So you got your degree–Now what???

One of the most popular questions and concerns I get from readers is ‘If I get my degree overseas, will I qualify to work in the States?’ For those US speechies out there, I can reassure you–YES YOU WILL!
(Please note, this blog post is now an official page on my blog under International Education.)There are a few different options for transferring your degree and/or professional qualifications in the field back to the States, however, I am going to focus specifically on United States citizens who obtained their Master’s in the UK and the process involved in transferring the degree back to the State’s to complete your CFY and obtain your license/CCC-SLP! ***Please note, this is solely based on my personal experience and research and the information I provide is meant to support you in your own research about the process. Please make sure to thoroughly investigate any and all questions you have prior to making any decisions about your educational path!

If you have completed your degree overseas and are already licensed/certified in that country and wishing to work in the States, visit my page which gives an overview of the process through the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) route.

So you got your degree. Now what?!

Before searching for a CF position…

Step 1: Take a look at the general requirements listed on ASHA’s page for internationally educated applicants.

Step 2: Have your degree and credentials evaluated by an outside agency. ASHA provides a list of these agencies.  Once approved, your UK Master’s degree will be recognized as equivalent to a US Master’s from an accredited university and you’ll be eligible for a CF position.

Step 3: Apply for your ASHA Certification. Even though you will be notified by ASHA that you are still required to complete X amount of steps before getting your CCC-SLP, they will clear your education requirements from the start so that you don’t have to worry about this being an issue when it comes time for you to get those Cs!

*Tip: Though ASHA requires you to have your degree evaluated by an outside agency, they have to do their own evaluation too. This is why they require submission of course descriptions/syllabi) of every course/module you took. This will allow ASHA to cross-check that the UK courses covered the same material as the US courses. I recommend getting the application process started as soon as possible so that your education is approved from the get-go and you have peace of mind that all hours for your CF will 100% be recognized and there is no further delay with obtaining your CCC-SLP when the time comes.

Step 3: Find a CF position! Make sure you meet all other requirements for the State you are applying for a CF in before proceeding as all States are different! For example, in NYC (where I did my CF) I was only required to have my Master’s. However, some States may require you to have a provisional license or to have completed the PRAXIS already. So double check!

During your CFY…

Step 4: Apply for licensure. As previously noted, different States may require a different timeline for when you are required to apply for your license so research this prior to starting your CF. However, from personal experience, I suggest applying for it once you have decided where you are doing your CFY/have secured a position. The reasons are similar to why you should apply for your ASHA certification from the get-go. Because A) the process takes FOREVER and even longer as an international applicant so you will want to avoid any further delay when it comes time to get your license and B) the state will also have to approve your education as equivalent (and they will but you will want that sense of security as you start your CF). This process will most likely require you to complete a few extra steps which may or may not be noted in the general application procedure (e.g.– getting paperwork signed off by the Program Director of your uni and submitting course descriptions. So similar to ASHA’s extra steps).

Step 5: Study for and take the PRAXIS! I spent approximately 3 months studying for the PRAXIS. I took it around month 9 of my CFY (which took me 10 months total to complete) and the official scores were ready just in time for ASHA and licensure submission!

Step 6: You’ve passed the PRAXIS–You’re applications went through–You completed your CFY–You’re now a certified and licensed SLP!!! 


-Keep a personal record of your observation and clinical hours as it will come in handy when justifying your practicum hours as equivalent to US accredited programs.

-Print out all forms required for Program Directors at your university to sign-off on and have them complete and submit these forms following completion of the program and prior to returning home. It’s a lot easier to take care of this in the UK then it is from the other side of the pond!

-I can’t emphasize enough that you should apply ASAP for ASHA certification and your State’s licensure between the time you obtain your Master’s and start your CFY. Yes, it is annoying that you will have to pay for these credentials nearly a year in advance before you can actually obtain them, however, it will greatly reduce the amount of headaches you may have to deal with if you wait till you’re nearly done with your CF. I speak from personal experience. I submitted my ASHA and licensure application in January 2017 thinking it would be enough time. I finished EVERYTHING by March 2017. I received my CCC-SLP from ASHA in April 2017 (so not terrible) but wasn’t licensed in NY until JUNE 2017! So it took an extra 3 months of headaches before I was recognized as a licensed SLP in NY. Veryyyy frustrating but it all worked out in the end : )

Good luck in all your international SLP endeavors!!!

