Prerequisite Course Content Areas Related to SLP Certification Standards

The Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC) is the council that carefully writes the rules and regulations for certification in audiology and speech-language pathology (SLP). The CFCC revised the SLP Standards for Certification, which outline exactly what is needed to receive the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC), a voluntary certification showing that you have met rigorous academic and professional standards, and have the knowledge, skills, and expertise to provide high quality clinical services. These requirements must be met by all applicants, whether educated in the United States or internationally. The Certification Department at ASHA ensures that all standards are equally applied to, and met by, all applicants.

In November 2017, the CFCC announced changes to the SLP certification standards, including a modification to Standard IV-A, in which the physical science requirement must be met by completing coursework in the areas of either chemistry or physics. This change pertains only to applicants who apply under the 2020 SLP standards.

Academic Coursework Requirements

All courses and classes listed in Standards IV-A through IV-C must be completed—and passed—at the undergraduate or graduate level at an accredited institution, and must appear on your undergraduate or graduate transcripts. Classes taken at the high school level are not eligible to meet this requirement, with the exception of advanced placement (AP) courses that appear for credit on your college/university transcript.

Coursework in the areas of biological sciences, physical sciences, social/behavioral sciences, and statistics cannot be related to speech-language pathology, audiology, communication sciences, hearing sciences, or logopedia unless they fulfill a university general education requirement and are available to students who are not majoring in communication sciences and disorders (CSD). Beginning January 1, 2020: applicants' coursework in physical science must include content in either physics or chemistry.

Program directors should carefully consider the content of the prerequisite coursework rather than the course title, ID number, and/or college in which the course was taken. Program directors must evaluate course descriptions or syllabi of courses that were completed prior to students entering their programs in order to determine if the content provides foundational knowledge in physics or chemistry. Program directors from programs accredited by the Council for Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) have the authority to accept or reject previously-completed coursework.

Coursework from massive open online courses (MOOCs) are not accepted. Examples of MOOCs include, but are not limited to: Educause, MOOC.org, edX, Coursera, and Khan Academy.

The following prerequisite course content information is provided as a guide to suggest areas of content in addressing the basic sciences requirements listed in Standard IV-A.

Biological Sciences

Biology

What is biology? The study and characterization of living organisms and the investigation of the science behind living things. Broad areas include: anatomy, biology, cell and molecular biology, computational biology, ecology and evolution, environmental biology, forensic biology, genetics, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biosciences, natural science, neurobiology, neurology, physiology, and zoology.

Internationally-educated applicants: Classes evaluated by your credential evaluation agency as the equivalent of U.S. high school will not be accepted. All basic science classes must appear on your undergraduate or graduate academic transcript(s) and credential evaluation reports. 

Possible Content Areas for General Biology
  • General biology
  • Cellular biology: the basic structural and functional unit of all organisms; they may exist as independent units of life (as in monads) or may form colonies or tissues as in higher plants and animals
  • Cybernetics biology: the field of science concerned with processes of communication and control (especially the comparison of these processes in biological and artificial systems)
  • Bioscience, life science: any of the branches of natural science dealing with the structure and behavior of living organisms
  • Ecology: the branch of biology concerned with the relations between organisms and their environment
  • Cytology: the branch of biology that studies the structure and function of cells
  • Embryology: the branch of biology that studies the formation and early development of living organisms
  • Evolutionism, theory of evolution, Theory of organic evolution: a scientific theory of the origin of species of plants and animals
  • Genetic science, genetics: the branch of biology that studies heredity and variation in organisms
  • Microbiology: the branch of biology that studies microorganisms and their effects on humans
  • Molecular biology: the branch of biology that studies the structure and activity of macromolecules essential to life (and especially with their genetic role)
  • Morphology: the branch of biology that deals with the structure of animals and plants
  • Neurobiology: the branch of biology that deals with the anatomy and physiology and pathology of the nervous system
  • Physiology: the branch of the biological sciences dealing with the functioning of organisms
  • Radiobiology: the branch of biology that studies the effects of radiation on living organisms
  • Sociobiology: the branch of biology that conducts comparative studies of the social organization of animals,  including human beings, with regard to its evolutionary history 

Physical Sciences

Physics

What is physics? The science that deals with matter, energy, motion, and force. A broad survey of physics principles to enable students to appreciate the role of physics in everyday experiences in today's society and technology.  

