2014 Standards and Implementation Procedures for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology
Effective Date: September 1, 2014
The Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC) is a semi-autonomous credentialing body of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The charges to the CFCC are: to define the standards for clinical certification; to apply those standards in granting certification to individuals; to have final authority to withdraw certification in cases where certification has been granted on the basis of inaccurate information; and to administer the certification maintenance program.
A Practice and Curriculum Analysis of the Profession of Speech-Language Pathology was conducted in 2009 under the auspices of the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) and the CFCC. The survey analysis was reviewed by the CFCC, and the following standards were developed to better fit current practice models.
The 2014 standards and implementation procedures for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology will go into effect for all applications for certification received on or after September 1, 2014. View the SLP Standards Crosswalk [PDF] for more specific information on how the standards will change from the current SLP standards to the 2014 SLP standards.
cite as: Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2013). 2014 Standards for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology. Retrieved [date] from http://www.asha.org/Certification/2014-Speech-Language-Pathology-Certification-Standards/.
The Standards for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology are shown in bold. The Council for Clinical Certification implementation procedures follow each standard.
Standard II—Education Program
Standard III—Program of Study
Standard IV—Knowledge Outcomes
Standard V—Skills Outcomes
Standard VII—Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Fellowship
Standard VIII—Maintenance of Certification
Standard I: Degree
The applicant for certification must have a master's, doctoral, or other recognized post-baccalaureate degree.
Implementation: The Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC) has the authority to determine eligibility of all applicants for certification.
Standard II: Education Program
All graduate course work and graduate clinical experience required in speech-language pathology must have been initiated and completed in a speech-language pathology program accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA).
Implementation: If the graduate program of study is initiated and completed in a CAA-accredited program or in a program that held candidacy status for CAA accreditation, and if the program director or official designee verifies that all knowledge and skills required at the time of application have been met, approval of the application is automatic. Applicants eligible for automatic approval must submit an official graduate transcript or a letter from the registrar that verifies the date the graduate degree was awarded. The official graduate transcript or letter from the registrar must be received by the National Office no later than 1 year from the date the application was received. Verification of the graduate degree is required of the applicant before the certificate is awarded.
Individuals educated outside the United States or its territories must submit documentation that course work was completed in an institution of higher education that is regionally accredited or recognized by the appropriate regulatory authority for that country. In addition, applicants outside the United States or its territories must meet each of the standards that follow.
Standard III: Program of Study
The applicant for certification must have completed a program of study (a minimum of 36 semester credit hours at the graduate level) that includes academic course work and supervised clinical experience sufficient in depth and breadth to achieve the specified knowledge and skills outcomes stipulated in Standard IV-A through IV-G and Standard V-A through V-C.
Implementation: The minimum of 36 graduate semester credit hours must have been earned in a program that addresses the knowledge and skills pertinent to the ASHA Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology.
Standard IV: Knowledge Outcomes
The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of the biological sciences, physical sciences, statistics, and the social/behavioral sciences.
Implementation: Acceptable courses in biological sciences should emphasize a content area related to human or animal sciences (e.g., biology, human anatomy and physiology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, human genetics, veterinary science). Acceptable courses in physical sciences should include physics or chemistry. Acceptable courses in social/behavioral sciences should include psychology, sociology, anthropology, or public health. A stand-alone course in statistics is required. Research methodology courses in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) may not be used to satisfy the statistics requirement. A course in biological and physical sciences specifically related to CSD may not be applied for certification purposes to this category unless the course fulfills a university requirement in one of these areas.
The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of basic human communication and swallowing processes, including the appropriate biological, neurological, acoustic, psychological, developmental, and linguistic and cultural bases. The applicant must have demonstrated the ability to integrate information pertaining to normal and abnormal human development across the life span.
The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of communication and swallowing disorders and differences, including the appropriate etiologies, characteristics, anatomical/physiological, acoustic, psychological, developmental, and linguistic and cultural correlates in the following areas:
- voice and resonance, including respiration and phonation;
- receptive and expressive language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, prelinguistic communication and paralinguistic communication) in speaking, listening, reading, writing;
- hearing, including the impact on speech and language;
- swallowing (oral, pharyngeal, esophageal, and related functions, including oral function for feeding, orofacial myology);
- cognitive aspects of communication (attention, memory, sequencing, problem-solving, executive functioning);
- social aspects of communication (including challenging behavior, ineffective social skills, and lack of communication opportunities);
- augmentative and alternative communication modalities.
