Q: Why is ASHA creating an Associates Program?
ASHA has been studying and researching the issue of including support personnel for many years. Members in a variety of work settings—and especially those who supervise support personnel—said both they and their staff could benefit from assistants having a relationship with ASHA.
In addition, audiology and speech-language pathology assistants want ASHA's help. They want certified clinicians to know that they are ready to contribute within ASHA guidelines. They also are looking for ASHA's help to provide better support for certified clinicians to improve patient care.
Q: Who may affiliate with ASHA under this program?
Affiliation is open only to individuals who, at the time of application, are working in a support position offering audiology or speech-language pathology services under the supervision of an ASHA-certified audiologist or speech-language pathologist. The associate's certified supervisor must sign the application for affiliation to be approved.
Associates must agree to abide by an ethical code and a professional practice statement that, among other stipulations, requires that they work only under the supervision of an ASHA-certified audiologist or SLP.
Q: Are associates considered ASHA members?
Associates are a category of affiliation with ASHA; another ASHA affiliation category, for example, is international affiliates. Individuals affiliating with ASHA as associates will have a number of valuable benefits, but they will not have the same rights as members. They may not vote or hold elected office.
Q: Does the program involve certification?
No, there is no certification for associates. The program has nothing to do with state regulation of support personnel. However, with this new program, there may be an opportunity for ASHA to help standardize state licensing of support personnel so that unqualified individuals do not provide patient care and to help state licensing boards better understand the limited services that should be offered by support personnel. There are widespread inconsistencies across the country regarding the licensing and use of support personnel in the professions; by including support personnel as affiliates, ASHA's ability to standardize the appropriate use of SLPAs and audiology assistants will be enhanced. State and national regulators would like ASHA to be involved in this effort.
Q: What benefits will associates receive?
Associates will be able to take advantage of networking opportunities (both virtual and onsite at conferences), affinity benefits, technical support from ASHA practices staff, advocacy opportunities, mentoring opportunities, reduced prices for education programs and products, access to the online career center, access to all journals, subscription to the Leader, subscription to an associate e-newsletter, professional development opportunities, and inclusion in ASHA's member and affiliate directory.
Q: How can I learn more about the program?
To learn more about the Associates Program, visit the Associate Program's webpage or e-mail email@example.com.