Effective Date: January 1, 2020
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 clinical certification; to apply those standards in granting certification to individuals; to have final authority to withdraw certification in cases where certification has been granted on the basis of inaccurate information; and to administer the certification maintenance program.
A Practice and Curriculum Analysis of the Profession of Speech-Language Pathology was conducted in 2017 under the auspices of the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) and the CFCC. The survey analysis was reviewed by the CFCC, and the following standards were developed to better fit current practice models.
The 2020 Standards and Implementation Procedures for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) went into effect on January 1, 2020. View the SLP Standards Crosswalk [PDF] for more specific information on how the standards have changed.
Clinical educator: Refers to and may be used interchangeably with supervisor, clinical instructor, and preceptor
Cultural competence: The knowledge and skill needed to address language and culture; this knowledge and skill evolves over time and spans lifelong learning.
Cultural humility: A lifelong commitment to engaging in self-evaluation and self-critique and to remedying the power imbalance implicit to clinical interactions.
Culturally responsive practice: Responding to and serving individuals within the context of their cultural background—and the ability to learn from and relate respectfully with people of other cultures.
Individual: Denotes clients, patients, students, and other recipients of services provided by the speech-language pathologist.
Professional interactions: Refers to not only service delivery but to interactions with colleagues, students, audiology externs, interprofessional practice providers, and so forth.
Cite as: Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2018). 2020 Standards for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology. Retrieved from www.asha.org/certification/2020-SLP-Certification-Standards.
The Standards for the CCC-SLP are shown in bold. The CFCC implementation procedures follow each standard.
The applicant for certification (hereafter, “applicant”) must have a master's, doctoral, or other recognized post-baccalaureate degree.
All graduate coursework and graduate clinical experience required in speech-language pathology must have been initiated and completed in a CAA-accredited program or in a program with CAA candidacy status.
Implementation: The applicant’s program director or official designee must complete and submit a program director verification form. Applicants must submit an official graduate transcript or a letter from the registrar that verifies the date on which the graduate degree was awarded. The official graduate transcript or letter from the registrar must be received by the ASHA National Office no later than one (1) year from the date on which the application was received. Verification of the applicant’s graduate degree is required before the CCC-SLP can be awarded.
Applicants educated outside the United States or its territories must submit documentation that coursework was completed in an institution of higher education that is regionally accredited or recognized by the appropriate regulatory authority for that country. In addition, applicants outside the United States or its territories must meet each of the standards that follow.
The applicant must have completed a program of study (a minimum of 36 semester credit hours at the graduate level) that includes academic coursework and supervised clinical experience sufficient in depth and breadth to achieve the specified knowledge and skills outcomes stipulated in Standards IV-A through IV-G and Standards V-A through V-C.
Implementation: The minimum of 36 graduate semester credit hours must have been earned in a program that addresses the knowledge and skills pertinent to the ASHA Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology.
The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of statistics as well as the biological, physical, and social/behavioral sciences.
Implementation: Standalone coursework in (a) biological sciences, (b) chemistry or physics, (c) social/behavioral sciences, and (d) statistics that fulfill non-communication-sciences-and-disorders-specific university requirements. Refer to the list of acceptable coursework for further details and to the following for general guidance.
Coursework in research methodology in the absence of basic statistics is vital to speech-language pathology practices; however, it cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.
Program directors must evaluate the course descriptions or syllabi of any courses completed prior to students entering their programs to determine if the content provides foundational knowledge in the CFCC's guidance for acceptable coursework.
The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of basic human communication and swallowing processes, including the appropriate biological, neurological, acoustic, psychological, developmental, and linguistic and cultural bases. The applicant must have demonstrated the ability to integrate information pertaining to normal and abnormal human development across the life span.
The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of communication and swallowing disorders and differences, including the appropriate etiologies, characteristics, and anatomical/physiological, acoustic, psychological, developmental, and linguistic and cultural correlates in the following areas:
Implementation: It is expected that coursework addressing the professional knowledge specified in this standard will occur primarily at the graduate level.
For each of the areas specified in Standard IV-C, the applicant must have demonstrated current knowledge of the principles and methods of prevention, assessment, and intervention for persons with communication and swallowing disorders, including consideration of anatomical/physiological, psychological, developmental, and linguistic and cultural correlates.
The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of standards of ethical conduct.
Implementation: The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of the principles and rules of the current ASHA Code of Ethics.
The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of processes used in research and of the integration of research principles into evidence-based clinical practice.
