Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the demand for Speech-Language pathologists in the country is about to go up by a stunning 19%. Significantly higher than the average for the occupation, this prediction will see more than 13,200 new job positions available every year for about 10 years. Considering a career as a speech-language pathologist is a very shrewd decision at the moment.
One of the most critical steps in becoming a speech-language pathologist anywhere in the country is proper licensure and certification. We look at everything candidates must know regarding this subject in the in-depth guide below.
Becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist
A high school diploma or GED will also make it possible for candidates to secure admission into undergraduate programs in colleges and universities. After confirming undergraduate admission and earning a bachelor’s degree, candidates may proceed to apply for admission into speech-language pathology graduate programs.
It is essential to maintain a high GPA as an undergraduate to have an easier time securing admission into a master’s program. After obtaining access, candidates will earn a master’s degree in speech-language pathology.
While enrolled in their master’s program, students must acquire real-world experience and hands-on training through externships and practicums. After this, they may proceed to earn appropriate certifications.
What is a Speech Language Pathologist Certification?
Speech-language pathology certifications are credentials that validate candidates’ knowledge and showcase to potential employers and other interested individuals that these professionals do indeed possess the range of knowledge they are supposed to have for particular fields.
Earning an SLP certification also shows that candidates have a strong character since obtaining the credential involves many rigorous steps, training, and examinations.
Currently, the primary certification option for speech-language pathologists, and the most recognized, is the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology. We look at this particular certification and other alternatives in the upcoming sections.
Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology
The CCC-SLP, short form for Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology, is the most relevant certification option for SLPs nationwide. It is offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and it is a common requirement for employment in most establishments where SLPs work.
The CCC-SLP is so essential that it is a fundamental requirement for licensure in most states. We take a look at some of the ways by which candidates can earn their CCC-SLP in the next section.
To obtain the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology, candidates must fulfill a few requirements, which include the following.
- Obtain a graduate degree in speech-language pathology
- Complete at least 30 hours of professional coursework
- Complete at least 27 semester hours of introductory science courses
- Obtain at least 21 graduate credits at the recognized training program
- Complete a minimum of 350 hours of clinical practicum, taking place under the supervision of a certified supervisor,
- Finish 36 weeks of clinical fellowship under the supervision of an accredited supervisor and
- Sit for and pass a national examination.
More on the Certificate of Clinical Competence
The Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology is generally considered the only mandatory certification for SLPs. However, it is possible (although scarce) for some employers to refrain from asking for it.
Those who ask for a Certificate of Clinical Competence do so for several reasons. To start with, the credential is capable of giving speech-language pathologists more credibility, which makes them appealing to employers. It can also expand their job opportunities.
Additionally, those looking to work independently and start their practice will benefit a great deal from having such a certification. Of course, there are other voluntary certifications to consider, and we will look at some of them shortly.
Speech-Language Pathologist Licensing
State licenses are different from certification. Thankfully, for most states, the standards for SLP licensing are based on earning a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP).
This means that candidates who successfully make their CCC-SLP do not have to worry about additional licensure requirements in most states. Of course, it is also essential for individuals to consult specific state licensing boards to verify whether or not other registration steps are required.
The following are other certification alternatives for speech-language pathologists to consider. These credentials often consolidate and prove skills in particular field areas.
Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board offers a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential for professionals who use behavior-analytic interventions to treat a handful of disorders, including peer interaction, reading, and communication disorders, among others.
Lee Silverman Voice Treatment Certification (LSVT LOUD)
The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment Certification — also known as the LSVT LOUD — is a treatment approach used to treat neurological conditions. Professionals utilize the strategy to help patients recalibrate their perceptions to speak at normal loudness levels.
It also leads to improved articulation, swallowing, and facial expressions.
Picture Exchange Communication System (PCES)
Picture Exchange Communication System (PCES) helps patients with cognitive, physical, and communication disorders. It utilizes pictures to reinforce and correct behaviors.
There are three credential levels to consider here, including the PCES Level 1 Certified Implementer, PCES Level 2 Certified Implementer, and the PCES Certified Manager.
Speech Therapy Board Certified Specialists (BCS)
Speech Therapy Board Certified Specialists (BCS) are professionals who have obtained credentials from speech-language boards. Currently, to receive such a credential, candidates must have a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology and at least three years of experience after earning the certification.
There are three boards responsible for administering speech therapy board certifications. They include:
The American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders - offers the Board-Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders certification,
The American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders - offering the Board-Certified Specialist in Fluency and Fluency Disorders ** ** certification and
The American Board of Child Language and Language Disorders - offers the Board-Certified Specialist in Child Language credential.
PROMPTS for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets
Another notable certification option is the PROMPTS for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets. Training for PROMPTS is available to speech-language pathologists in their clinical fellowship year.