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Speech-Language Pathologist Certification

See what's required to earn speech-language pathologist certification. Explore the benefits of certification, and learn about the education and experience requirements for eligibility.

How Can Speech-Language Pathologist Certification Benefit Me?

Becoming certified can benefit you if you are already working as a speech-language pathologist. Certification will show patients and colleagues that you meet a certain level of excellence, as defined by a professional certifying agency. In addition to showing your current excellence in the field, certification shows others your dedication to continuing your education and keeping yourself up to date with the latest research in the field. Certification also allows you to display your credentials at the end of your name: for example John Smith, CCC-SLP (Certificate of Clinical Competence - Speech-Language Pathologist).

Along with allowing you to display your credentials to others, certification provides potential practical benefits. Some employers prefer to hire individuals who have been professionally certified. Other employment benefits of certification include potential pay incentives from certain states and school districts. Certification may also make you eligible to become a mentor for others participating in a clinical fellowship.

Certification can also make it easier for you to transfer your license to another state, due to the fact that some state's licensing procedures are based on guidelines put forward by certifying organizations. You should keep in mind that certification is not the same thing as licensure, and many states require you to become licensed in order to become a practicing speech-language pathologist.

Reasons For Certification Demonstrates certain level of excellence, dedication to continuing education; increases employment opportunities, pay incentives, ability to work in other states
Certification Requirements Certification awarded by professional bodies; common requirements include master's degree in subject, experience in field
Getting Certified Requirements include producing transcripts documenting experience, exam completion, paying a fee; continuing education and certification renewal standard
Median Salary (2018)$77,510* (for speech-language pathologists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 18% growth* (for all speech-language pathologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Am I Eligible for Certification?

Certification is generally awarded by a professional organization, such as the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). While each organization may have specific eligibility requirements, most have some common education and experience requirements. In order to obtain certification by ASHA, you must have completed a master's degree in speech-language. You will also need to have experience in the field, either through employment or by completing a fellowship position.

How Do I Become Certified?

Certifying organizations generally require you to send in an application that will be reviewed by a committee who decides if you meet the standards for certification. You must show that you have met the education and experience requirements by turning in transcripts and a form documenting your experience. You may also be required to complete a test that assesses your knowledge. Along with all the materials required for the application, you may also be required to submit a fee. You should keep in mind that the application process may differ slightly if you graduated from your degree program several years ago or if you graduated from a program in a different country.

If you become certified as a speech-language pathologist, you will have to renew your certification periodically, which may involve resubmitting dues or fees. You may also have to complete continuing education units by participating in classes or symposiums that are recognized by the certifying organization.