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CCC&TI Speech Language Graduates Leverage Pathways to Advanced Degrees

Published: 7/21/2023

Five students that began their post-secondary education at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in the Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) program recently completed their four-year degrees at Appalachian State University and were accepted to master’s programs. Thanks to an agreement between the two institutions, students who complete their first two years at CCC&TI in the SLPA program are eligible to transfer to App State for the remaining two years in pursuit of the Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) Bachelor’s degree.

“Since 2016, App State has partnered with CCC&TI to offer a clear and efficient pathway for the SLPA program,” said Nate Weigl, Appalachian’s Senior Director of Transfer Admissions and Engagement. “The success of this recent group of graduates exemplifies the

tremendous difference that a collaborative effort toward access and educational opportunity can make in the lives of college students.”

Haley Eggers is one of those students. She shared, “It is because of the transfer agreement that I was able to attend App State with all my earned credits. This not only helped me financially, but also lightened my course load to focus on CSD requirements.” 

This transfer agreement, also known as the “2 + 2” articulation agreement, makes it possible to transfer with less student debt and safeguards course credits already earned at CCC&TI. 

Jessica Raby, Director of CCC&TI’s SLPA program, explained, “It’s an awesome opportunity for students wanting a more affordable education to gain hands-on clinical experience while staying close to home for the first two years.” 

As a transfer student, Ryelee Stevens shared how attending CCC&TI was the best decision for her, “I never had to worry if I was going to have to retake a course or if I was taking the correct courses. I was also able to live at home while I attended Caldwell Community College.”

CCC&TI provides 272 clinical hours toward requirements to earn the SLPA Associate in Applied Science degree and beyond. When Stevens transferred to App State’s CSD program, she realized not many students outside of those in the CCC&TI transfer cohort already had the hands-on clinical experience in speech therapy that she’d obtained under Raby’s mentorship. “I was already able to be a speech-language pathology assistant while others in my classes had not yet experienced speech-therapy. I felt more prepared and confident about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” said Stevens.

Syleen Chan of Charlotte appreciated the flexibility and inclusivity of the SLPA program at CCC&TI. “The availability of remote attendance by broadcasting live classes to other community colleges was a major perk of the program. I was a part of the Central Piedmont Community College cohort and this option truly demonstrated the program’s commitment to accommodating the diverse needs of its students.”

On the topic of career-readiness, Chan added, “The program was thoughtfully designed to provide practical, hands-on experiences that deepened my understanding of SLP Assistants, such as creating 3-D laryngeal and anatomical diagrams and exploring different areas of the brain.”

Students who perform well and meet other admission requirements are offered a competitive academic edge with automatic acceptance into the undergraduate CSD program at App State. CSD graduates aiming for a career as a Speech Language Pathologist then need to continue their education through a master’s program. Having gained the professional skills and qualifications developed through CCC&TI’s transfer curriculum, all five graduates of the recent 2 +2 cohort were accepted into a master’s program in either Speech or CSD.

In deciding to utilize the 2 + 2 articulation agreement, Stevens was most drawn to having guaranteed admission, credits that would transfer and a clear outline of which classes would be taken at each institution. “With guaranteed admission to Appalachian State University, the choice I made to attend Caldwell Community College was a decision that I believe was the most crucial in my education,” Stevens said. 

Eggers shared a similar appreciation for the preparation offered by CCC&TI. “The clinical hours, hands-on projects, tests, and role-playing really helped me learn the field of SLP. If not for the solid foundation at CCC&TI, I never would have decided to continue my education.” 

Whether seeking career advancement as a credentialed speech-language pathologist or aiding with skilled therapy interventions assessments as an assistant, Chan wants others to know that CCC&TI has something for everyone. “The SLPA program at CCC&TI provides several options for individuals at different stages of their academic journey and offers a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.” 

According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), job opportunities in SLP are expected to grow by 20 percent through the year 2030. 

CCC&TI’s Speech Language Pathology Assistant program is now enrolling for their upcoming Fall 2023 cohort. Classes begin August 14. For more information, contact Program Director Jessica Raby at 726-2370 or visit: https://www.cccti.edu/SLPA

SLPA Students on ASU campus

Pictured left to right are CCC&TI Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) program graduates Haley Eggers, Syleen Chan, Rylee Stevens, Taylor Schlossman and Mallory Williams in front of the Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences on Appalachian State University’s campus in Boone. All five students earned their associate degrees at CCC&TI and have utilized partnership pathways to pursue advanced degrees in the field of communication sciences.