There are several reasons why speech-language pathologists and audiologists in the schools may receive higher salaries than teachers with similar academic degrees and years of work experience.
School employees who hold ASHA's Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) have met high standards of quality that, in most states, exceed those for initial employment. A salary increase for CCC holders will help attract and retain highly qualified professionals for the children in the school district with special needs.
Many states and local school districts provide an annual or one-time salary increase for master teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). NBPTS does not have a certification program for speech-language pathologists or audiologists. The ASHA CCC requires meeting high standards that exceed those for initial employment, and its attainment should be rewarded in the same way as NBPTS certification.
Whether or not a state or school district recognizes NBPTS certification, a local school district can still offer increased salaries to employees with the ASHA CCC by providing a step or multiple-step increase on the pay scale or by adding a certain percentage increase to the base salary.
Increased salaries assist in recruiting and retaining qualified professionals, especially when neighboring districts or states pay more. Salary increase and other compensation are then needed for recruitment and retention to be competitive.
Extra pay is needed as compensation for extra time spent on required paperwork, including Medicaid reimbursement. Some districts increase contract time per day, with pay, for paperwork. Other districts may add extra days of pay at the end of the school year.
Extra pay may be needed to make the salaries of speech-language pathologists and audiologists comparable to those of other related personnel. For example, if school psychologists are paid on a higher pay scale than speech-language pathologists and audiologists, the salary of speech-language pathologists and audiologists should be raised to this higher level. Such a change may require longer work hours or a longer contract year.
Increased salaries may be offered to meet unique local needs, such as staffing a Saturday morning program or providing bilingual/bicultural services.