-Kristin AmRhein

Family Fun Day

The Inspiration Center celebrated its 5th Annual Family Fun Day on August 18th and Therapy Abroad was excited to be a part of the action! A group of around 50 kiddos joined in on the fun day as they traveled through different stations including the photo booth, sensory play and the water station (my personal favorite)! The group of attendees included the speech and physical therapy clients who are seen at The Inspiration Center along with their siblings and caregivers. It was eye-opening to realize that the clients we saw at Family Fun Day were only a fraction of those who receive services from the sole SLP and PT at The Inspiration Center.

The ladies of group 3 had the best time playing with the kids all day– some of our campers from the current and previous Communication Camp groups were there too!


Classic Photo Booth pic with the ladies of Group 3 before our day of FUNNNN got started ❤

The best part about Family Fun Day was seeing the children take part in and enjoy every activity no matter what physical challenges or communication needs they presented with. It just goes to show that every child has the ability to embrace the same experiences in life and that disability is only reflected in the obstacles we allow to get in the way of success for every child. When we open our eyes and find ways to overcome these barriers is when we realize the potential of every child and their ability to grow and learn.

Your SLP Overseas,
-Kristin AmRhein

Biola Ladies in Belize!

Week 1 with our second group of Therapy Abroad students from Biola University featured a new group of campers and fresh ideas for Communication Camp at The Inspiration Center, a trip to a local school to carry-out speech and language screenings, and some fun team outings!

Communication Camp

We spent the first half of the week getting to know our new kiddos attending Communication Camp! For more info about the therapy program we run at The Inspiration Center, check out this previous blog post. Here are some highlights from our stations: Fine motor, story time, basic concepts, behavior regulation, gross motor, snack and pretend play!

School Visit

At the end of the week, we switched things up and made a visit to a local school in Cayo District where we screened several kids with an array of speech and language needs including cleft palate and language delay. Some kids just stopped by to say hi and hang out with us as we finished our screenings 🙂

Team Fun Days and a trip to the Blue Hole

The crew had a competitive few days at our home base, Monkey Bay, with a field day complete with bucket baseball (where ya get a refreshing bucket of water on your head following a strike out or caught fly ball) and a social media scavenger hunt consisting of 10 challenges around the campsite that had to be completed with photo/video evidence posted to instagram before time ran out! After all our hard working days and competitive nights, we ended the week with a cool down in the emerald green water of Blue Hole National Park!

Your SLP Overseas,

Kristin AmRhein
Team Leader
Therapy Abroad

And we’re back!

Therapy Abroad– Group 2, Day 1 (Sunday, 7/30)

After a mini hiatus, Therapy Abroad is back to work in Belize with a new group of students, all from Biola university, and some new staff too! I am thrilled to be the Team Leader for this crew and looking forward to meeting all the new kiddos we will work with for the next two weeks!

We kicked off our first day with a trek through the pine savannah of Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary where we will stay for the next 2 weeks. After a rather toasty and humid walk, we took a refreshing dip in the river (something we didn’t get to do with the last group due to inclement weather conditions). Luckily no one fell asleep on us and floated away out of exhaustion from their red-eye flight 😉

Tuesday is day one of Communication Camp and the girls have been hard at work building resources for our new group of Pirate Campers! Stay tuned for updates on all our clinical and cultural adventures in Belize!

Your SLP Overseas,

Team Leader
Therapy Abroad

Island Vibes

Days 11&12

After a week and a half of meaningful hard work, the Therapy Abroad team hopped on a boat and cruised to Caye Caulker. The emerald green waters of the island were all too inviting as we made our way to our hotel, La Isla Resort.


View from the La Isla’s beach front

Before diving into the island fun, we made a visit to a local elementary school that is unique in every way imaginable when compared to the typical Belizean schools. Founded by Dr. Alberto Luis August, La Isla Cariñosa Academy was developed out of a need to change the standards of education in Belize. Born and raised in Caye Caulker, Dr. August obtained his PhD in Education from the University of North Florida. Following his worldly travels, he was inspired to incorporate the educational values found in schools of developed countries into schools of Belize. Principal August and his wife, Valerie August, Vice Principal of the private school, shared with us the typical conditions of schools in Belize—no AC in a stuffy classroom despite humid 90* heat, teachers lacking higher education and managing a class of 30 students independently, corporal punishment inflicted on children who misbehave, and no alternative teaching strategies integrated into the curriculum for a child with learning difficulties or special needs. Worried for their own daughter’s education, they created a school with an environment that is conducive to learning and caters to the needs of individual students.


