Medical Speech-Language Pathology Program
ASHA Certification Requirements
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the professional, scientific and credentialing association for speech-language pathologists, audiologists and speech, language and hearing scientists. ASHA oversees the credentialing of academic programs, clinical certification, continuing education and clinical specialty recognition.
- The Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC-SLP), granted by ASHA, is an internationally recognized professional credential for speech-language pathologists. While the certification process is voluntary, ASHA certification verifies to the public, employers, regulatory bodies, insurance companies and colleagues that professionals with a CCC-SLP have met rigorous standards in terms of preparation and training and ongoing continuing education and professional development.
- The Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC) is the credentialing body of ASHA. The CFCC defines the standards for clinical certification (CCC-SLP); applies those standards in granting certification to individuals; and administers the certification maintenance program. Importantly, the standards they set outline the specific knowledge and skill requirements for the profession, which includes both undergraduate and graduate-level coursework.
Effective September 1, 2014, all applicants for ASHA’s Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) will be evaluated according to the 2014 certification standards in speech-language pathology. The 2005 certification standards expire on Autumn 31, 2014. To apply for ASHA certification, Medical Speech-Language Pathology graduates must provide documentation that they have completed the following:
1. Master’s Degree
The Master’s of Science program is accredited by ASHA’s Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA). For that reason, students completing the Medical Speech-Language Pathology program meet all ASHA’s standards for Master’s level education in speech-language pathology and are eligible to apply for ASHA’s Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC).
2. National Praxis Exam
The national Praxis Exam is administered through the Education Testing Service (ETS) and measures knowledge important for beginning, independent speech-language pathology practitioners in all primary employment settings, including schools, hospitals, clinics, private practice, etc. A passing score of 600 or greater is required by ASHA for certification. The exam is typically taken by students who have completed or are at the end of their Master’s degree program, once foundational didactic and clinical coursework requirements are met. A summary of our graduate student performance on the Praxis exam is located in our M.S. Program Statistics page.
The exam lasts approximately 2 hours. Questions are administered in a multiple-choice format covering the following major content areas:
- Basic human communication processes
- Phonological and language disorders
- Speech disorders
- Neurogenic disorders
- Clinical management
- Professional / Ethical issues
- Research methodology / Psychometrics
3. Clinical Fellowship
ASHA maintains that academic and practicum experiences alone are not sufficient preparation for an individual to function as an independent, competent professional providing high quality care in speech-language pathology. Therefore, after graduation all Medical Speech-Language Pathology Master of Science degree recipients are required to successfully complete a mentored Clinical Fellowship (CF) in order to apply for and receive ASHA’s Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC).
The CF is considered an important transitional phase between supervised graduate-level practica and the independent delivery of services and clinical fellows work as employees under the supervision of an ASHA-certified Speech-Language Pathologist and mentor. ASHA specifies that during the Clinical Fellowship year individuals will focus on:
- integration and application of the theoretical and practical knowledge from academic training
- integration and application of theoretical knowledge gained in academic training
- evaluation of individual strengths and limitations
- development and refinement of clinical skills consistent with the SLP Scope of Practice
All Medical Speech-Language Pathology graduates intending to apply to ASHA for the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) should plan to complete a postgraduate Clinical Fellowship experience totaling 1260 hours across a minimum of 36 weeks. In preparation, students should familiarize themselves with ASHA’s requirements and certification process.
Students should be aware that many states require clinical fellows to register with their state licensing agency, obtain a provisional or temporary license or permit, and/or file a clinical fellowship plan. The addresses and phone numbers of the state regulatory agencies are on ASHA's Web site. Completing the Clinical Fellowship without also meeting the state requirements may jeopardize one’s ability to practice as a speech-language pathologist.
Students in our Medical Speech-Language Pathology degree program receive general information about ASHA’s Clinical Fellowship requirement prior to graduation. Through the SPHSC 565 Professional Seminar course and SPHSC 549 Clinical Forum course, faculty members provide information and instruction regarding resumes, cover letters and interviewing for CF employment. Importantly, students receive specific information about transitioning from graduate school to the working world, including job leads and contacts, state licensure requirements for Clinical Fellowship employment, how to identify an appropriate Clinical Fellowship supervisor and ASHA’s documentation requirements for certification.