The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) - Observation & Clinical Clock Hour Requirements

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the professional and scientific credentialing association for speech-language pathologists (SLPs), audiologists, and speech, language and hearing scientists. ASHA accredits graduate speech and hearing programs in the U.S. and sets the professional standards for speech-language pathologists and audiologists.

Many students in our SPHSC bachelor’s program intend to pursue a master’s degree in speech-language pathology upon graduation. As such, majors should be aware of ASHA’s requirements regarding the guided observation of clinical services, which should occur at the undergraduate level prior to graduate enrollment, and the delivery of clinical services, which can occur at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.There are currently no clinical service observation requirements for audiology.

ASHA specifically requires students to complete a minimum total of 400 hours of supervised clinical experiences in order to qualify for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) and work as a clinical SLP.  These hours should occur at both the undergraduate and graduate level and all 400 hours meet specific requirements as described in detail in ASHA’s Standards for the CCC, Standard V-C.  The important items to note:

  • Twenty-five of the 400 hours must be guided observations of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) delivering clinical services (i.e., students spend at least 25 hours observing clinical service delivery under the guidance of a license and ASHA certified SLP). Per ASHA’s recommendation, the 25 hours of guided observation are typically completed at the undergraduate level before you begin your master’s degree, as they are important preparatory experience for graduate school. Students may still be in the process of completing observation hours when submitting applications to graduate school, but most SLP programs require completion of all 25 hours before engaging in graduate clinical work.

  • The remaining 375 hours must in in direct delivery of clinical services (i.e., students deliver SLP services under the guidance of a licensed and ASHA certified SLP). The 375 hours are typically completed during your master’s program, although some departments, like ours, allow undergraduate students to provide supervised, direct clinical services. If students complete undergraduate clinical practicum hours, they may count up to 50 clinical hours toward the 375, but the hours must be delivered on-site and in-person (i.e., not via a telehealth platform).

Please note that the twenty-five hours of guided observation in speech-language pathology are not required for the UW bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences or for the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A). If you do not plan to enroll in a master’s program in speech-language pathology, you do not need to complete observation hours. However, any majors intending to pursue a master’s degree in speech-language pathology or a clinical doctorate in audiology are strongly encouraged to complete guided observation hours during their undergraduate degree. The faculty also highly recommend that students to observe as many hours as possible above the minimum of 25, and also observe variety of evaluation and treatment services across the lifespan and practice settings.

Guided Observation Requirements

In order to count toward the ASHA 25-hour requirement, guided observation experiences must meet the following criteria:

  1. Observed clinical sessions must fall within the scope of practice of speech-language pathology and must be provided by a licensed and ASHA-certified SLP or an appropriately supervised student clinician.

  2. Observations must be done with real clinicians and real clients/patients who are or who were engaged in actual service delivery. Simulated, staged or demonstrated activities do not count toward these observation hours.

  3. Clinical services must be observed either live (in person or via telehealth) or through audiovisual recordings of previously conducted clinical sessions.

  4. Observations must be guided by a licensed and ASHA-certified SLP who has completed a least 9-months of full-time work post certification and has completed a minimum of two hours of professional development coursework in the area of clinical instruction and supervision. The SLP may be, but is not required to be, the clinician who is providing or who provided the clinical services being observed.

  5. There must be communication between the SLP and the student about the clinical observation. This communication can either occur simultaneously with the observation or occur afterwards through review and approval of written reports or summaries submitted by the student.

  6. Observations and observation time in minutes, must be documented by the student and approved in writing by the supervising SLP. Students may use the UW Observation Hour Logs provided on the Intranet or create their own record. Regardless of the mechanism used for tracking, students should be sure to document the following:

    • observation date

    • site name and location of observation

    • amount of time observed in minutes

    • type of service observed (i.e., treatment or evaluation)

    • type of client observed (adult/adolescent/child)

    • type of disorders observed (i.e., speech, language, swallowing, etc.)

    • printed name and signature of the supervising SLP

    • SLP’s ASHA number

SPHSC students wanting to learn more about how and where to observe should visit the Clinical Observations & Practicum Opportunities section of the department Intranet. 

ASHA Standards & Requirements

This information was prepared by the SPHSC faculty to explain ASHA’s observation and clinical clock hour requirements to undergraduate students. However, students are strongly encouraged to read and understand ASHA’s clinical certification standards for themselves, including the requirements for observation hours.

ASHA’s Standards for Certification in Speech-Language Pathology

ASHA’s Scope of Practice for Speech-Language Pathology

ASHA's Standards for Certification in Audiology

ASHA's Scope of Practice for Audiology