Clinical Specialty Recognition: Introduction
The Council for Clinical Specialty Recognition (CCSR) welcomes your interest in obtaining recognition of your area of practice as a specialty area and in developing mechanisms to grant qualified persons holding the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence the status of specialist. ASHA's Specialty Recognition Program depends on the initiative of groups of members to apply for, implement, and maintain boards for the recognition of specialty practice. The CCSR is charged with the responsibility to implement the Program of Specialty Recognition; however, the CCSR does not initiate the creation of any specific area(s) of specialization. Petitioning Groups propose to the CCSR the establishment of particular areas of specialization.
The specialty recognition application process requires diligent attention to detail in planning and writing, initially to avoid any ambiguity about who are the practitioners and the consumers of the area of practice. Continued specificity in all documents is necessary in order for the application to include clearly described mechanisms that ensure a non-discriminatory and thorough due process for the awarding of specialty status.
The CCSR's feedback will always have the underlying theme of making certain that the proposed processes are unambiguous, equitable and developed to benefit the consumers of speech-language pathology and audiology. In addition, the CCSR may ask for clarification, greater detail, and stricter adherence to instructions, standards and requirements. While at times the process may seem tedious and unduly rigorous, the ultimate payoff is the assurance that Specialty Boards are protected from the perils of liability associated with any laxity in due process. The application lays the groundwork for the rules and regulations by which the Specialty Boards recognize specialists.
The process for establishing a Specialty Area of Practice is intended to be cooperative and supportive between the CCSR and the Petitioning Group. The process is open to groups of practitioners in the professions of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. To those ends, the CCSR has created a two-stage application process. Stage I of the Application informs the CCSR of the intent of a Petitioning Group to seek recognition of a specialty area, defines that specialty area, and documents that the Petitioning Group is composed of clinicians practicing in the specialty area. Stage I also includes publication of the intent of the Petitioning Group to apply for recognition. The public announcement is to encourage wide-spread comment from both consumer and professional groups and individuals interested in the specialty area regarding the appropriateness of identifying the practice area as an area of specialized practice and the Petitioning Group as the representative body to advocate for the establishment of a Specialty Board in that specialty area.
Successful completion of Stage I results in an approval letter that grants to the Petitioning Group the exclusive right, for a defined period of time, to proceed with Stage II of the Specialty Recognition Application in that specialty area. The intent of Stage II is to define the process by which a successful specialty recognition program in an area will be accomplished. Stage II involves documentation of the plan for recognition as a specialist, including a definition of the requirements of the practice area, the methods for assessment of knowledge and experience, and evidence of the expected organizational and financial viability of the proposed Specialty Board.
The Petitioning Group bears financial responsibility for all aspects of the application process. These costs may include, but are not limited to, costs incurred prior to obtaining revenue from membership such as test construction, application materials, secretarial support, travel, etc. A Petitioning Group has the right to withdraw their application at any time.
Upon approval by the CCSR of Stage II of the Application, a Specialty Board in that specialty area is established. The Petitioning Group, in consultation with the CCSR, is responsible for appointing the inaugural members of the Board who are responsible for implementing and maintaining the area-specific program of specialization. Specialty Boards may neither solicit nor consider specialty applications until they have completed the legal process of becoming incorporated and submitted their completed Specialty Board on (specialty area named) Manual that has been approved by the CCSR.
This application packet and Guidelines for Specialty Boards are designed to assist the Petitioning Group in the process of applying for and maintaining recognition as a specialty area. Standards for Recognition as a Specialty Area of Practice have been adopted. These area standards broadly define the criteria to be met for approval to establish a recognition program in a particular area of practice. The specific ways in which any particular Petitioning Group chooses to meet these criteria may be unique to the applicant group, and must be fully described in the application. When questions arise as you prepare your application for submission to the CCSR, please contact the CCSR Chair (or Primary Facilitator, if assigned) for guidance on completing the application, the application process, or the interpretation of the Area Standards and Specialist Standards.
More Information: View the appendices to the CCSR Application Process.