Implementation: The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of the principles of basic and applied research and research design. In addition, the applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of how to access sources of research information and must have demonstrated the ability to relate research to clinical practice.
The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of contemporary professional issues.
Implementation: The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of professional issues that affect speech-language pathology. Issues may include but are not limited to trends in professional practice; academic program accreditation standards; ASHA practice policies and guidelines; cultural competency and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); educational legal requirements or policies; and reimbursement procedures..
The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of entry level and advanced certifications, licensure, and other relevant professional credentials, as well as local, state, and national regulations and policies relevant to professional practice.
The applicant must have demonstrated skills in oral and written or other forms of communication sufficient for entry into professional practice.
Implementation: Applicants are eligible to apply for certification once they have completed all graduate-level academic coursework and clinical practicum and have been judged by the graduate program as having acquired all of the knowledge and skills mandated by the current standards.
The applicant must have demonstrated communication skills sufficient to achieve effective clinical and professional interaction with persons receiving services and relevant others. For oral communication, the applicant must have demonstrated speech and language skills in English, which, at a minimum, are consistent with ASHA's current position statement on students and professionals who speak English with accents and nonstandard dialects. In addition, the applicant must have demonstrated the ability to write and comprehend technical reports, diagnostic and treatment reports, treatment plans, and professional correspondence in English.
The applicant must have completed a program of study that included experiences sufficient in breadth and depth to achieve the following skills outcomes:
a. Conduct screening and prevention procedures, including prevention activities.
b. Collect case history information and integrate information from clients/patients, family, caregivers, teachers, and relevant others, including other professionals.
c. Select and administer appropriate evaluation procedures, such as behavioral observations, nonstandardized and standardized tests, and instrumental procedures.
d. Adapt evaluation procedures to meet the needs of individuals receiving services.
e. Interpret, integrate, and synthesize all information to develop diagnoses and make appropriate recommendations for intervention.
f. Complete administrative and reporting functions necessary to support evaluation.
g. Refer clients/patients for appropriate services.
a. Develop setting-appropriate intervention plans with measurable and achievable goals that meet clients’/patients’ needs. Collaborate with clients/patients and relevant others in the planning process.
b. Implement intervention plans that involve clients/patients and relevant others in the intervention process.
c. Select or develop and use appropriate materials and instrumentation for prevention and intervention.
d. Measure and evaluate clients’/patients’ performance and progress.
e. Modify intervention plans, strategies, materials, or instrumentation as appropriate to meet the needs of clients/patients.
f. Complete administrative and reporting functions necessary to support intervention.
g. Identify and refer clients/patients for services, as appropriate.
3. Interaction and Personal Qualities
a. Communicate effectively, recognizing the needs, values, preferred mode of communication, and cultural/linguistic background of the individual(s) receiving services, family, caregivers, and relevant others.
b. Manage the care of individuals receiving services to ensure an interprofessional, team-based collaborative practice.
c. Provide counseling regarding communication and swallowing disorders to clients/patients, family, caregivers, and relevant others.
d. Adhere to the ASHA Code of Ethics, and behave professionally.
Implementation: The applicant must have acquired the skills listed in this standard and must have applied them across the nine major areas listed in Standard IV-C. These skills may be developed and demonstrated through direct clinical contact with individuals receiving services in clinical experiences, academic coursework, labs, simulations, and examinations, as well as through the completion of independent projects.
The applicant must have obtained a sufficient variety of supervised clinical experiences in different work settings and with different populations so that the applicant can demonstrate skills across the ASHA Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology. Supervised clinical experience is defined as clinical services (i.e., assessment/diagnosis/evaluation, screening, treatment, report writing, family/client consultation, and/or counseling) related to the management of populations that fit within the ASHA Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology.
These experiences allow students to:
Supervised clinical experiences should include interprofessional education and interprofessional collaborative practice, and should include experiences with related professionals that enhance the student’s knowledge and skills in an interdisciplinary, team-based, comprehensive service delivery model.
Clinical simulations (CS) may include the use of standardized patients and simulation technologies (e.g., standardized patients, virtual patients, digitized mannequins, immersive reality, task trainers, computer-based interactive).These supervised experiences can be synchronous simulations (real-time) or asynchronous (not concurrent in time) simulations.
Clinical educators of clinical experiences must hold current ASHA certification in the appropriate area of practice during the time of supervision. The supervised activities must be within the ASHA Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology in order to count toward the student’s ASHA certification requirements.
