The American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) is one of the great SLP resources for individual’s studying or practicing Speech Pathology. The ASHA web site features SLP job postings, volunteer and networking opportunities, and accreditation, and ASHA certification information. Current and future SLP students can use this site to explore shadowing, internship, and volunteer opportunities to complement their studies gaining relevant experience and insight into the professional environment of practicing SLP’s. The stated purpose of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is: “Making effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all.” The ASHA strives to accomplish this mission by providing professional development speech pathology resources, raising public awareness of communication disorders, and taking an active role in the formulation of relevant public policy. The American Speech and Hearing Association is a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in the fields of speech pathology, audiology, and speech and hearing science.
ASHA Certification Requirements for Speech Language Pathologists
Accreditation for speech therapists working in the field of speech and language therapy is awarded by the CFCC (Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Therapy). Certification, unlike licensure, is not necessary for speech therapists to practice, but it does indicate a level of excellence in the field. Working with ASHA (American Speech Language Hearing Association), the CFCC creates and maintains standards for professional certification of speech therapists. Candidates must fulfill eight conditions in order to earn certification.
Speech and Language Therapy ASHA Certification Requirements
- Graduate degree in speech and language therapy.
- Completion of all graduate coursework.
- Ability to demonstrate graduate level skills and knowledge.
- Demonstrate knowledge in key areas.
- Demonstrate skills in key areas.
- Satisfactory performance on ASHA national exam.
- Completion of speech therapy clinical fellowship (SLP CFY).
- Obtain state licensure for speech therapy.
The first three ASHA certification requirements are closely related: a graduate degree, completion of all graduate coursework, and an ability to demonstrate graduate-level skills and knowledge. While the completion of all graduate coursework and the ability to demonstrate graduate level skills are usually required to earn a graduate degree, listing them separately guarantees the speech therapist’s educational background matches the expectations of the ASHA, even if the degree was earned at a school that is not accredited by ASHA.
The fourth requirement for ASHA certification in speech and language therapy is an ability to demonstrate knowledge in certain key areas. These areas are:
- social/behavioral sciences, physical sciences, biological sciences, statistics
- human communication and swallowing processes
- specific speech and language disorders
- methods of prevention, assessment, and intervention
- ethical conduct
- research methods and procedures in the field
- current professional issues
- certification and licensure processes
Similarly, the fifth requirement demands applicants possess certain skills and experience related to speech and language therapy. These requirements are:
- Solid oral and written communication skills
- An educational background in patient evaluation, intervention, and interaction
- At least 400 hours of supervised clinical experience, 375 of which must be in direct patient contact
- Supervision must be by certified speech therapists
- Experience must include diverse patient population and varied types of SLP disorders
- At least 325 hours of clinical experience earned during graduate study
The sixth and seventh requirements are a satisfactory performance on the national exam and completion of a speech and language therapy clinical fellowship (also known as SLP CFY). Lastly, all applicants must demonstrate a willingness and ability to maintain professional credentials.
State licensure naturally corresponds to these requirements, though some variation exists.
American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA): Member Benefits:
Members of the American Speech Language Hearing Association enjoy many benefits. SLP’s can use ASHA speech pathology resources to research opportunities for continuing education and utilize career-building tools. They can read current issues of the organization’s journals and access supplemental material (such as audio and video) not available in printed versions of the publications. Members can use the site to network with other professionals. The website features a membership directory and opportunities for social networking via LinkedIn. The association also values students preparing for careers as SLPs. The site features a number of services designed to address student needs. By visiting the website, students can find and join their local chapter of NSSLHA (an affiliate group specifically for students), peruse information on undergraduate and speech pathology graduate programs, and connect with practicing professionals for shadowing, internship and volunteer opportunities.
SLP Job Resources:
For those seeking SLP jobs, the ASHA provides a wealth of assistance. The website contains information about various SLP professional resources. Users have access to a search engine that enables them to perform research on current job openings hosted on the site. Also available are search tips for SLP job seekers, information on current employment trends, and salary data. The site even includes opportunities for ASHA certified professionals to post resumes, schedule interviews at career fairs, and build their current client base by creating a profile for their practice using the sites “ProSearch” feature. Professionals can use the ASHA web site to grow their client base, interact with colleagues, and find SLP Jobs. Students can use the ASHA speech site to find opportunities to gain experience in the field and grow their understanding of the professional environment. Whether you are a student, established SLP professional, or SLP job seeker the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) offers important SLP resources for anyone involved in the profession.