Implementation: It is expected that course work addressing the professional knowledge specified in Standard IV-C will occur primarily at the graduate level.
For each of the areas specified in Standard IV-C, the applicant must have demonstrated current knowledge of the principles and methods of prevention, assessment, and intervention for people with communication and swallowing disorders, including consideration of anatomical/physiological, psychological, developmental, and linguistic and cultural correlates.
The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of standards of ethical conduct.
Implementation: The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of the principles and rules of the current ASHA Code of Ethics.
The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of processes used in research and of the integration of research principles into evidence-based clinical practice.
Implementation: The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of the principles of basic and applied research and research design. In addition, the applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of how to access sources of research information and have demonstrated the ability to relate research to clinical practice.
The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of contemporary professional issues.
Implementation: The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of professional issues that affect speech-language pathology. Issues typically include trends in professional practice, academic program accreditation standards, ASHA practice policies and guidelines, and reimbursement procedures.
The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of entry level and advanced certifications, licensure, and other relevant professional credentials, as well as local, state, and national regulations and policies relevant to professional practice.
Standard V: Skills Outcomes
The applicant must have demonstrated skills in oral and written or other forms of communication sufficient for entry into professional practice.
Implementation: Individuals are eligible to apply for certification once they have completed all graduate-level academic course work and clinical practicum and been judged by the graduate program as having acquired all of the knowledge and skills mandated by the current standards.
The applicant must have demonstrated communication skills sufficient to achieve effective clinical and professional interaction with clients/patients and relevant others. For oral communication, the applicant must have demonstrated speech and language skills in English, which, at a minimum, are consistent with ASHA's current position statement on students and professionals who speak English with accents and nonstandard dialects. In addition, the applicant must have demonstrated the ability to write and comprehend technical reports, diagnostic and treatment reports, treatment plans, and professional correspondence in English.
The applicant for certification must have completed a program of study that included experiences sufficient in breadth and depth to achieve the following skills outcomes:
a. Conduct screening and prevention procedures (including prevention activities).
b. Collect case history information and integrate information from clients/patients, family, caregivers, teachers, and relevant others, including other professionals.
c. Select and administer appropriate evaluation procedures, such as behavioral observations, nonstandardized and standardized tests, and instrumental procedures.
d. Adapt evaluation procedures to meet client/patient needs.
e. Interpret, integrate, and synthesize all information to develop diagnoses and make appropriate recommendations for intervention.
f. Complete administrative and reporting functions necessary to support evaluation.
g. Refer clients/patients for appropriate services.
a. Develop setting-appropriate intervention plans with measurable and achievable goals that meet clients'/patients' needs. Collaborate with clients/patients and relevant others in the planning process.
b. Implement intervention plans (involve clients/patients and relevant others in the intervention process).
c. Select or develop and use appropriate materials and instrumentation for prevention and intervention.
d. Measure and evaluate clients'/patients' performance and progress.
e. Modify intervention plans, strategies, materials, or instrumentation as appropriate to meet the needs of clients/patients.
f. Complete administrative and reporting functions necessary to support intervention.
g. Identify and refer clients/patients for services as appropriate.
- Interaction and Personal Qualities
a. Communicate effectively, recognizing the needs, values, preferred mode of communication, and cultural/linguistic background of the client/patient, family, caregivers, and relevant others.
b. Collaborate with other professionals in case management.
c. Provide counseling regarding communication and swallowing disorders to clients/patients, family, caregivers, and relevant others.
d. Adhere to the ASHA Code of Ethics and behave professionally.
Implementation: The applicant must have acquired the skills referred to in this standard applicable across the nine major areas listed in Standard IV-C. Skills may be developed and demonstrated by direct client/patient contact in clinical experiences, academic course work, labs, simulations, examinations, and completion of independent projects.
The applicant must have obtained a sufficient variety of supervised clinical experiences in different work settings and with different populations so that he or she can demonstrate skills across the ASHA Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology. Supervised clinical experience is defined as clinical services (i.e., assessment/diagnosis/evaluation, screening, treatment, report writing, family/client consultation, and/or counseling) related to the management of populations that fit within the ASHA Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology.
Supervisors of clinical experiences must hold a current ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence in the appropriate area of practice during the time of supervision. The supervised activities must be within the ASHA Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology to count toward certification.
The applicant for certification in speech-language pathology must complete a minimum of 400 clock hours of supervised clinical experience in the practice of speech-language pathology. Twenty-five hours must be spent in clinical observation, and 375 hours must be spent in direct client/patient contact.
