After Graduation – Voluntary Professional Certification With ASHA

After completing their graduate program, we strongly encourage all students to complete the requirements for ASHA certification. 

What is the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC-SLP)?

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.

Almost all non-school employment settings require SLP practitioners to be certified by ASHA for billing, reimbursement, and professional liability insurance reasons. ASHA Certification offers increased opportunities for employment, mobility, career advancement, professional credibility, and more, because it is recognized by nearly every state's regulatory agency. If you relocate to another state to practice, ASHA certification also provides easy online verification of certification to state regulatory agencies and eliminating the need for you to provide copies of test scores, academic degree, or supervised clinical experiences.

Many school employment settings do not require ASHA certification. However, a number of school districts across the country offer salary supplements to ASHA-certified speech-language pathologists. In addition, others are starting to pay for individual SLP licenses through the WA Department of Health and ASHA certification to ensure reimbursement for diagnostics and/or treatment services provided to school children covered by Medicaid.

What are the ASHA Certification Requirements?

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 expired on Autumn 31, 2014. To apply for ASHA certification, Speech-Language Pathology graduates must provide documentation that they have completed the following:

  1. Master’s degree in speech-language pathology that meets all ASHA knowledge and skill requirements
  2. Passing score on the national Praxis exam in speech-language pathology
  3. Mentored Clinical Fellowship with an ASHA-certified professional (36 weeks, full-time employment)

1. Master’s Degree

The Master of Science program at the University of Washington is accredited by ASHA’s Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA). For that reason, students completing the Core Speech-Language Pathology program meet all ASHA 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 Educational Testing Service (ETS) and measures knowledge important for beginning, independent speech-language pathology practitioners in all primary employment settings, including schools, hospitals, clinics, and private practice, among others. A passing score of 162 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 on our Student Outcome Data 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
  • Audiology/hearing
  • 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 Core Speech-Language Pathology Master of Science degree recipients are required to successfully complete a mentored Clinical Fellowship in order to apply for and receive ASHA’s Certificate of Clinical Competence.

The Clinical Fellowship is considered an important transitional phase between supervised graduate-level practica and the independent delivery of services. Clinical fellows work as employees under the supervision of an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist and mentor. By ASHA requirements, during the Clinical Fellowship year individuals will focus on:

  • integration and application of the theoretical and practical knowledge from academic training
  • evaluation of individual strengths and limitations
  • development and refinement of clinical skills consistent with the SLP Scope of Practice

All Core Speech-Language Pathology graduates intending to apply to ASHA for the Certificate of Clinical Competence should plan to complete a post-graduate Clinical Fellowship experience totaling 1260 hours over 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 Website. 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 Speech-Language Pathology graduate program receive general information about ASHA’s Clinical Fellowship requirement prior to graduation. Through the SPHSC 565 Professional Seminar course, the faculty provides information and instruction regarding resumes, cover letters and interviewing for the Clinical Fellowship. Importantly, students receive specific information about transitioning from graduate school to the working world, including state licensure and credentialing requirements for Clinical Fellowship employment and how to identify an appropriate Clinical Fellowship supervisor.