Speech-Language Pathology Certification Exam and Requirements

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) is a nationally recognized professional credential that serves as a mark of excellence in the SLP profession and a standard licensing requirement in a number of states. Even in states where the CCC-SLP is not a requirement for licensure, it is still considered the gold-standard credential for speech-language pathologists in all practice settings.

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The CCC-SLP signifies an advanced level of knowledge, skills, and expertise, as it is reserved only for those speech-language pathologists who have met a set of rigorous academic and professional standards—often beyond what is required for state licensure. It represents a commitment to the profession, to ongoing professional development, and to ASHA’s Code of Ethics.

SLP practitioners, employers, and leaders in the field of communications sciences have developed the knowledge and skill competencies CCC-SLP candidates are expected to demonstrate based on years of skills validation studies and practice analyses.

Qualifying for the CCC-SLP requires:

  • Master’s or higher degree in Speech-Language Pathology or Communicative Sciences and Disorders
  • 400 clock-hour supervised clinical practicum included in the graduate program
  • Passing score of 162 on the SLP Praxis Exam
  • 36-week post-graduate clinical fellowship

The Many Benefits and Opportunities that Come with Earning the CCC-SLP

According to ASHA, attaining CCC-SLP certification increases opportunities for:

  • Career advancement
  • Employment
  • Job mobility
  • Professional credibility

Holding the CCC-SLP validates your skills and knowledge as a speech-language pathologist to employers, clients, state-licensing boards, and colleagues. Because participation in continuous professional development activities is required to maintain certification, the credential also shows that you are keeping up with the latest developments in the field.

Your employer can also be confident that your services will be reimbursed, as Medicaid, Medicare and private insurers often base their reimbursement requirements on ASHA’s Standards for Clinical Competence.

Further, a number of states and school districts throughout the U.S. offer salary supplements to ASHA-certified speech-language pathologists.

CCC-SLP certification also makes relocating a much easier process. ASHA provides online verification of certification to state regulatory agencies. In addition, many states use the ASHA Standards for Clinical Competence as a model for their regulatory requirements.

Degree and Clinical Fellowship Requirements for the CCC-SLP

To qualify to sit for the exam that leads to the CCC-SLP credential you must hold a post-baccalaureate degree that includes a clinical practicum of no less than 400 clock hours through a speech-language pathology program accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) AND complete a post-graduate clinical fellowship. It important to note that the supervised practicum, which is part of the graduate program, does not count towards the post-graduate clinical experience requirement.

The speech-language pathology clinical fellowship is a period of mentored professional experience that occurs upon completion of your CAA program. The purpose of a clinical fellowship is to evaluate your strengths and limitations and refine your clinical skills as you transition to independent practice.

To qualify for CCC-SLP certification, your clinical fellowship must meet the following requirements:

  • Must consist of at least 36 weeks, at 35 hours per week, for a total of 1,260 hours
  • Must be mentored by an ASHA-certified speech-language pathology professional
  • At least 80 percent of the clinical fellowship must be in direct clinical contact, such as through activities related to assessment, diagnosis, evaluation, screening, counseling, etc.

At the conclusion of your fellowship, you must achieve a score of 3 or better on the SLP Clinical Fellowship Skills Inventory form, which is completed by your mentor.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your mentor is AHSA certified. You can verify this information by calling the ASHA Action Center at 1-800-498-2071.

You do not have to complete your fellowship before applying for CCC-SLP certification. ASHA recommends registering and taking the exam no earlier than the completion of you graduate coursework and clinical practicum, or during your first year of clinical fellowship following graduation.

Applying for Speech-Language Pathology Certification

You may submit an application for CCC-SLP after you have completed your graduate degree from a CAA-accredited academic program.

You must complete and submit the Application for Certification and Membership 2014 Speech-Language Pathology Standards, along with the $461 fee for membership and certification.

To complete the application for certification, you must also submit:

The application review process takes about 6 weeks. You can contact the Action Center at 800-498-2071 if you have any questions about the application process.

