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New Professionals Guide to Continuing Education

New Professionals Guide to Continuing Education

A continuing education unit (CEU) is a unit of credit that equals 10 hours of participation in an accredited education or training program. CEUs are designed for professionals who have obtained certification or licensure to stay up to date with current practices in their field, typically on an annual or biennial basis. As a recent graduate, the topic of CEUs is new and unfamiliar yet extremely important, as it is now required as a newly practicing professional. Below you will find the answers to some of the questions many new graduates have about CEUs.

How many credit hours are needed each year to continue practicing?
The number of required CEU credits varies between states and organizations. For example, there is no CEU requirement to maintain American Academy of Audiology membership; however, there are CEU requirements for state licensure and American Speech and Hearing Association certification. Specific CEU requirements can be found on the states’ government speech and hearing website or on the websites of various professional organizations.

What are some opportunities to obtain CEUs?
CEUs can often be obtained at national organization conferences such as AAA or ASHA. Additionally, CEUs may be offered at state conferences or at the local level including university courses, seminars, or lectures. If traveling to state or national conferences isn’t feasible, there are other ways to acquire CEUs. For instance CEUs may be earned online through organizations, including, but not limited to:

  • eAudiology web seminars (live or on-demand) to members for $109/year and $399/year for nonmembers.
  • The JAAA CEU Program provides learning assessments available in the 2018 issues of JAAA for $95/year.
  • The Academy’s Ethics in Audiology “Green Book” program offers in-depth information on common ethical issues faced by audiologists in a variety of different settings such as practice management, teaching, and research for $15/CEU for members and $25/CEU for nonmembers.
  • Peer-to-Peer Mentoring through the Academy. Participants pay a one-time application fee of $75 and can earn up to 0.6 CEUs per year.
  • AudiologyOnline which offers unlimited CEUs for $99/year.
  • Available CEU courses can be found on the ASHA CEFind website where you can search thousands of courses that are offered by a wide variety of approved CEU organizations.
  • Seminars in Hearing (journal) by Thieme Publishing offers self-assessments that can be taken for CEUs.

How can one track earned CEUs?
Proof of credits earned is often necessary in order to renew licensure or certification. CEUs can be tracked in different ways. One option would be to create a simple spreadsheet that includes pertinent CEU information (name of course, date completed, type of credit, number of credit, etc.) and an attachment of the certificate of completion. Various electronic CEU tracking applications are available such as CE Broker. CE Broker has partnered with several state speech and hearing boards, offering a free basic account and simplifying the licensure renewal process. Additionally, some organizations offer a CEU tracking and recording service. For instance, the Academy’s CE Registry is an efficient way to track and organize your completed CEUs from Academy approved providers. Additionally, at the end of each year, an official transcript of your coursework is available to download. The Academy CE Registry is free for members and $60/year for nonmembers.

Mentorship

Mentorship

Do you have a mentor? Are you a mentor? Do you even know what a mentor really is? 

Every successful person in the world has had someone show them the ropes along their way to success at some point. In fact, a survey from the Association of Talent Development (ATD) found that 75% of private-sector executives credit their mentors for where they are now in their careers. The survey also showed that 71% of Fortune 500 companies use mentoring programs to help train new employees and develop new leaders. So it must be important, right?

As new professionals, we have much to learn. So why is it then that most of us don’t actively pursue a mentor to help advance our professional careers?

The benefits are clear for both the mentor and protégé - the most obvious being personal and professional growth. However, there are other advantages including the development of leadership skills, getting access to a larger professional network through the mentor, and being exposed to new perspectives.

It is up to you and the other person as to how formal or informal you want the mentor relationship to be but being clear and deliberate about your goals for the relationship and what you want to achieve is imperative for a successful mentorship.

When looking for a mentor, you’ll want to find someone who not only knows what you want to know but is also willing to take time to guide you. Hopefully you also chose someone who you get along with since you will be spending some time together.    

