There are a few different certifications available in speech language pathology for individuals who wish to choose this field for their careers. Speech-language pathologists, also known as speech therapists, are medical professionals who examine, diagnose and treat communication and swallowing disorders in adults and children. These disorders can result from many causes, and speech-language pathologists can often prevent problems from developing, In addition to having to possess a master's degree, speech-language pathologists must also be board certified. Here are some organizations that offer certifications in speech-language pathology.
American Speech-Language Hearing Association
This organization offers the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), which is usually required before the candidate can be licensed or registered; licensure is required in all states. To earn this credential, the individual must have a master's degree from an accredited speech-language pathology program, complete a fellowship with a certified speech language pathologist, submit the required documentation, pay the applicable dues and pass the exam. To maintain certification, at least 30 hours of continuing education must be completed every three years.
American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders
The American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders offers the Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing (BCS-S) credential to those who have the CCC-SLP credential and meet these additional requirements.
- Must have at least 7.5 CEUs related to dysphagia within the last three years. At least 4.5 of the 7 must be in courses sponsored by ASHA, and up to three must be CE activities not ASHA-sponsored.
- Must have at least three years of clinical work in dysphagia, and it must have occurred after becoming CCC/SLP certified. The work must include at least 450 clock hours of clinical work spent evaluating and treating swallowing disorder patients.
- Must demonstrate advanced clinical or leadership experience
American Board of Child Language and Language Disorders
The American Board of Child Language and Language Disorders offers the Board Certified Specialist in Child Language (BCS-CL) credential to candidates who meet the following requirements.
- Have the CCC-SLP certification
- Have at least five years of clinical experience working in the area of child language within the past ten years
- Must have completed at least 100 hours of intermediate or advanced educational training or ten semester hours of child language coursework past the master's degree
- Demonstrate advanced skills, knowledge and leadership in the area of child language
American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders
The American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders offers the Board Certified Specialist in Fluency (BCS-F) credential to speech-language pathologists who meet the requirements. The Board has a two-part standard for certification that must be satisfied in order to earn this credential. The first part involves applying for the credential, and to do this the applicant must:
- Have completed the training program
- Have five years of experience working as a speech-language pathologist
- Have at least 450 hours of direct patient contact working in the area of fluency disorders
- Have at least ten CEUs or 100 hours of intermediate to advanced training in fluency disorders
Once these requirements are met, the pathologist can move onto the second step, which involves submitting the application with the following.
- Application with the required fee
- Completed documentation on clinical hours performed
- Completed BCS-F continuing education form
- Copy of CEU transcripts from ASHA
- Three professional letters of recommendation
Growing up with a speech or swallowing disorder or even developing one later in life can be very traumatic and damaging to an individual's self-confidence. Speech-language pathologists are dedicated to helping these patients. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that to have the ultimate in career choices, the pathologist should obtain as many certifications available in speech language pathology.