Implementation: Guided observation hours generally precede direct contact with clients/patients. The observation and direct client/patient contact hours must be within the ASHA Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology and must be under the supervision of a qualified professional who holds current ASHA certification in the appropriate practice area. Such supervision may occur simultaneously with the student's observation or afterwards through review and approval of written reports or summaries submitted by the student. Students may use video recordings of client services for observation purposes.
Applicants should be assigned practicum only after they have acquired sufficient knowledge bases to qualify for such experience. Only direct contact with the client or the client's family in assessment, intervention, and/or counseling can be counted toward practicum. Although several students may observe a clinical session at one time, clinical practicum hours should be assigned only to the student who provides direct services to the client or client's family. Typically, only one student should be working with a given client at a time in order to count the practicum hours. In rare circumstances, it is possible for several students working as a team to receive credit for the same session, depending on the specific responsibilities each student is assigned. For example, in a diagnostic session, if one student evaluates the client and another interviews the parents, both students may receive credit for the time each spent in providing the service. However, if student A works with the client for 30 minutes and student B works with the client for the next 45 minutes, each student receives credit for only the time he/she actually provided services—that is, 30 minutes for student A and 45 minutes for student B. The applicant must maintain documentation of time spent in supervised practicum, verified by the program in accordance with Standards III and IV.
At least 325 of the 400 clock hours must be completed while the applicant is engaged in graduate study in a program accredited in speech-language pathology by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.
Implementation: A minimum of 325 clock hours of clinical practicum must be completed at the graduate level. At the discretion of the graduate program, hours obtained at the undergraduate level may be used to satisfy the remainder of the requirement.
Supervision must be provided by individuals who hold the Certificate of Clinical Competence in the appropriate profession. The amount of direct supervision must be commensurate with the student's knowledge, skills, and experience, must not be less than 25% of the student's total contact with each client/patient, and must take place periodically throughout the practicum. Supervision must be sufficient to ensure the welfare of the client/patient.
Implementation: Direct supervision must be in real time. A supervisor must be available to consult with a student providing clinical services to the supervisor's client. Supervision of clinical practicum is intended to provide guidance and feedback and to facilitate the student's acquisition of essential clinical skills. The 25% supervision standard is a minimum requirement and should be adjusted upward whenever the student's level of knowledge, skills, and experience warrants.
Supervised practicum must include experience with client/patient populations across the life span and from culturally/linguistically diverse backgrounds. Practicum must include experience with client/patient populations with various types and severities of communication and/or related disorders, differences, and disabilities.
Implementation: The applicant must demonstrate direct client/patient clinical experiences in both assessment and intervention with both children and adults from the range of disorders and differences named in Standard IV-C.
Standard VI: Assessment
The applicant must have passed the national examination adopted by ASHA for purposes of certification in speech-language pathology.
Implementation: Results of the Praxis Examination in Speech-Language Pathology submitted for initial certification must come directly to ASHA from ETS. The passing score received at the time of application must not be more than 5 years old. Applicants who fail the examination may retake it; an applicant who has not taken the national examination at the time of application has 2 years from the time the application has been received to achieve and submit a passing score on the national examination. If the exam is not successfully passed within the 2-year application period, the applicant's certification file will be closed. If the exam is passed at a later date, the individual will be required to reapply for certification under the standards in effect at that time.
Standard VII: Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Fellowship
The applicant must successfully complete a Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Fellowship (CF).
Implementation: The Clinical Fellowship may be initiated only after completion of all academic course work and clinical experiences required to meet the knowledge and skills delineated in Standards IV and V. The CF experience must be initiated within 24 months of the date the application is received. Once the CF has been initiated, it must be completed within 48 months. If the CF has not been completed within this timeframe, the application process will be terminated. The Clinical Fellow will be required to reapply for certification and must meet the Standards in effect at the time of re-application. CF experiences older than 5 years at the time of application will not be accepted.
The CF must have been completed under the mentorship of an individual who held the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) throughout the duration of the fellowship. It is the Clinical Fellow's responsibility to identify a mentoring speech-language pathologist (SLP) who holds an active Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology. Should the certification status of the mentoring SLP change during the CF experience, the Clinical Fellow will be awarded credit only for that portion of time during which the mentoring SLP held certification. It, therefore, is incumbent on the CF to verify the mentoring SLP's status periodically throughout the Clinical Fellowship experience. A family member or individual related in any way to the Clinical Fellow may not serve as a mentoring SLP.