On the other side, as new professionals, we also have much to contribute. Just because we’re ‘new’ or young doesn’t preclude us from being able to act as a mentor to others. If you consider that we’re all on a spectrum of knowledge and that on one side of us are people with more knowledge and on the other side are people with less, we will always be in a position to learn from those ahead of us while contributing to the growth of those behind us.  This is how we as a profession can become stronger.

So how do you get started? Perhaps you already have someone in mind and just haven’t taken that first step to ask. Maybe you don’t think you know anyone who would be willing to be a mentor. Luckily, audiology has many willing mentors out there ready to pass their knowledge along.  If you need more help, there are hundreds of books on the subject to help you find your path. The key is to just get started.

If you’re interested in being a part of a mentor program, the Academy recently launched a Peer-to-Peer Mentoring CEU Program. Contact Katy Sidwell for more information.

Find a mentor, be a mentor, and find success.

TeleHealth and Licensure

TeleHealth and Licensure

Do you know if your state license regulates the services you may provide via telehealth or tele-audiology?  Do you know what telehealth is?  Telehealth is the concept of providing healthcare services remotely via technology such as high-speed internet, webcam, and smart phone.  This technology is evolving rapidly and becoming a part of daily audiology practice today.  The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) utilizes clinical video telehealth to provide real-time video appointments between audiologists and veteran patients at remote clinical sites.  Beyond the VHA telehealth program there are now various hearing aid manufacturers providing remote programming options for their devices.  This will allow the audiologist to make programming adjustments through an app on the patient’s phone.  What this means is that tele-audiology is closer to becoming a daily part of your practice than you may realize.  Does your license support it?

In September of 2017 the State of Illinois passed a new version of the Speech Pathology and Audiology Practice Act which became effective January 1, 2018.  These changes are thanks in part to the advocacy efforts of the Illinois Academy of Audiology.  Among many improvements to the licenses of Illinois audiologists this act included provisions allowing an audiologist to provide services through telehealth modalities.  The practice act specifies that the practice of audiology may be conducted with video conferencing.  It further explains that the use of telephone, email, messaging, and store and forward technology should be used in conjunction with or supplementing the use of video conferencing.  Additionally, this act regulates that an audiologist outside of Illinois but providing services to a patient in Illinois is subject to the rules and regulations of this act.

On the federal level the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act (H.R. 2550) has been introduced and identifies audiologists as eligible providers of telehealth services for Medicare patients.  As it currently stands an audiologist is not reimbursed by Medicare for telehealth related services.  Within the VHA a new rule has been proposed which will allow providers employed by the VHA to provide telehealth services (including tele-audiology) anywhere in the country regardless of the location of provider and patient.  There is also companion legislation to this rule (S.925) which has passed the Senate and is now in consideration with the House which allows VHA providers to practice across state lines, via telehealth, without restriction by individual states.

As advancements in telehealth continue and telehealth becomes more widely adopted by health care providers, it is important that audiologists understand licensure requirements and our scope of practice in the state or states in which we practice.  If you are unsure about your license consult your practice act and read it thoroughly.  Contact your state audiology licensure board or look for resources from within your state association if you have questions or concerns about your specific situation.

Perkins Loan Forgiveness

Perkins Loan Forgiveness

Did you receive Federal Perkins loans during your undergraduate or graduate education? As an allied health professional, you may be eligible to have all or a portion of your Federal Perkins loans canceled! An application, including proof of licensure and full time employment, must be submitted to the holder(s) of your Perkins loans. If approved, loan payments will be postponed for 12 consecutive months of eligible full time employment. Upon subsequent documentation of eligible employment, a portion of the loan is canceled. This postponement/cancellation cycle is repeated for a minimum of 5 years, during which time up to 100% of Perkins Loans may be canceled.

Contact the holder of your Perkins loans (either your university or their designated 3rd party servicer) to submit a request for postponement/cancellation. Keep in mind that if you attended multiple universities, you will need to submit multiple applications to whichever institutions hold your loans. Reach out to your university or visit the student aid website to learn more.