A minimum of 9 months of full-time clinical experience with clients/patients, after being awarded the CCC, is required in order for a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist to supervise graduate clinicians for the purposes of ASHA certification. Individuals who have been clinical educators may consider their experience as "clinical" if (a) they are working directly with clients/patients being assessed, treated, or counseled for speech, language, fluency, cognition, voice, or swallowing function/disorder, or providing case management, and (b) they are the client's/patient's or individual's recognized provider and as such are ultimately responsible for their care management. Individuals whose experience includes only classroom teaching, research/lab work, CS debriefing, or teaching only clinical methods cannot count such experience as "clinical" unless it meets the criteria in (a) and (b).
The applicant must complete a minimum of 400 clock hours of supervised clinical experience in the practice of speech-language pathology. Twenty-five hours must be spent in guided clinical observation, and 375 hours must be spent in direct client/patient contact.
Implementation: Guided clinical observation hours generally precede direct contact with clients/patients. Examples of guided observations may include but are not limited to the following activities: debriefing of a video recording with a clinical educator who holds the CCC-SLP, discussion of therapy or evaluation procedures that had been observed, debriefings of observations that meet course requirements, or written records of the observations. It is important to confirm that there was communication between the clinical educator and observer, rather than passive experiences where the student views sessions and/or videos. It is encouraged that the student observes live and recorded sessions across settings with individuals receiving services with a variety of disorders and completes debriefing activities as described above. Evidence of guided observations may include documentation of hours, dates, activities observed, and signatures from the clinical educator.
The guided observation and direct client/patient contact hours must be within the ASHA Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology and must be under the supervision of a clinician who holds current ASHA certification in the appropriate profession and who, after earning the CCC-SLP, has completed (1) a minimum of 9 months of post-certification, full-time experience (or its part-time equivalent) and (2) a minimum of 2 hours of professional development in the area of clinical instruction/supervision. Guided clinical supervision may occur simultaneously during the student’s observation or afterwards through review and approval of the student’s written reports or summaries. Students may use video recordings of client services for observation purposes.
Applicants should be assigned practicum only after they have acquired a base of knowledge sufficient to qualify for such experience. Only direct contact (e.g., the individual receiving services must be present) with the individual or the individual's family in assessment, intervention, and/or counseling can be counted toward practicum. When counting clinical practicum hours for purposes of ASHA certification, only the actual time spent in sessions can be counted, and the time spent cannot be rounded up to the nearest 15-minute interval.
Up to 20% (i.e., 75 hours) of direct contact hours may be obtained through CS methods. Only the time spent in active engagement with CS may be counted. CS may include the use of standardized patients and simulation technologies (e.g., standardized patients, virtual patients, digitized mannequins, immersive reality, task trainers, computer-based interactive). Debriefing activities may not be included as clinical clock hours.
Although several students may observe a clinical session at one time, clinical practicum hours should be assigned only to the student who provides direct services to the individual receiving services or the individual's family. Typically, only one student at a time should be working with a client in order to count the practicum hours. Several students working as a team may receive credit for the same session, depending on the specific responsibilities that each student is assigned when working directly with the individual receiving services. The applicant must maintain documentation of their time spent in supervised practicum, and this documentation must be verified by the program in accordance with Standards III and IV.
At least 325 of the 400 clock hours of supervised clinical experience must be completed while the applicant is enrolled in graduate study in a program accredited in speech-language pathology by the CAA.
Implementation: A minimum of 325 clock hours of supervised clinical practicum must be completed while the student is enrolled in the graduate program. At the discretion of the graduate program, hours obtained at the undergraduate level may be used to satisfy the remainder of the requirement.
Supervision of students must be provided by a clinical educator who holds ASHA certification in the appropriate profession and who, after earning the CCC-A or CCC-SLP, has completed (1) a minimum of 9 months of full-time clinical experience (or its part-time equivalent), and (2) a minimum of 2 hours of professional development in clinical instruction/supervision.
The amount of direct supervision must be commensurate with the student’s knowledge, skills, and experience; must not be less than 25% of the student’s total contact with each client/patient; and must take place periodically throughout the practicum. Supervision must be sufficient to ensure the welfare of the individual receiving services.