Standard VII-A: Clinical Fellowship Experience
The Clinical Fellowship must have consisted of clinical service activities that foster the continued growth and integration of knowledge, skills, and tasks of clinical practice in speech-language pathology consistent with ASHA's current Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology. The Clinical Fellowship must have consisted of no less than 36 weeks of full-time professional experience or its part-time equivalent.
Implementation: No less than 80% of the Fellow's major responsibilities during the CF experience must have been in direct client/patient contact (e.g., assessment, diagnosis, evaluation, screening, treatment, clinical research activities, family/client consultations, recordkeeping, report writing, and/or counseling) related to the management process for individuals who exhibit communication and/or swallowing disabilities.
Full-time professional experience is defined as 35 hours per week, culminating in a minimum of 1,260 hours. Part-time experience of less than 5 hours per week will not meet the CF requirement and may not be counted toward completion of the experience. Similarly, work in excess of the 35 hours per week cannot be used to shorten the CF to less than 36 weeks.
Standard VII-B: Clinical Fellowship Mentorship
The Clinical Fellow must have received ongoing mentoring and formal evaluations by the CF mentor.
Implementation: Mentoring must have included on-site observations and other monitoring activities. These activities may have been executed by correspondence, review of video and/or audio recordings, evaluation of written reports, telephone conferences with the Fellow, and evaluations by professional colleagues with whom the Fellow works. The CF mentor and Clinical Fellow must have participated in regularly scheduled formal evaluations of the Fellow's progress during the CF experience.
The mentoring SLP must engage in no fewer than 36 supervisory activities during the clinical fellowship experience. This supervision must include 18 on-site observations of direct client contact at the Clinical Fellow's work site (1 hour = 1 on-site observation; a maximum of six on-site observations may be accrued in 1 day). At least six on-site observations must be conducted during each third of the CF experience. On-site observations must consist of the Clinical Fellow engaged in screening, evaluation, assessment, and/or habilitation/rehabilitation activities. Use of real-time, interactive video and audio conferencing technology is permitted as a form of on-site observation, for which pre-approval must be obtained.
Additionally, supervision must also include 18 other monitoring activities. At least six other monitoring activities must be conducted during each third of the CF experience. Other monitoring activities are defined as evaluation of reports written by the Clinical Fellow, conferences between the mentoring SLP and the Clinical Fellow, discussions with professional colleagues of the Fellow, etc., and may be executed by correspondence, telephone, or reviewing of video and/or audio tapes.
On rare occasions, the CFCC may allow the supervisory process to be conducted in other ways. However, a request for other supervisory mechanisms must be submitted in written form to the CFCC, and co-signed by the CF mentor, before the CF is initiated. The request must include the reason for the alternative supervision and a description of the supervision that would be provided. At a minimum, such a request must outline the type, length, and frequency of the supervision that would be provided.
A CF mentor intending to supervise a Clinical Fellow located in another state may be required to also hold licensure in that state; it is up to the CF mentor and the Clinical Fellow to make this determination before proceeding with a supervision arrangement.
Standard VII-C: Clinical Fellowship Outcomes
The Clinical Fellow must have demonstrated knowledge and skills consistent with the ability to practice independently.
Implementation: At the completion of the CF experience, the applicant will have acquired and demonstrated the ability to
- integrate and apply theoretical knowledge,
- evaluate his or her strengths and identify his or her limitations,
- refine clinical skills within the Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology,
- apply the ASHA Code of Ethics to independent professional practice.
In addition, upon completion of the CF, the applicant must have demonstrated the ability to perform clinical activities accurately, consistently, and independently and to seek guidance as necessary.
The CF mentor must submit the Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form, which includes the Clinical Fellowship Skills Inventory (CFSI), as soon as the CF successfully completes the CF experience. This report must be signed by both the Clinical Fellow and mentoring SLP.
Standard VIII: Maintenance of Certification
Certificate holders must demonstrate continued professional development for maintenance of the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP).
Implementation: Individuals who hold the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) must accumulate 30 certification maintenance hours of professional development during every 3-year maintenance interval. Intervals are continuous and begin January 1 of the year following award of initial certification or reinstatement of certification. A random audit of compliance will be conducted.
Accrual of professional development hours, adherence to the ASHA Code of Ethics, submission of certification maintenance compliance documentation, and payment of annual dues and/or certification fees are required for maintenance of certification.
If renewal of certification is not accomplished within the 3-year period, certification will expire. Individuals wishing to regain certification must submit a reinstatement application and meet the standards in effect at the time the reinstatement application is submitted.