La Isla Cariñosa Academy is the only inclusion school in Belize which supports the needs of students with Autism, language impairments and learning difficulties. Each classroom is limited to 15 students and is equipped with AC and windows for natural sunlight. Positive reinforcement is emphasized and corporal punishment is non-existent. You can find educational artwork painted on the walls of the school and a recreational yard used for recess. Principal August plans to further develop the school’s campus and construction for a rooftop playground is underway. Therapy Abroad is excited to build their relationship with the innovative couple and work as a team to support Dr. and Mrs. August in identifying students with speech and language needs and providing training and support within the classroom environment.


Dr. and Mrs. August, founders of this exemplary private school

After the visit to the exemplary school, it was time for our vacation to officially begin! We took to the sea where we snorkeled alongside the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world and even swam with sharks!


Day 13—Our Last Night Together

After 2 relaxing nights on the island of Caye Caulker, we headed back for one last evening at Monkey Bay. After dinner, we danced around the campfire to traditional Creole drumming and learned some new moves!


And just like that, group 1’s time in Belize has come to an end. Crazy to think that in just two weeks, a group of students and staff who knew nothing about each other could form such strong bonds and lasting relationships by the end of the trip! We worked together–we lived together–we played together–we killed bugs together. But most importantly, as a team, we raised awareness of speech, language and feeding therapy in a country where special needs and disability is stigmatized and poorly understood. Together we collaborated with local professionals to expand the current services provided to support our clients and their families and in the process we grew as individuals and clinicians.

To all those students and staff who were part of Therapy Abroad’s first group, well done! I am proud to have been your Team Leader and already miss everyone! Same time next year?!


That’s a wrap with Therapy Abroad’s first group in Belize!

I am looking forward to working with the next two groups and seeing the new ideas they bring to Communication Camp and the entire experience in Belize this August!

Until then, it’s back to NYC for the next 2 weeks for a little summer fun and R&R!

Stay tuned for our Belizean adventures in August!

Your SLP Overseas,

Kristin AmRhein, M.S. CCC-SLP
Team Leader
Therapy Abroad

Therapy Abroad–Week 2 at the Inspiration Center

Days 9-11

Therapy Abroad kicked off week 2 in Belize at the Inspiration Center. Our last week of Communication Camp was even better than the first. The blossoming student SLPs took charge and found ways to improve the activities from week 1 in order to elicit more language from the Pirate Campers while managing behavior and having fun!

The students also had another opportunity to make home visits through the Inspiration Center’s Community Based Rehab program. They played with the kiddos and observed Therapy Abroad’s SLP, Mollie Mindel, in the field as she worked one-on-one with caregivers and Inga, social worker at the Inspiration Center.

Our last day at the Inspiration Center was a fun one…but also pretty emotional for some of our Pirate Campers when they realized camp was ending 😦

After a week and a half of hard and meaningful work in Belize, it’s time for some well-deserved island time! Next stop– Caye Caulker!

Kristin AmRhein, M.S. CCC-SLP
Team Leader
Therapy Abroad

Belizean Weekend Adventures

This weekend the Therapy Abroad crew took a break from work the great outdoors of Belize! I will let the pictures tell the story…

Saturday, 7/8

Saturday was spent ziplining through the jungle and tubing through caves filled with stalagmites and stalactites. We had some interesting encounters along the way….


Cave Tubing

Sunday, 7/9

On Sunday, we explored the ancient Mayan ruins of Xunantunich! Though the temples are over 3000 years old, the site was only discovered in the 1800s and unearthed in the 1920s. It continues to be excavated today. From the top of the temple we could see the gorgeous landscape of not only Belize, but Guatemala too!

With an action packed first weekend in the books, it’s time to get back into work mode and prepare for group 1’s last week of Communication Camp at the Inspiration Center before heading out to the islands for some rest and relaxation!

Until next time,

Kristin AmRhein, M.S. CCC-SLP
Team Leader
Therapy Abroad

Belmopan and the Jungle (Day 6)

Today, the Therapy Abroad team made a trip into Belmopan, the capital of Belize. Our first stop was a visit to Helping Hands, an educational resource center created by Miss Emily to support the learning needs of Belizean students. During the visit, she told us about the challenges students of all ages face to receive a good education in Belize. She shared with us that many students in Belize do not continue on to high school and some even discontinue their education after elementary school. Several cultural and economic factors influence this decision and Miss Emily’s mission is to provide free educational support at Helping Hands. Furthermore, she aims to unlock the learning potential of all students she works with by improving their literacy skills and encouraging them to think about their future selves and what they aspire to be when they grow up in the hopes that they will continue to seek out a good education as they get older.