Once you have applied for certification, you have two years to complete the certification process, which includes completing your clinical fellowship and passing the speech-language pathology exam. If you fail the exam, you may reapply to take it, provided it is within the two-year period; otherwise, you must reapply for certification.

Passing the Praxis Examination in Speech-Language Pathology

The Praxis Examination is designed to assess a beginning practitioner’s understanding of current practices and essential content. The exam is developed by ASHA in accordance with the latest SLP competency standards and administered through Praxis Educational Testing Service (ETS).

The current passing score for ASHA certification is 162.

Note: State licensing boards also use the Praxis SLP Exam (the same exam required for the CCC-SLP credential) to determine the competency of SLP license candidates. The passing score for state licensure may differ from what is required for CCC-SLP certification.

You must register directly with ETS for the Praxis II: Subject Assessment in Speech-Language Pathology Exam. The registration process allows you to choose the exam location and date that works best for you. There are test centers located throughout the country. You can learn more about available test centers near you here.

You can refer to the Speech-Language Pathology Study Companion to familiarize yourself with the content before takin the exam. The CCC-SLP exam consists of 132 questions divided equally among three categories (44 questions each):

  • Foundations and Professional Practice
    • Foundations
      • Typical development and performance across the lifespan
      • Factors that influence communication, feeding, and swallowing
      • Epidemiology and characteristics of common communication and swallowing disorders
    • Professional Practice
      • Wellness and prevention
      • Culturally and linguistically appropriate service delivery
      • Counseling, collaboration, and teaming
      • Documentation
      • Ethics
      • Legislation and client advocacy
      • Research methodology and evidence-based practice
    • Screening, Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis
      • Screening
        • Communication disorders
        • Feeding and swallowing disorders
      • Assessment and Evaluation
        • Developing case histories
        • Selecting appropriate assessment instruments, procedures, and materials
        • Assessing factors that influence communication and swallowing disorders
        • Assessment of anatomy and physiology
        • Referrals
        • Speech sound production
        • Fluency
        • Voice, resonance, and motor speech
        • Receptive and expressive language
        • Social aspects of communication, including pragmatics
        • Cognitive aspects of communication
        • Augmentative and alternative communication
        • Hearing
        • Feeding and swallowing
      • Etiology
        • Genetic
        • Developmental
        • Disease processes
        • Auditory problems
        • Neurological
        • Structural and functional
        • Psychogenic
    • Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Treatment
      • Treatment Planning
        • Evaluating factors that can affect treatment
        • Initiating and prioritizing treatment and developing goals
        • Determining appropriate treatment details
        • Generating a prognosis
        • Communicating recommendations
        • General treatment principles and procedures
      • Treatment Evaluation
        • Establishing methods for monitoring treatment progress and outcomes to evaluate assessment and/or treatment plans
        • Follow-up on post-treatment referrals and recommendations
      • Treatment
        • Speech sound production
        • Fluency
        • Voice, resonance, and motor speech
        • Receptive and expressive language
        • Social aspects of communication, including pragmatics
        • Communication impairments related to cognition
        • Treatment involving augmentative and alternative communication
        • Hearing and aural rehabilitation
        • Swallowing and feeding

Maintaining Your CCC-SLP Certification

To maintain your CCC-SLP credential, you must pursue continued professional development at a rate of 30 maintenance hours during each three-year certification period. Your three-year certification period begins January 1 of the year following your initial certification.

Professional development hours are calculated using a unit of measurement referred to as Certification Maintenance Hours (CMU).

Some of the acceptable professional development activities include:

  • Teacher, business, and management content
  • Employer-sponsored activities, such as formal training sessions and special education workshops
  • Supervisory and leadership content
  • State association workshops and seminars
  • Noncredit courses offered through a university
  • College/university coursework (any level, offered by regionally accredited institutions)

You must also pay annual dues and/or certification fees to maintain the CCC-SLP, with the fee schedule differing dependent on your membership and certification status.

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