Internationally-educated applicants: Classes evaluated by your credential evaluation agency as the equivalent of U.S. high school will not be accepted.  All basic science classes must appear on your undergraduate or graduate academic transcript(s) and credential evaluation reports. 

Possible Content Areas for General Physics
  • Basic principles of physics for non-majors
  • Basic principles of mechanics
  • Basic principles of sound
  • Basic principles of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics
  • Basic principles of electricity and magnetism
  • Basic principles of energy

Chemistry

What is chemistry? Chemistry is the scientific study of substances and compounds composed of atoms and molecules, and their structure, properties, behavior, and the changes that occur during reactions with other compounds.

Internationally-educated applicants: Classes evaluated by your credential evaluation agency as the equivalent of U.S. high school will not be accepted.  All basic science classes must appear on your undergraduate or graduate academic transcript(s) and credential evaluation reports. 

Possible Course Content Areas for Chemistry
  • Functional groups and important biological molecules
  • Chemical principles in human or animal physiology (i.e., organic chemistry)
  • Atomic structure
  • Chemical bonding
  • Radioactivity
  • Behavior of gases and solutions
  • Behavior of acid and bases
  • Hydrocarbons

Statistics

What is statistics? As defined by the American Statistical Association (ASA), statistics is "the science of learning from data, and of measuring, controlling, and communicating uncertainty; and it thereby provides the navigation essential for controlling the course of scientific and societal advances."

A stand-alone course in statistics is required. Courses not accepted:

  • any directly related to CSD
  • any research methods coursework taught in lieu of, or in the absence of, basic statistics (If statistics and research methods courses were taught in conjunction with each other, you must submit a course description showing a clear delineation between the two in order for them to be accepted.)

Internationally-educated applicants: Classes evaluated by your credential evaluation agency as the equivalent of U.S. high school will not be accepted.  All basic science classes must appear on your undergraduate or graduate academic transcript(s) and credential evaluation reports.

Social Sciences and Behavioral Sciences

What are social sciences and behavioral sciences? The systematic analysis and investigation of human and animal behavior through controlled and naturalistic observation and disciplined scientific experimentation. These areas of study attempt to accomplish legitimate, objective conclusions through rigorous formulations and observation.

Possible Content Areas for Social Sciences
  • Anthropology
  • Ethnic and cultural studies
  • Archaeology
  • Area studies
  • Economics
  • Gender and sexuality studies
  • Geography organizational studies
  • Political science
Possible Content Areas for Behavioral Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Psychobiology
  • Criminology and cognitive science

Internationally-educated applicants: Classes evaluated by your credential evaluation agency as the equivalent of U.S. high school will not be accepted.  All basic science classes must appear on your undergraduate or graduate academic transcript(s) and credential evaluation reports.

Coursework Deficiencies

If you are found to be deficient in any coursework, including the above-listed prerequisite courses, that coursework must be completed at an accredited college or university program prior to beginning your clinical fellowship (CF). Time spent in your CF before completing these courses will not count toward your total (1,260) CF hours.

Once the prerequisite coursework has been completed, you must (1) obtain an official transcript showing completion of these courses

Internationally-educated applicants: Once you have completed the prerequisite coursework, you must (1) obtain an official transcript showing that the courses are complete and (2) submit this transcript with your application for ASHA certification.

Options for Completing Prerequisite Coursework

  • accredited colleges or universities (in-person/ live classes or distance learning)
  • local community colleges
  • accredited online colleges or universities
  • "Examination for Credit" options: Several accredited universities offer this option. These are acceptable if the examination is through an accredited university program that issues an official transcript showing college course credit.
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
    • CLEP exams test mastery of college-level material.
    • CLEP exam scores are accepted by many US institutions in lieu of completing coursework.
    • CLEP exam scores must be submitted to and accepted by your college or university program.
    • You must submit an official letter or transcript showing that your college or university has accepted your CLEP exam scores in lieu of coursework. Coursework or CLEP scores that do not appear on an academic transcript will not be accepted. 

University policies and procedures must be followed when considering the acceptance of CLEP or credit by examination options. In most cases, universities will award credit and it will appear on the official university transcript.

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