As a proud Garifuna woman, Miss Emily shared about the origins of her people and their presence in Belize then sang a song in the Garifuna language. After bringing tears to our eyes with her passion for education and her culture, she took us to meet the children who were attending the summer tutoring program she set up for those who were identified as falling behind in school. The Therapy Abroad students and staff broke into small groups with the kids based on their age and academic levels. We spent the next hour or so getting to know our kiddos and eliciting language opportunities through the interests of each individual child. We met kids who love singing, pretending, writing and drawing. We met young students who aspire to become teachers and the older students shared their dreams of becoming a lawyer in the future to support their families. Two things all of these children had in common—enthusiasm to learn and lots of love to give!

In the afternoon, we took a trip to a local market where we explored the fruits and goods, ate some local grub, and took a much needed coffee break!

Dinner at Jungle Creek

After some afternoon R&R, we headed to Jungle Creek for a dinner with Pathlight, an organization who’s mission is to ensure that secondary education is made accessible to all children in Belize. As previously mentioned, many children do not go on to continue their high school education because unlike elementary years, high school is not free and many families cannot afford to send their children to school. As a result, Pathlight setup a program called Sponsorship+ which allows individuals to sponsor a child by providing monthly financial support to cover fees such as tuition, transportation, school supplies, tutoring and so on. To fully sponsor a child costs $200/month.

Pathlight also provides teacher training to local teachers to build on their own education and teaching strategies. This July, Pathlight will hold their annual Teacher Training Conference and Therapy Abroad’s SLPs and Behavior Therapist will attend to provide education and training in these specialties.

During our dinner we had the opportunity to meet 3 Pathlight students who are being sponsored by the Therapy Abroad team!

That wraps up week 1! Time for some weekend fun exploring Mayan ruins, cave tubing and ziplining!

Kristin AmRhein, M.S. CCC-SLP
Team Leader
Therapy Abroad

Therapy Abroad–Welcome to Belize (Week 1: 7/1-7/7)

The students and staff of Therapy Abroad, a program designed to provide students and professionals with opportunities to develop speech and language therapy overseas, launched its first student program in Belize this week! As an avid blogger and the Team Leader of the undergraduate students participating in the program, I am thrilled to share about our experiences thus far and those to come this summer!

We arrived early Sunday morning after our red eye flight from Los Angeles. Despite the exhaustion (and unBelizable heat), the students and staff were eager to explore our home for the next two weeks, Monkey Bay. We kicked off our trip with a trek through the Pine Savannah!

Our first real day of work began at the Inspiration Center, the only clinic in all of Belize to provide speech and language therapy. The students and staff of Therapy Abroad will support the Inspiration Center throughout the summer by carrying out evaluations and a group therapy program we have dubbed ‘Communication Camp’.

The students spent the day planning all the activities that will be carried out during Communication Camp and prepped LOTS of resources for our pirate themed camp which will run for 6 days over the 2-week period!


On our way to the Inspiration Center

DAY 3-5
Time to play with our Pirate Campers!

Communication Camp is based on Titan Tykes, a group therapy program developed by Dr. Kris Brock from CSU, Fullerton who is also working with Therapy Abroad in Belize to provide a well-rounded experience for the SLP students and campers. The language enrichment program consists of 7 stations—Fine Motor, Storytime, Basic Concepts, Behavior Regulation, Gross Motor, Snack (a station added to support those picky eaters!) and Pretend Play. With the support of licensed SLPs, the undergrads have had an unique opportunity to plan activities for the stations and lead the campers in each as they grow to become more confident communicators!

In addition to providing therapy, we supported the head SLP at Inspiration Center (and only therapist in all of Belize) with her backlog of evaluations. While some students and SLPs stayed at the clinic to carry-out these evals, a small group of students went with myself and Chad, the Program Director of Therapy Abroad, on home visits to both evaluate the children being seen and support the caregivers with communication and feeding strategies. We worked alongside the Inspiration Center’s social worker who regularly sees clients in the community to support their needs; however, as her educational background is not in speech and language pathology, this gave us an opportunity to provide training and model strategies that can be implemented during her visits following the departure of Therapy Abroad’s students and staff.

