Stepping Out

Stepping out

Ten thousand hours.  That oft-cited statistic, brought to public consciousness by Malcom Glidewell , suggests that 10,000 hours of practice (purposeful, not mindless, practice) will give you expertise in your chosen subject.

For those of us working in pediatrics with varied caseloads, I’d suggest that hours spent in the clinic/school as well as hours spent at home with our own little ones serves this purpose.

In a field dominated by women (95% according to ASHA), it stands to reason a percentage will choose to step out of the workplace for a period of time to attend to little ones.  This was the course I chose (and I’m so very thankful to my husband who was willing and able to be the sold breadwinner for a period of time), but it was daunting to go back to work and fraught with nerves.

What I found is that because I received my certification prior to having children, I used a lot of that knowledge at home.  Even my observation skills were honed watching playdates, birthday parties and little ones at the park.  I began to integrate the range of typical and what it looks like in real life and over time.

And certainly you don’t need to stay at home for this “clinical experience” since I’ve yet to see a child that allows clocking in and out in reasonable workday intervals.  All of which means an SLP parent can easily achieve mastery, at least in child development in slightly less than 2 ½ years (if you account for  12 hrs./day and give yourself a week off each year—yea, me neither).  But this probably isn’t a new thought to many of you.  It was a time and opportunity I wouldn’t change for anything.

I recently renewed my ASHA dues online (the deadline is looming for you other stragglers!) and it brought to mind an issue that rankled me when I did step out.  ASHA doesn’t have a provision for you to go on hold for any period of time (except in the case of approved medical issues or military deployment).  Once you start paying CCC dues, you continue to do so if you don’t want to reapply (and go through that process again?  No thank you.)  In addition to the dues, you need to continue with continuing education compliance.  It’s expensive always, despite the fact that there have been minimal increases in the past 10 years or so, but a real budget concern when you’ve stepped out.

Perhaps I’m more aware of it because my sister is a PT.  Physical therapists are state licensed rather than nationally certified and requirements vary from state to state.  In her location, she has the option to put her license on “hold” for a two year period which means she can’t practice, but she doesn’t lose her licensure.  Her CEU requirements are higher (40 hrs./2 years), but these aren’t required during the “hold” period.  She can “hold” for two consecutive periods and she decides when and why.  I won’t even get into the fact that her license fee is way less than half of what I pay per year between NC and ASHA.

I’m really posing a question here, have you stepped out for a period of time and did you consider letting your certification lapse?  In a predominately female field, do you have any feelings about what I perceive as a lack of support for women’s issues?  Discuss please!



This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Amy

    I did! I took 10 full years off (and an additional two where I worked VERY part time) to have and homeschool my five children. Just this Monday I re-passed my Praxis test, which I was required to do because I had taken more than 5 years off. ASHA is only requiring me to prove 30 hours of CEUs, not the hundreds I would need for all the years I have been away. Once I get all the paperwork in I should be re “CCCed” and have my state license back within a month or two from now. I’m doing the CCCs first because it’s much less hassle in my state to have CCCs when you request your license. I’ll be opening a private practice because I’m still home and still homeschooling my children. I think it will be the best of both worlds.

    With five kids, some neurotypical, some with mild special needs (dyslexic, ADD, mild Aspergers, etc) I have gotten a lot of experience in both typical and atypical development even though I was technically away for so long. Yes, I won’t have as much experience as someone who stayed in the field for those 10 years, but it’s definitely more than someone with only a year or two of experience and no kids of their own. I can *definitely* relate much better to parents now, and how difficult it can be to have a child with special needs – to get that diagnosis, to know something is wrong but not know what and not have doctors take you seriously, to juggle appointments and home-therapy work and life.

    1. admin

      Amy, Whoo-hoo! Way to go and way to stick it out! What a great example to all of your (lucky) children. Motherhood and all of it’s joys and tribulations has been a tremendous learning experience for me and improved my ability to understand the other side of the table because the reality most of us will sit on both sides at one time or another. “Special needs” come in a much wider range than I would have ever imagined possible at 25 years old and each and every one requires additional consideration. Thanks so very much for adding your thoughts. Kim

  2. Cindy Speakman

    I stepped out for about five years to pursue a different field. I let my certification lapse because I had no income for 2 years and I wasn’t planning to re-enter the field. Well that other field didn’t last and I came back to speech Pathology. my first year was grueling!! I had to retake the national exam (aced the language development section, scraped by on neurology). I had to do another CFY year and take lots of Continuing Ed. Like you I am glad I had the privilege to be with my children when they were young. I am also glad to be in the schools so I had summer breaks, Winter and Spring breaks generally the same times. thanks for your thoughts. I enjoy reading your blog and I like your products. Cindy

