Purpose

The purpose of this survey was to determine the self-perceived competence levels in voice disorders of practicing school-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and identify correlated variables.

Method

Participants were 153 master's level, school-based SLPs with a Nebraska teaching certificate and/or licensure who completed a survey, including demographic information and a 25-item voice disorders competency checklist.

Results

Findings indicated school-based SLPs did not feel particularly competent in their ability to assess and treat students with voice disorders. Only 1 response mean was higher than a “moderately competent” level. All other item means were at or below this level. Four correlations indicated positive associations with SLPs' overall self-perceived competence levels: number of continuing education activities related to voice disorders, number of clients with voice disorders in the last 3 months, percentage of time spent with clients who have voice disorders, and feelings of preparation in the area of voice disorders immediately after academic program completion. Informal comparisons to medically based SLP respondents (n = 22) were included.

Conclusion

School-based SLPs' competence perceptions with voice disorders are consistent with the minimal levels of competence reported for other underserved or low-incidence populations. Pursuing continuing education in voice disorders is recommended at the same time as access to the population becomes available.

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Additional Resources