I just want to give a heads up to those applying for ASHA Membership and Certification by relaying my own story to you. (The really important parts are in uppercase letters).
I graduated from my SLP Master’s program in December of 2007.
I started my first SLP job in January of 2008 (less than a month after graduating, as the school was out for winter break during the latter part of December so I could not start then and had to wait for school to resume).
Since my job is at a public school, Summer break fell in the middle of my CFY.
Therefore, I just finished my Clinical Fellowship Year this week, in November of 2008.
I started getting ready to send in my application for ASHA Membership and Certification as soon as I finished my CFY.
I called the ASHA Action Center, and the first representative I spoke to told me I would qualify for the NSSLHA CONVERSION RATE OF $336 since I had been a NSSLHA member for 2 consecutive years prior to graduation. I assure you, that conversion rate was the major incentive I had for scraping together extra money during graduate school to even pay th NSSLHA fees.
However, when I talked to other ASHA Action Center Representatives, they told me that I would not qualify for the NSSLHA Conversion Rate because I did not apply for Membership and Certification prior to September 1st of the calendar year following my graduation. I explained to ASHA that that was less than a year after I graduated and because I work in a school that has winter and summer breaks, I was still in my CF Year on September 1st.
ASHA rebutted that “I COULD HAVE SENT IN PARTS OF MY APPLICATION BEFORE I COMPLETED MY CFY.” That was never clear to me. There aren’t too many things where you can just send in part of an application. Even still, I countered that after just graduating, I did not have hundreds of dollars lying around to send in to them. ASHA responded that “I DID NOT HAVE TO SEND IN THE FEE RIGHT AWAY, THEY JUST NEEDED PART OF THE APPLICATION TO BE IN PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER FIRST OF THE CALENDAR YEAR FOLLOWING MY GRADUATION IN ORDER FOR ME TO QUALIFY FOR THE NSSLHA CONVERSION RATE.” That part was especially unclear to me. I cannot find anything saying they would take an application without money, and that you can send the money later. (I haven’t heard of too many places that would do that either).
As a result of this confusion, I was told to pay the RECENT GRADUATE RATE OF $436 (a hundred dollars more than what I thought I had to pay).
In a last ditch attempt to get the lower rate that I felt qualified for and entitled to, I emailed ASHA. THE REPRESENTATIVE I EMAILED TOLD ME TO PAY $486.00 (the full rate and $50 MORE THAN THE RECENT GRADUATE RATE). I had to reply to that. I absolutely refused to pay another $50. There was no way they could tell me someone who graduated less than 11 months ago was not a recent graduate. The representative admitted she had made a mistake on that part and that I sent the right amount of $436.
The problem is ASHA knows they have you up against the wall. What can you do? You have to pay. You’re not going to suddenly change your mind about a profession you’ve already put so much into.
To make matters even worse, A representative told me that they did not have my Praxis scores, which I was sure I sent. I asked if I could mail the original Praxis score report sheet that I have and of course the answer was know. It turns out that I ACCIDENTALLY ONLY SENT ASHA MY PRAXIS PASS/FAIL INFORMATION INSTEAD OF MY ACTUAL SCORE. I am not sure why the exact score should matter since I did pass and that is what counts. Nonetheless, I THEN NEEDED TO GIVE PRAXIS AN ADDITIONAL $40 FOR THEM TO SEND ASHA A SEALED SCORE PRAXIS SCORE REPORT.
I am not sure why they would give me the option to only send ASHA pass/fail information if that is not what ASHA needs. I think they make these things tricky on purpose to make money off of little mistakes like this. Even though these are huge institutions with plenty of money and I am a poor recent graduate with little money, they show no compassion and are not willing to budge or make a one time exception for these unfair additional fees.
THAT MEANS OVERALL I AM PAYING $140 MORE THAN I EXPECTED (and they tried to make it $190).
TO SUM UP THE LESSONS I HOPE YOU ALL TAKE FROM THIS ARE:
1. SEND IN THE FIRST PART OF YOUR ASHA MEMBERSHIP AND CERTIFICATION APPLICATION AS SOON AS YOU HAVE A COPY OF YOUR MASTER’S DEGREE HAS BEEN CONFERRED AND YOU HAVE A SEALED ORIGINAL PRINT OFF OF YOUR TRANSCRIPT THAT VERIFIES THAT.
2. YOU DO NOT NEED TO SEND IN THE FEE WITH THIS INITIAL PART OF YOUR APPLICATION.
3. MAKE SURE YOU CHOOSE ASHA AS ONE OF YOUR 3 SCORE RECIPIENTS THAT PRAXIS ALLOWS YOU TO SELECT (NOT AS A RECIPIENT OF PASS FAIL INFORMATION – WHICH IS KIND OF TRICKY CONSIDERING YOU’LL WANT A COPY, ASHA NEEDS A COPY, YOUR STATE LICENSURE NEEDS A COPY, AND ANOTHER INSTITUTION MAY NEED ONE TOO. I THINK PRAXIS CAN E-MAIL YOU YOUR SCORES FOR FREE – BUT IT CAN’T EMAIL THEM TO ANYONE BESIDES YOU)
Please don’t make the same mistakes I did. I am hoping that this happened to me for a reason and the reason is for me to share this story with all of you so that no one else makes the same mistakes.
Best of luck to you in your endeavors,