program that provides direct clinical dysphagia services.

**For academic positions, evidence of student advising, teaching, and research must be included in the narrative section of this application. Evidence of teaching should include a syllabus of the dysphagia course taught.

**For administrative positions, applicant’s job responsibilities must include supervision of clinical staff, program development, and leadership in the institution directly relative to swallowing and swallowing disorders. Evidence of these areas of leadership must be included in the narrative section of this application. Examples could include: policy or protocol development regarding swallowing program, development of training and education materials for staff regarding swallowing and swallowing disorders, development and implementation of quality improvement programs related to swallowing disorders and oversight of staff involved in these activities.