Eligibility Requirements and Essential Functions

Eligibility Requirements and Core Functions
Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (2008)


The Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) accredits graduate programs that prepare individuals to enter professional practice in audiology and/or speech-language pathology. The Department of Speech Language Pathology has a program in Candidacy in speech-language pathology. All students admitted to the master’s program are bound by the professional standards needed to successfully engage in the speech-language pathology profession. The knowledge and skill standards of the profession are defined by ASHA in Standard IV-A through IV-G and Standard V-A through V-C of The Standards for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology in addition to the updated 2020 standards.  In order to acquire the knowledge and skills required by ASHA in the practice of speech-language pathology, to function in a wide variety of clinical situations, and to render many different kinds of client services, students enrolled in the Speech Language Pathology program at SBU must have skills and attributes in six specific areas, called “Core academic/clinical requirements.”


Students are responsible for signing the Core Functions, at the first advisement meeting after Graduate Orientation. This form is housed in the student’s file. Each student must meet all the Core Functions set forth below on a continuing basis. Each student must take responsibility for maintaining their physical and mental health.




A student must possess adequate communication skills to:

  • Communicate proficiently in both oral and written English language. (Language to be determined by program.)
  • Possess reading and writing skills sufficient to meet curricular and clinical demands.
  • Perceive and demonstrate appropriate non-verbal communication for culture and context.
  • Modify communication style to meet the communication needs of clients, caregivers, and other persons served.
  • Communicate professionally and intelligibly with patients, colleagues, other healthcare professionals, and community or professional groups.
  • Communicate professionally, effectively, and legibly on patient documentation, reports, and scholarly papers required as a part of course work and professional practice.
  • Convey information accurately with relevance and cultural sensitivity.




A student most possess adequate motor skills to:

  • Sustain necessary physical activity level in required classroom and clinical activities.
  • Respond quickly to provide a safe environment for clients in emergency situations including fire, choking, etc.
  • Access transportation to clinical and academic placements.
  • Participate in classroom and clinical activities for the defined workday.
  • Efficiently manipulate testing and treatment environment and materials without violation of testing protocol and with best therapeutic practice.
  • Manipulate patient-utilized equipment (e.g. durable medical equipment to include AAC devices, hearing aids, etc.) in a safe manner.
  • Access technology for clinical management (i.e. billing, charting, therapy programs, etc.).



A student must possess adequate intellectual and cognitive skills to:

  • Comprehend, retain, integrate, synthesize, infer, evaluate and apply written and verbal information sufficient to meet curricular and clinical demands.
  • Identify significant findings from history, evaluation, and data to formulate a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
  • Solve problems, reason, and make sound clinical judgments in patient assessment, diagnostic and therapeutic plan and implementation.
  • Self-evaluate, identify, and communicate limits of one’s own knowledge and skill to appropriate professional level and be able to identify and utilize resources in order to increase knowledge.
  • Utilize detailed written and verbal instruction in order to make unique and dependent decisions.




A student must possess adequate sensory skills of vision, hearing, tactile, and smell to:

    • Visually and auditorily identify normal and disordered (fluency, articulation, voice, resonance, respiration characteristics, oral and written language in the areas of semantics, pragmatics, syntax, morphology and phonology, hearing and balance   disorders, swallowing cognition, social interaction related to communication).
    • Identify the need for alternative modalities of communication.
    • Visualize and identify anatomic structures.
    • Visualize and discriminate imaging findings.
    • Identify and discriminate findings on imaging studies.
    • Discriminate text, numbers, tables, and graphs associated with diagnostic instruments and tests.
    • Recognize when a client’s family does or does not understand the clinician’s written and or verbal communication.




A student must possess adequate behavioral and social attributes to:

    • Display mature empathetic and effective professional relationships by exhibiting compassion, integrity, and concern for others.
    • Recognize and show respect for individuals with disabilities and for individuals of different ages, genders, race, religions, sexual orientation, and cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.
    • Conduct oneself in an ethical and legal manner, upholding the ASHA Code of Ethics and university and federal privacy policies.
    • Maintain general good physical and mental health and self-care in order not to jeopardize the health and safety of self and others in the academic and clinical setting.
    • Adapt to changing and demanding environments (which includes maintaining both professional demeanor and emotional health).
    • Manage the use of time effectively to complete professional and technical tasks within realistic time constraints.
    • Accept appropriate suggestions and constructive criticism and respond by modification of behaviors.
    • Dress appropriately and professionally.


  • Engage in ongoing learning about cultures and belief systems different from one’s own and the impacts of these on healthcare and educational disparities to foster effective provision of services.
  • Demonstrate the application of culturally responsive evidence-based decisions to guide clinical practice.


I,_______________________ (please print your full name) have read and understand the purpose and guidelines of the “Core Functions Statement”.  I understand the successful completion of the Speech Language Pathology Master’s Program is contingent upon my ability to perform the skills listed in the Core Functions Document.  Once admitted and enrolled in the master’s program, I understand that if I have any questions following enrollment, I should contact my faculty advisor and the Chair of the Department. 


Student Signature: _______________________________ Date: _________________________________