Professional certification is a milestone in any professional’s career. The American Speech and Hearing Association’s (ASHA’s) Certificate of Clinical Competence for Speech-Language Pathologists (CCC-SLP) demonstrates that you have completed a rigorous training program that includes:
The certification is designed to ensure that recipients can independently practice and provide high-quality clinical services to patients. The CCC-SLP demonstrates to patients, employers, and organizations that you are committed beyond the basic requirements for state licensure in the field of SLP.
The first step in obtaining your CCC-SLP is to complete the necessary course work. In most states, this means obtaining a master’s degree from a program that is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of ASHA. Course work and practicum experiences are generally completed over a two-year period.
You are eligible to take the exam after completion of academic course work and a clinical practicum and when your program has designated that you have the professional knowledge and skills necessary to enter clinical practice. The exam is comprehensive and requires you to synthesize information encompassing all your course work and practice. The exam covers:
The clinical fellowship is a transition period that occurs after the completion of your degree but before you are ready for independent practice. It is basically one year (36 weeks full time) of supervised practice under a mentor who has achieved his or her CCC-SLP. The fellowship is designed to integrate knowledge and skills from your academic program into a practice environment. You will further identify your strengths and weaknesses as an SLP. Additionally, you will improve your patient care and clinical skills. The goal is for you to be an independent SLP practitioner at the conclusion of the fellowship. Your mentor will complete rating forms that indicate your competence.
Increasingly, employers and school districts are offering salary bonuses or supplements for obtaining your CCC-SLP. Because many employers offer reimbursement based on standards of clinical practice outlined by the ASHA, your employer will be assured that the service you provide will be reimbursed. Additionally, the CCC-SLP allows you to supervise and mentor other SLPs who are working toward certification. Also, if you are planning on moving, licensure in other states may be easier. States often use ASHA Standards for Clinical Competence as their requirements for licensure. Your state licensing agency will also be able to use the ASHA’s online verification system so you will not have to provide copies of your Praxis test scores, degree, or supervised clinical experiences.
Advanced certifications are also available to demonstrate advanced knowledge, skills, and experience. These certificates are optional and not required for practice in the field, but they formally demonstrate your advanced knowledge and skills. The areas for advanced certification include:
By Pat F. Bass III, M.D., M.S., M.P.H.
Pat is a board certified General Internist and Pediatrician He has served as a reviewer for leading national publications including Pediatrics, the Journal of General Internal Medicine and the Annals of Internal Medicine. Pat is also the asthma guide to About.com, a New York Times Company. Learn more about Pat on Google+