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2020 Standards for ASHA Speech-Language Pathology Assistants Certification

Effective date: July 1, 2020

Introduction

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 (ASHA). The charges to the CFCC are to define the standards for assistants certification; to apply those standards in granting assistants certification to individuals; to have final authority to withdraw assistants certification in cases where certification has been granted on the basis of inaccurate information; and to administer the assistants certification maintenance program.

ASHA’s Assistants Certification Program helps improve patient/client access to speech-language pathology services by creating a pipeline of qualified professionals who meet uniform standards of competency and are committed to delivering high-quality care. The program also (a) establishes a uniform standard for the knowledge and skill level expected of assistants and (b) ensures that all ASHA-certified assistants meet the same rigorous requirements.

Citation

Cite as: Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2020). 2020 Standards for ASHA Speech-Language Pathology Assistants Certification. Retrieved from https://www.asha.org/Certification/2020-SLPA-Certification-Standards/.

The 2020 Standards for ASHA Speech-Language Pathology Assistants Certification (C-SLPA) are shown in bold. Implementation procedures follow each standard and provide clarifying information.

Standard I: Degree

The applicant for ASHA speech-language pathology assistants certification (hereafter, “applicant”) must meet one of three degree requirements to apply for certification

Implementation: Before applying for certification as an ASHA-certified speech-language pathology assistant (C-SLPA), the individual must meet one of the following eligibility requirements.

  1. Completion of an SLPA program degree (2-year minimum) from a regionally or nationally accredited institution (e.g., an associate’s degree from a community college, a technical training program, a certificate program, or a bachelor’s degree)
  2. Receipt of a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from a regionally or nationally accredited institution
  3. Receipt of a college degree (2-year minimum) and successful completion of coursework from a regionally or nationally accredited college institution in one of the areas below
    • Introductory or overview course in communication disorders
    • Phonetics
    • Speech sound disorders
    • Language development
    • Language disorders
    • Anatomy and physiology of speech and hearing mechanisms

The applicant must submit an official transcript or letter of completion from the institution’s registrar to the National Office within 60 days of the date of application. Verification of degree completion is required before the applicant can take the SLPA certification examination.

Standard II: Education

The applicant must complete mandatory course requirements in the areas of ethics, universal safety precautions, and patient/client/student confidentiality.

Implementation: The applicant must complete all mandatory coursework in the following areas no more than 2 years before application. These requirements may be met as part of an academic course.

  • 1-hour course in ethics
  • 1-hour course in universal safety precautions
  • 1-hour course in patient/client/student confidentiality training course (i.e., HIPAA, FERPA)

Applicants who complete these requirements through continuing education courses must submit proof of completion to the ASHA National Office within 60 days of application. Verification of course completion must be received before an applicant can take the assistants certification examination.

Applicants who meet Standard I through eligibility requirement 2 or 3 must complete ASHA’s online SLPA education modules or its equivalent. Verification of module completion must be submitted to the ASHA National Office within 60 days of the date of application and must be received before an applicant can take the assistants certification examination.

Standard III: Clinical Supervised Experience

The applicant must complete a clinical supervised experience  that consists of a minimum of 80 hours of direct client/patient/student services, as well as 20 hours of indirect client/patient/student services, under the supervision of an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist (SLP).

Implementation: A clinical supervised experience for purposes of ASHA SLPA certification must be completed no more than 5 years prior to application submission. Required hours of direct and indirect client/patient/student services must be completed before an individual may apply for certification. These hours may be obtained as part of an academic program or as on-the-job training/work. An applicant’s skills will be verified by their supervisor.

Supervision must be provided by a clinician who holds the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), who has the equivalent of a minimum of 9 months of full-time clinical experience after being awarded the CCC-SLP, and who has completed a minimum of 2 hours of professional development/continuing education in clinical instruction/supervision.

As stated in the Assistants Code of Conduct, SLPAs are not independent practitioners, and must be supervised by appropriately credentialed SLPs consistent with state licensing laws and/or with ASHA’s Code of Ethics, and the supervision must be sufficient to ensure the welfare of the client/patient/student. Applicants should verify that their clinical educator/supervisor meets the requirements above by using the certification verification portal.

Direct supervision may include, but is not limited to, data relative to (a) agreement (reliability) between the assistant and the clinical educator/supervisor on correct/incorrect recording of target behavior, (b) accuracy in implementation of assigned treatment procedures, (c) accuracy in recording data, and (d) effective interaction with clients/patients/students during presentation and application of assigned therapeutic procedures or activities.

Indirect supervision does not require the SLP to be physically present or available via telecommunication in real time while the SLPA is providing services. Indirect supervisory activities may include demonstration tapes, record review, review and evaluation of recorded (audio or video) sessions, and/or supervisory conferences that can be conducted by telephone and/or live, secure webcam. The SLP will review each treatment plan as needed for timely implementation of modifications.

Standard IV: Assessment

The applicant must pass the national examination created by ASHA and approved by the CFCC. 

Implementation: Applicants must meet all eligibility and submission requirements in order to be approved to take the C-SLPA national examination. Once approved, applicants must take the exam within 1 year. Applicants who receive a non-passing score may retake the examination two additional times within 1 year of their initial exam and pay a retest fee. If an applicant does not receive a passing score on the examination within 1 year of their initial application (maximum of 3 attempts) will have their application will be closed. Individuals who wish to reapply for the C-SLPA may do so by submitting a new application under the standards in effect at the time.

Standard V: Assistants Code of Conduct

Applicants and C-SLPAs must abide by ASHA’s Assistants Code of Conduct.

Implementation: Applicants for the C-SLPA and those who hold the C-SLPA are automatically subject to the jurisdiction of the ASHA Board of Ethics for Assistants Code of Conduct complaint adjudication.

Standard VI: Maintenance of Certification

C-SLPAs must complete a Maintenance of Certification Assessment (MOCA) at the end of their 3-year certification maintenance interval to show continued competency.

Implementation: C-SLPAs will be assigned to 3-year certification maintenance intervals that are continuous and begin January 1 of the year following the initial awarding of the C-SLPA or the reinstatement of the C-SLPA. C-SLPAs are encouraged to complete professional development, which enhances their knowledge and skills to practice as an SLPA.

At the end of each certification maintenance interval, C-SLPAs must complete the CFCC’s C-SLPA MOCA. C-SLPAs are given access to complete their MOCA during the last 6 months of their maintenance interval. MOCAs must be completed before C-SLPAs can move to the next maintenance interval. In addition, C-SLPAs must continue to abide by the Code of Conduct and pay annual fees in order to retain their certification.

If the C-SLPA certification expires or is lost for any reason, individuals who wish to regain the C-SLPA must submit a reinstatement application and meet the assistants certification standards in effect at the time the reinstatement application is submitted. 

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