Specialty Recognition: FAQs
What is Specialty Recognition?
Specialty Recognition is a means by which audiologists or speech-language pathologists with advanced knowledge, skills and experience beyond the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC-A or CCC-SLP) can be recognized by consumers, colleagues, referral and payor sources, and the general public. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) initiated the Specialty Recognition Program in 1995.
Who operates the Specialty Recognition Program for audiologists and speech-language pathologists?
ASHA's Council for Clinical Specialty Recognition (CCSR)* reviews and votes on petitions to establish Specialty Boards** in specific areas of clinical practice. Once approved, a Specialty Board is responsible for operating the specialty recognition program in that area, including review of individual applications and conferring of specialist status on qualified applicants. The CCSR monitors the Specialty Board's adherence to their approved program through ongoing communications and an annual report.
What are the key components of ASHA's Specialty Recognition Program?
- Completely voluntary—the program is predicated on the expectation that the majority of ASHA members will continue to practice as generalists.
- Non-exclusionary—holding specialty recognition in an area is not required in order to practice in that area.
- Member-driven—the establishment of Specialty Boards in areas of specialized clinical practice depends on the initiative of groups of ASHA members to submit petitions to the CCSR.
What value does Specialty Recognition hold for me?
There are a variety of reasons for pursuing specialty recognition. Among those most commonly cited:
- Personal satisfaction of being recognized for one's advanced knowledge, skills, and experience;
- Tool for marketing to potential patients/clients;
- Mechanism for qualifying for career ladders that are intended to recognize advanced clinical skills.
Are there Specialty Recognition programs in place?
Yes, the following areas of clinical practice have established Specialty Boards and are available for application for specialty recognition:
How can I tell if someone holds Specialty Recognition?
Individuals who hold specialty recognition identify themselves as a "Board Recognized Specialist in ___________". It is similar in concept to medical specialists who are "Board Certified". To identify specialists in an area of clinical practice or to verify that an individual currently holds specialty recognition, contact the Specialty Board in that area of practice.
Should I consider applying for Specialty Recognition?
You may want to look into the current Specialty Boards and the applications for establishing Specialty Boards in additional areas that are under consideration.
How do I go about applying for Specialty Recognition?
Contact the appropriate Specialty Board for information about their requirements and an application. Each Specialty Board is responsible for specifying the specific educational, experiential, and clinical experience beyond the CCC that must be met to qualify for specialty recognition in a given area of practice. Applications for specialty recognition in a given area of clinical practice, which list the specific requirements and application costs, are available from each Specialty Board. Contact information for Specialty Boards is available through the ASHA website.
How does a Specialty Board in a particular area become established?
Establishing a Specialty Board is a two-stage process.
- Stage I—a Petitioning Group defines the proposed specialty area, including the consumer population, and documents that the Petitioning Group is composed of practitioners who provide services in that area.
- Stage II—the Petitioning Group details the plan by which they will verify that individuals meet the specified requirements for advanced knowledge, skills, and experience to be recognized as specialists in the specialty area.
Each stage involves a period of public comment during the application process. This is announced in ASHA communication vehicles for the purpose of seeking input in support of or in opposition to the proposed specialty area/requirements. The CCSR may also seek additional input via independent verification.
* Effective January 1, 2001, the Clinical Specialty Board (CSB) was renamed the Council for Clinical Specialty Recognition (CCSR).
** Effective January 1, 2001, the Specialty Commissions have been renamed Specialty Boards.
For more Specialty Recognition information, please call 800-498-2071, ext. 5712.