Joint Committee on Interprofessional Relations Between APA and ASHA: Definitions of the Professions

Clinical Neuropsychologist

A clinical neuropsychologist is a professional within the field of psychology with special expertise in the applied science of brain-behavior relationships. Clinical neuropsychologists use this knowledge in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and/or rehabilitation of patients across the lifespan with neurological, medical, neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions, as well as other cognitive and learning disorders. The clinical neuropsychologist uses psychological, neurological, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological principles, techniques and tests to evaluate patients' neurocognitive, behavioral, and emotional strengths and weaknesses and their relationship to normal and abnormal central nervous system functioning. The clinical neuropsychologist uses this information and information provided by other medical/healthcare providers to identify and diagnose neurobehavioral disorders, and plan and implement intervention strategies.

—The National Academy of Neuropsychology

Minimal criteria to become an neuropsychologist (NP) include:

  1. A doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited university training program;
  2. An internship, or its equivalent, in a clinically relevant area of professional psychology;
  3. The equivalent of two (fulltime) years of experience and specialized training, at least one of which is at the post-doctoral level, in the study and practice of clinical neuropsychology and related neurosciences. These two years include supervision by a clinical neuropsychologist; and
  4. A license in his or her state or province to practice psychology and/or clinical neuropsychology independently, or is employed as a neuropsychologist by an exempt agency.

Speech-Language Pathologist

A speech-language pathologist is responsible for the diagnosis, prognosis, prescription, and remediation of speech, language, and swallowing disorders. A speech-language pathologist evaluates and treats children and adults who have difficulty speaking, listening, reading, writing, or swallowing. The overall objective of speech-language pathology services is to optimize individuals' ability to communicate and swallow, thereby improving quality of life.

—American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Speech-language pathologists, as defined by ASHA, hold the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP). Minimal criteria to become an SLP include:

  1. Master's, doctoral, or other recognized postbaccalaureate degree. from a program accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA);
  2. At least 25 hours of supervised clinical observation and 350 hours of supervised clinical practicum involving evaluation and treatment of children and adults with communication disorders;
  3. Successfully passing a national examination in speech-language pathology; and
  4. Completion of a clinical fellowship after completion of the graduate degree that consists of at least 36 weeks of full-time professional experience or its part-time equivalent.

Demonstration of continued professional development is mandated for the maintenance of the CCC-SLP. Where applicable, speech-language pathologists hold other required credentials (e.g., state licensure, teaching certification).