Implementation: Beginning January 1, 2020, clinical educators and clinicians who are involved in the preparation of student clinicians, and who provide guided observation and supervision of clinical practicum hours, must (a) hold the CCC-A or CCC-SLP and have completed a minimum of 9 months of full-time, post-certification (or its part-time equivalent) clinical experience, and (b) must complete 2 hours of professional development/continuing education in clinical instruction/supervision. The professional development/continuing education must be completed after being awarded ASHA certification and prior to the supervision of a student. Direct supervision must be in real time. A clinical educator must be available and on site to consult with a student who is providing clinical services to the clinical educator’s client. Supervision of clinical practicum is intended to provide guidance and feedback and to facilitate the student’s acquisition of essential clinical skills.
In the case of CS, asynchronous supervision must include debriefing activities that are commensurate with a minimum of 25% of the clock hours earned for each simulated individual receiving services.
Supervised practicum must include experience with individuals across the life span and from culturally/linguistically diverse backgrounds. Practicum must include experience with individuals with various types and severities of communication and/or related disorders, differences, and disabilities.
Implementation: The applicant must demonstrate direct clinical experiences with individuals in both assessment and intervention across the lifespan from the range of disorders and differences named in Standard IV-C.
The applicant must have passed the national examination adopted by ASHA for purposes of certification in speech-language pathology.
Implementation: Results of the Praxis® Examination in Speech-Language Pathology must be submitted directly to ASHA from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The certification standards require that a passing exam score be earned no earlier than 5 years prior to the submission of the application and no later than 2 years following receipt of the application. If the exam is not successfully passed and reported within the 2-year application period, the applicant's certification file will be closed. If the exam is passed or reported at a later date, then the applicant will be required to reapply for certification under the standards in effect at that time.
The applicant must successfully complete a Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Fellowship (CF).
Implementation: The CF experience may be initiated only after completion of all graduate credit hours, academic coursework, and clinical experiences required to meet the knowledge and skills delineated in Standards IV and V. The CF experience must be initiated within 24 months of the date on which the application for certification is received. Once the CF has been initiated, it must be completed within 48 months of the initiation date. For applicants completing multiple CFs, all CF experiences related to the application must be completed within 48 months of the date on which the first CF was initiated. Applications will be closed for CFs that are not completed within the 48-month timeframe or that are not submitted to ASHA within 90 days after the 48-month timeframe. The Clinical Fellow will be required to reapply for certification and must meet the standards in effect at the time of re-application. CF experiences more than 5 years old at the time of application will not be accepted.
The CF must be completed under the mentorship of a clinician who held the CCC-SLP throughout the duration of the fellowship and must meet the qualifications described in Standard VII-B. It is the Clinical Fellow’s responsibility to identify a CF mentor who meets ASHA’s certification standards. Should the certification status of the mentoring SLP change during the CF experience, the Clinical Fellow will be awarded credit only for that portion of time during which the mentoring SLP held certification. It is incumbent upon the Clinical Fellow to verify the mentoring SLP’s status periodically throughout the CF experience. Family members or individuals related in any way to the Clinical Fellow may not serve as mentoring SLPs to that Clinical Fellow.
The CF must consist of clinical service activities that foster the continued growth and integration of knowledge, skills, and tasks of clinical practice in speech-language pathology consistent with ASHA’s current Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology. The CF must consist of no less than 36 weeks of full-time professional experience or its part-time equivalent.
Implementation: At least 80% of the Clinical Fellow’s major responsibilities during the CF experience must be in direct, in-person client/patient contact (e.g., assessment, diagnosis, evaluation, screening, treatment, clinical research activities, family/client consultations, recordkeeping, report writing, and/or counseling) related to the management process for individuals who exhibit communication and/or swallowing disabilities.
Full-time professional experience is defined as 35 hours per week, culminating in a minimum of 1,260 hours. Part-time experience should be at least 5 hours per week; anything less than that will not meet the CF requirement and may not be counted toward completion of the experience. Similarly, work in excess of 35 hours per week cannot be used to shorten the CF to less than 36 weeks.
The Clinical Fellow must receive ongoing mentoring and formal evaluations by the CF mentor. Mentorship must be provided by a clinician who holds the CCC-SLP and who, after earning the CCC-SLP, has completed (1) a minimum of 9 months of full-time clinical experience (or its part-time equivalent), and (2) a minimum of 2 hours of professional development/continuing education in clinical instruction/supervision.
Implementation: Effective January 1, 2020, CF mentors for ASHA certification must complete 2 hours of professional development/continuing education in clinical instruction/supervision after being awarded the CCC-SLP and prior to mentoring the Clinical Fellow.
