Admissions note: FIRST
YEARS is not accepting applications. If you have questions
regarding the program, please contact Kathryn
Wilson, Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is FIRST YEARS and why are you offering a certificate?
As more children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing are served
in inclusive settings, a growing number of special educators, speech pathologists,
and other professionals are being asked to serve these children and their
families. While most are experienced professionals in their respective
disciplines, many have limited educational preparation to work with these
populations. FIRST YEARS is a continuing education program
for professionals interested in expanding their knowledge and skills related
to speech and language intervention with children who are deaf or hard-of
hearing. A certificate of completion will be awarded at the end of
the program to document coursework and practicum.
Am I a good candidate for your program?
The FIRST YEARS courses and
the mentorship experience were designed, in a
convenient distance format, to meet the on-going educational needs of practicing
professionals. To determine if distance education is a good fit for you,
review our materials at Successful
What level of expertise is this program intended for?
The courses are intended for post-baccalaureate study
by professionals who have been working for at least two years with children
who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. There are graduate credits associated
with each course. The Units of Study page
covers the credit designation assigned to the courses.
Is the coursework introductory -- for "beginners" only?
The FIRST YEARS certificate offers graduate-level
content, with graduate-level expectations for assignments. It is
designed to meet the needs of professionals who have been practicing in
the field, but feel a need to acquire current information and update their
Will there be online lectures?
FIRST YEARS was designed with working professionals
in mind and features asynchronous distance instruction, where you
"learn any time, any place." This means that students are not required
to participate in online discussions at required times nor are online
lectures a component of the instruction.
Can I take just one course?
No, the courses are offered exclusively as part of the FIRST
How long will it take to complete the program?
The certificate can be completed in 2 years if a course is
taken each semester, including summer.
What does the mentorship experience involve?
FIRST YEARS requires a clinical practicum, beginning
in the second semester in the program. The mentorship experience lasts
a minimum of 10 days (80 hours) and is divided into two sessions. Documents
describing the mentorship
"first steps" are here.
Can I earn ASHA CEUs with FIRST YEARS courses?
Yes. You can submit the hours from your courses towards CCC
maintenance requirement with ASHA. (each university credit = 15 clock hours)
At the end of the 3-year maintenance cycle, fill out an affidavit of completion
of 30 clock hours. In the event that you are audited, you must supply an
official transcript, available from the UNC
Registrar. For more information: http://www.asha.org/certification/maintFAQs.htm
Will FIRST YEARS offer a distance opportunity for professionals
to become LSLS certified?
No, FIRST YEARS is not a direct means of attaining Listening
Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS) Certification, although several of our
graduates as well as current students have completed the requirements for
both the FIRST YEARS certificate as well as the LSLS certification.
For more information on the certification process go to: http://www.agbellacademy.org
Can parents audit these courses?
AG Bell has a free, 30-minute online course on the requirements for
LSLS certification. Its completion awards 0.5 Academy-approved CEUs. Register/learn
No. While we appreciate the desire of parents to be better
informed, current demand for continuing education requires us to limit
our courses to professionals.
How much will it cost?
The current fees are listed on the admission
requirements page and vary from year to year. However, to get
a ballpark idea of the total cost, multiply the per-credit-hour fee times
15 (the total credit hours for the certificate). Cost of texts will vary
with each course. Costs of transportation and housing during the
mentorship experience will differ depending on where the student lives
and to which mentorship site they are assigned.
Do you offer tuition stipends?
We are not currently offering tuition stipends.
If a group of students from a facility work together, is there a group
No. Each student must pay the full tuition and fees.
Are there deadlines for registration?
Yes. These deadline dates appear on the main
web site for FIRST YEARS.
Will this course of study lead to a teaching certificate?
No. Teaching certification is the purview of each state's
department of education/ public instruction.
What do you foresee as the value of this new certificate?
FIRST YEARS is designed to inform professionals of current
theories and practice aimed at helping children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing
acquire spoken language. Successful completion of the program will
provide professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to provide better
intervention and instruction to the children and families they serve.
Is there a way I can contribute to FIRST YEARS?
Yes! You can contribute monetarily and with new ideas
to expand and promote our program. Making
a monetary gift to FIRST YEARS is easy and secure at UNC's
Medical Foundation. Your gifts are welcome and appreciated!
FIRST YEARS benefits from student
and faculty feedback as
well as input from others practicing in the professions we serve. We
welcome your suggestions!