Fun Times
Therapy Abroad isn’t all about work. We like to have some fun too!

It’s only Day 5 and already so much has happened! It is the end of our first big work week and the students and staff worked so hard to make the first ever Communication Camp in Belize come to life! I feel like a proud mama as the Team Leader of these intelligent and creative women who surpass the expectations of undergraduates in our field. I look forward to seeing what ideas they bring to the table for next week’s camp. But until then, it’s time to see some more of Belize and embrace the culture!

Next up— A visit to local schools and Pathlight (more on them later) on Friday followed by an adventurous weekend of Cave Tubing and Ziplining! Stay tuned….

And follow us on instagram @therapyabroad

Kristin AmRhein, M.S. CCC-SLP
Team Leader
Therapy Abroad

Cambodia Project- The FINAL Week

So we’ve done it! We’ve worked out in Phnom Penh for 12 weeks now (3 months!) and this week was our last. The final hurrah.

Monday and Thursday, our admin days this week were spent report-writing for each of the settings and drawing our work to a close. It is really difficult to summarise our work into a few pages of a report but we tried! Although we both love the hands on Speech and Language Therapy work, we know that it is important to keep good records so that these can be passed on to the next cohort of Speech and Language Therapists who go to Cambodia. Hopefully our work can continue where we left off.

On Tuesday we went to say goodbye to our Speech Advisor Samnang and our Speech Advisor in-training Srey Lak at Children’s Surgical Centre. It is great that Samnang has someone to pass on his skills too – the further we spread the word about Speech and Language Therapy, the better. Srey Lak will shadow and learn from Samnang on Tuesday afternoons until she feels confident enough to work on her own at Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital. She is a trained midwife and full of enthusiasm for her new role. It is such good news as well that these two hospitals are willing to learn from each other and communicate as this was unheard of a few years ago. We had a second session with a boy we saw a few weeks ago with lots of sound substitutions in his speech making it difficult for him to be understood. We did some further assessment and with Samnang we decided on sounds to target with him in therapy. He has agreed to come regularly for therapy which is another success story! The twins were ill today but we also saw Samnang give advice to the parents of several young patients in the wards about post-op care and feeding. Samnang is using his leaflets wisely and we gave him more copies to start giving out. We ate lunch with Samnang as a special goodbye and also said goodbye to other staff we know at the hospital.

On Wednesday we saw Dr Alin at the National Paediatric Hospital (NPH) to help with her non-cleft caseload. Inevitably there were some cleft cases but this always tends to be the case. There were a few cases we referred to CCAMH (Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health) and a few that Dr Alin would like to see for therapy in her clinic. This week we saw the new clinic room being decorated along the corridor. This is exciting and the future at NPH for cleft and non-cleft patients alike looks very bright!


A little girl who loved playing to the crowd at NPH clinic

Friday brought us back to NPH for the final time and with it, so many babies! We saw Chanthy again, our Speech Advisor who works with Dr Alin now at the Friday clinics. She is hoping to stay working on Fridays until she has her baby next year and she is so confident now at giving advice for feeding and speech difficulties. This week we worked with Chanthy to train her in using the KASS (Khmer Assessment of Speech Sounds) which helps us to decide which speech sounds a child struggles with and which to target in therapy. She found it difficult to listen for the sounds at first but it takes practice. We found this one of the most difficult things to learn when we didn’t really know the language! The assessment involves asking the child to name pictures and writing down how they say them. As we have used this assessment a lot, we now know lots of weird and wonderful Khmer words such as ‘grapes’ (‘dom-be-an-buy-chew’) and ‘hammer’ (‘nya-new-ah’). It was great working with Dr Alin as well and she saw the young lady we brought in for a second opinion about her secondary palate surgery from another hospital. She now has to decide whether to have the surgery or not. A whirlwind day as always.


Chanthy, our Speech Advisor, giving early speech advice to a mum of a baby with cleft lip and palate.

It is so sad to write this final blog post and even sadder to leave everyone in Phnom Penh who continue to work tirelessly for children with Cleft Lip and Palate. We look forward to returning to Cambodia in the future and using our new found skills in jobs in the UK or USA.


Kristin, Samnang, Dr Alin, Chanthy and Lauren meet at NPH for one final goodbye


Goodbye and Good Luck! (‘Nee-hi’ and ‘Samnang la-or’)

Your cleft team signing off,

Lauren and Kristin

You can find all of our blog posts on CLAPA’s new web site too!