Direct observation must be in real time. A mentor must be available to consult with the Clinical Fellow who is providing clinical services. Direct observation of clinical practicum is intended to provide guidance and feedback and to facilitate the Clinical Fellow’s independent use of essential clinical skills
Mentoring must include on-site, in-person observations and other monitoring activities, which may be executed by correspondence, review of video and/or audio recordings, evaluation of written reports, telephone conferences with the Clinical Fellow, or evaluations by professional colleagues with whom the Clinical Fellow works. The CF mentor and the Clinical Fellow must participate in regularly scheduled formal evaluations of the Clinical Fellow’s progress during the CF experience. The Clinical Fellow must receive ongoing mentoring and formal evaluations by the CF mentor.
The amount of direct supervision provided by the CF mentor must be commensurate with the Clinical Fellow’s knowledge, skills, and experience, and must not be less than the minimum required direct contact hours. Supervision must be sufficient to ensure the welfare of the individual(s) receiving services.
The mentoring SLP must engage in no fewer than 36 supervisory activities during the CF experience and must include 18 on-site observations of direct client contact at the Clinical Fellow’s work site (1 hour = 1 on-site observation; a maximum of six on-site observations may be accrued in 1 day). At least six on-site observations must be conducted during each third of the CF experience. On-site observations must consist of the Clinical Fellow engaging in screening, evaluation, assessment, and/or habilitation/rehabilitation activities. Mentoring must include on-site, in-person observations; however, the use of real-time, interactive video and audio conferencing technology may be permitted as a form of observation, for which pre-approval must be obtained
Additionally, supervision must include 18 other monitoring activities. Other monitoring activities are defined as the evaluation of reports written by the Clinical Fellow, conferences between the CF mentor and the Clinical Fellow, discussions with professional colleagues of the Clinical Fellow, and so forth, and may be executed by correspondence, telephone, or reviewing of video and/or audio tapes. At least six other monitoring activities must be conducted during each third of the CF experience.
If the Clinical Fellow and their CF mentor want to use supervisory mechanisms other than those outlined above, they may submit a written request to the CFCC prior to initiating the CF. Written requests may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to: CFCC, c/o ASHA Certification, 2200 Research Blvd. #313, Rockville, MD 20850. Requests must include the reason for the alternative supervision and a detailed description of the supervision that would be provided (i.e., type, length, frequency, etc.), and the request must be co-signed by both the Clinical Fellow and the CF mentor. On a case-by-case basis, the CFCC will review the circumstances and may or may not approve the supervisory process to be conducted in other ways. Additional information may be requested by the CFCC prior to approving any request.
The Clinical Fellow must demonstrate knowledge and skills consistent with the ability to practice independently.
Implementation: At the completion of the CF experience, the applicant must have acquired and demonstrated the ability to:
In addition, upon completion of the CF, the applicant must demonstrate the ability to perform clinical activities accurately, consistently, and independently and to seek guidance as necessary.
The CF mentor must document and verify a Clinical Fellow's clinical skills using the Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form, which includes the Clinical Fellowship Skills Inventory (CFSI), as soon as the Clinical Fellow successfully completes the CF experience. This report must be signed by both the Clinical Fellow and CF mentor.
Certificate holders must demonstrate continued professional development for maintenance of the CCC-SLP.
Implementation: Clinicians who hold the CCC-SLP must accumulate and report 30 professional development hours (PDHs) [formerly certification maintenance hours (CMHs)], which is equivalent to 3.0 ASHA continuing education units (CEUs). The PDHs must include a minimum of 1 PDH (or 0.1 ASHA CEU) in ethics and 2 PDHs (or 0.2 ASHA CEUs) in cultural competency, cultural humility, culturally responsive practice, or DEI during every 3-year certification maintenance interval. The ethics requirement began with the 2020–2022 maintenance interval and the cultural competency, cultural humility, culturally responsive practice, or DEI requirement begins with the 2023–2025 certification maintenance interval.
Intervals are continuous and begin January 1 of the year following the initial awarding of certification or the reinstatement of certification. Random audits of compliance are conducted.
Accrual of PDHs, adherence to the ASHA Code of Ethics, submission of certification maintenance compliance documentation, and payment of annual membership dues and/or certification fees are required for maintenance of certification.
If maintenance of certification is not accomplished within the 3-year interval, then certification will expire. Those who wish to regain certification must submit a reinstatement application and meet the standards in effect at the time the reinstatement application is submitted.