A petitioning group for a proposed new specialty area may apply to the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC) for official recognition from ASHA as a Specialty Certification Board. Through this application process, the petitioning group outlines how it intends to meet the tenets for Clinical Specialty Certification as a Specialty Certification Board. Each petitioning group must adopt and implement specialty certification standards. Once approved, each Specialty Certification Board is fully autonomous and operates independently from ASHA.
There is a two-stage application process to establish a new area of practice for specialty certification.
In Stage 1, a petitioning group identifies its intention to formally apply for the creation of a Specialty Certification Board in a proposed specialty area and includes sufficient detail to enable the CCSC to make initial decisions regarding the appropriateness of the request. The petitioning group must clearly define the potential specialty area, the population of consumers, demonstrate that the group is composed of practitioners who provide service in that area, and specify how they meet the tenets for specialty certification.
If accepted by the CCSC, the petitioning group has exclusive rights to the proposed specialty area for 18 months. No other group can petition to establish specialty certification in that area during that time.
In Stage 2, the petitioning group defines the proposed clinical specialty certification program and demonstrates how the program will comply with the specialty certification standards, which include:
Prior to receiving Stage 2 acceptance, ASHA members are invited to send in their public comments about the potential new specialty area and petitioning group by completing a survey. The CCSC receives and uses the survey information to make informed decisions about permitting the petitioning group to move forward with the next phases of the process.
Following Stage 2 acceptance by the CCSC, the petitioning group is permitted to move forward with establishing their Specialty Certification Board, which includes these additional steps that must be completed before the board becomes operational and able to accept applications.
The later stages of formation can take 24–48 months to complete. During this time, the CCSC has the authority to review a Specialty Certification Board's application. The CCSC may request additional information, and request that revisions are made, if warranted, as the petitioning group moves through the final steps. Once all remaining steps are complete, the CCSC and the CFCC conduct a final review of the Specialty Certification Board's program in its entirety. Once final acceptance is issued, the Specialty Certification Board is officially recognized by ASHA.
Effective November 1, 2019
ASHA began a clinical specialty certification grant program to assist with start-up costs incurred by petitioning groups and newly-approved Specialty Certification Boards in order to increase the feasibility of establishing new specialty areas. Funding is criteria-based, and is awarded and disbursed in conjunction with distinct phases of the petitioning or specialty board formation process.
For more information about the grant program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following Specialty Certification Boards have been accepted by the CCSC and are in the process of creating their specialty certification programs.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
(application accepted March 4, 2021)
Petitioning group contacts:
Petitioning group's next steps:
Autism Spectrum Disorder
(Stage 2 application accepted July 19, 2016)
ABASD Co-Chair Contacts:
The ABASD is in the final stages of developing their Board Certified Specialist credential. Please visit their webpage or contact the ABASD directly with questions about their specialty certification program.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
(Stage 2 application accepted June 22, 2018)
ABAAC Chair contact: Dr. Katya Hill, CCC-SLP at email@example.com
The ABAAC is in the final stages of developing their Board Certified Specialist credential. Please visit their webpage or contact the ABAAC directly with questions about their specialty certification program.
Voice and Upper Airway Disorders
(Stage 2 application accepted November 6, 2018)
American Board of Voice and Upper Airway Disorders (ABVUAD) contact: Dr. Kristine Tanner at firstname.lastname@example.org
The ABVUAD is in the final stages of developing their Board Certified Specialist credential. Please visit their webpage or contact the ABVUAD directly with questions about their specialty certification program.