The Right Questions to Ask in a School SLP Interview: 5 Tips From Someone Who’s Been There
It was close to this time last year that I was feeling the frantic butterflies and uncertainties of my SLP future. I had completed the requirements to graduate and yet, I was torn between leaving graduate school and starting out in the real world. If you know me personally, you heard me grumble about graduate school one or twice (or a lot, whatever). Graduate school was tough, but I made some of my best friendships there. They get me, were alike, we shared tears, laughter and many trials and errors together.
So when it came time to leave our little graduate school nest, as excited I was, I was faced with a lot of change. I kicked off the Spring semester with Joel deploying. Change number one. Change number two, my friends were farther than a desk away. Change number three, I had to make real-world decisions that not only affected me, but also GI Joel. Which leads me to, interview advice. Now, I’m pretty much an expert by now after having a whole year of experience in the SLP tool belt. (Did you catch the sarcasm there?) But, there were a few questions or pieces of information I wish I would’ve know or asked.
SCHOOL SLP INTERVIEW TIPS:
1. Numbers matter.
Ask for salary, bonuses, and if certification is paid for. See if the district will compensate you for Medicaid billing if they participate in doing so.
Look and see what insurance is going to cost and what the plan covers you for, even down to copays. Insurance may be free, but it may not be the best plan.
The one thing I didn’t ask was how many after school activities I would be required to attend. What monthly or weekly meetings are required? Do I have to be on any committees? Do I have to stay late for theme nights or community screenings? In most cases in the schools you are paid salary, so you don’t get paid extra if you have to stay late. Deal-Breakers? Maybe or maybe not.
What is the caseload and what is the average evaluation number you will do a year. I evaluated all year long because I serviced early childhood and K/1. Consider evaluations, etc. when choosing an age group.
2. Daily Logistics.
Will the district provide you with a substitute? How do you make up hours you’ve lost during the week for testing or meetings?
Who sets up meetings for evaluations and IEPs? Do you get to choose how to schedule for therapy?
Do you see children outside of the school building? If your district has itinerant students and you don’t want to travel, this is something you should ask about upfront.
If you do travel, does the school provide you with a car or cover the cost of your mileage?
What school duties are you required to do?
3. What’s the Spread?
What materials are already available to you?
What is your material budget?
Who pays for tests if you need one and what tests does the district already use?
This is probably a given, but if you’re a CF, make sure your supervisor is current with ASHA certification. I would ask to meet them the day of the interview if possible.
Figure out where your supervisor is centrally located. If they aren’t in your building, figure out the best way to reach or see them.
For ASHA and state requirements, figure out your system for keeping tracking of hours early on.
Your CF supervisor may not be your only supervisor. Check and see if the school has a mentor program for new teachers and if your principal has specific requirements or expectations for you.
5. It’s about you in the end.
Figure out the equation that bests fits for you and whats going on in your life. For me, the commute and supervision led me to choose the district I worked in. I worked in both school and medical this year. My CF experience was great and I am thankful for all the help I received. I was lucky! The above questions would’ve been helpful for me as a new graduate though. Stay tuned for the medical interview edition.