American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Working Abroad

Working in a country other than the one in which you hold citizenship can be an adventure and chance of a lifetime. The professional and personal experiences can influence the rest of your life.

You may already know where you want to work, especially if your decision is tied to a specific personal event or timeline. You may be interested in a short-term job or assignment in connection with a nonprofit organization. Whether you have a specific country in mind or you are "shopping around," you'll want to consider the compatibility of your interests, needs, and goals with the political, cultural, and economic situations existing in that country.

Professional Standards and Requirements

Professions providing services to individuals with communication disorders vary in terms of their scope of practice as well as professional standards. You'll want to consider:

  • What is/are the counterparts to speech-language pathology and audiology in countries outside the U.S.?
  • Is the profession autonomous? If not, who is the gatekeeper?
  • What other professions include assessment and treatment of persons with communication disorders in their scopes of practice?
  • What are the educational/training requirements to work in the country?
  • Is there a language requirement? If so, do you speak the language(s) of the country? Are you familiar with the phonological system and the typical developmental norms for the language(s)?

You should also consider:

  • The tax implications for home and host countries
  • Salaries and other benefits; cost of living
  • Maintaining your primary household while away, if the position is temporary
  • Maintaining your primary professional certification

Documentation

In order to work in a country in which you are not a citizen you must meet the country's visa, work permit, education, licensing, and regulatory requirements. In the U.S., nationals of other countries must obtain visas, work permits and, in most states, licensure.

A good place to start is by contacting the country's embassy or consulate and national professional organization for information on education, training, and certification, including relevant government bodies that have oversight responsibilities.

Neither ASHA nor any other national certification will automatically/necessarily qualify the holder or serve as a permit to work worldwide. However, it may serve as a basis for applying for permission to work in the given country. Further, if you are a member of one of the signatory organizations of the Mutual Recognition Agreement (i.e., Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States), you'll want to review the FAQs.

Job Search

If you are an ASHA member, you can search for a position abroad through the ASHA Career Center. Other sources include:

Additional Resources

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