    1. admin

      Cindy, Thanks so much for the blog/product love and sharing your experience. Again, I can’t imagine sitting for the national exam again. Child language, fine, aphasias, uh, not so much. Way to go in getting it done (again)! Kim

  3. Lisa E.

    Oh my! DO NOT let your CCCs lapse!! When I first got my CCCs back in the late 80’s (I’m dating myself here, I realize), I worked for a number of years, then stayed home to raise my kiddos (4 in 7 years.). For a while, I payed my yearly dues, but then it just got too expensive and unnecessary I felt, since I wasn’t working, so I let them lapse. Then, I returned to work part-time in a nursing home in the mid-90’s, and in order to reinstate my CCCs, “all” I had to due was pay my back dues (which the organization that hired my agreed to due in loo of a signing bonus). Then, we moved quite a bit with my husband’s job, and I let them lapse again as I stayed at home longer. When I went back to work full-time about 8 years ago, I was told by ASHA that in order to get my CCCs again, I would have to TAKE THE PRAXIS again AND do a CFY!!! I did, but I vowed to never, never , never let them lapse again until I retire. Or die. Not sure which may come first, at this rate. 🙂 Anyway, it’s expensive, and I wish it were different, but if at all possible, keep paying for them even if you decide to take a break from working – I don’t wish having to study for the Praxis exam again on anybody (especially when you’ve been out of school since the dark ages and we took the original Praxis on stone tablets! :))

    1. admin

      Lisa, WOW! I can’t imagine going through all of that again and it certainly makes a strong case for maintaining CCCs as the less expensive alternative! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Kim

  4. Christine Chain

    I stepped out for about 4 years when my children were young, and then went back to work one day at a time, taking about 5 years to get back to full-time. It was VERY frustrating to have to pay dues, and go thru CEUs when I wasn’t working! And paying dues when you are only working 1-2 days per week isn’t much easier. I wish ASHA had provisions…as you said, it’s a predominately female field. And I can’t speak for all SLPs, but it does seem to me that there are a LOT of new grads wit h no children, and a LOT of older SLPs with school-aged & older kids, but not a lot of SLPs with very young children…meaning that there are a lot of us who take time off to be with kids. And yet we still have to pay $250+ per year. I’d be okay with the CEUs if they were slightly reduced, and we could waive our CCCs fee if we aren’t working, and maybe have a slightly reduced fee if we are working less than 50%.

    1. admin

      Christine, I agree. The cost of maintenance is still very expensive if you are working part-time especially when you take into account the cost of the required CEUs. I don’t have any affiliation, but is a great, economical way to get those CEU credits and because it’s online and most offerings are an hour or two, it’s easier to fit in than a full day workshop(something I found nearly impossible while breastfeeding not to mention with a spouse that travelled frequently). Kim

  5. Ann F

    I have never “stepped out” but I have always found it frustrating that maintaining our C’s is so expensive. I also have to pay a licensure fee for my state; thankfully it’s not every year and is a much lower fee. The price of maintaining my C’s is pretty much the reason that I don’t join a special interest group or donate to the Foundation. That’s a shame, but I stand firm, because I feel that everyone who pays steep yearly fees should benefit from every special interest group, if they so desire. I’m close to retirement and struggling with the idea of keeping my C’s. I keep thinking of how long I’ve had them and how much blood, sweat and tears I put into getting them. They are a part of my identity and it’s going to be hard to give them up.

    1. admin

      Ann, I can only imagine how difficult the decision will be. Even when someone thinks, “I’m stepping out for good,” it’s nice to have that certification as a safety net in the event that a particular client pulls you back or financial circumstances (an around the world cruise fee, perhaps :)) push you to pick up a few private clients for a short period of time. Good luck and congratulations on the retirement!

    2. TLC SLP

      I totally agree. For a school SLP in MA, I pay CCCs yearly, state SLP license ($100) biyearly, and teaching license every 5 years ($100). I have CEU requirements for ALL these licenses, up to 150 hours for the teaching. Of course, as a pubic school teacher, none of this is paid for me.

      The time and money aside, I wouldn’t change what I do for the world!!

Comments are closed.


The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.