Becoming a speech pathologist requires special training and state certification. There are, however, even more advanced levels of certification a speech therapist can obtain. The Certificate of Clinical Competence for Speech-Language Pathologists, or CCC-SLP, is given to those SLPs who meet ASHA’s level of professional standards, sometimes higher than what is required for them to become licensed in their state, depending on where they live. Learn more about how to become a CCC-SLP.
What is the Role of the CCC-SLP Credential?
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is a third-party certifying organization for speech pathologists. ASHA helps set standards and practices for speech pathologists. A CCC-SLP credential is an ASHA certification that helps to ensure that a pathologist is prepared to offer high-quality speech-language pathology services, including the professional development requirements they must continue to meet that ensure they are up to speed on the latest information in the field.
CCC-SLP credentials serve as a nationally recognized board certification to denote competence in the field. When it comes to state licensure, a CCC-SLP credential is accepted as one possible qualification, though it is usually considered optional. Not all states require a CCC-SLP credential.
- Graduate from a program accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) or from a program with CAA-candidacy status. Some prerequisite courses including basic biology, chemistry or physics.
- Obtain 1,260 hours of practical clinical experience during a Clinical Fellowship.
- Secure passing Praxis Exam scores.
- Submit a Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Fellowship (SLPCF) Report and Rating Form report in addition to application materials.
How Long Does it Take to Earn a Certificate of Clinical Competence for Speech Pathologists?
Becoming a CCC-SLP can take a number of years, when you include schooling and fellowships. To get certified you need an undergraduate degree, which typically takes four years. Then you need a speech pathologist graduate degree, which takes about two years, followed by 1,260 hours of a Clinical Fellowship. Assuming you work 35 hours a week, that would take at least 36 weeks, or nine months. Overall, you have about three years of post-graduate training required for a CCC-SLP.
How to Become a CCC-SLP
To get your CCC-SLP, you should consider doing the following:
Step 1: Complete a Speech Pathology Program
Earn a master’s in speech pathology or higher from a program accredited by the CAA. Accreditation is necessary so the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) knows the program is teaching you all the information necessary for certification. To complete the program, you must earn a minimum of 36 credit hours. Accredited programs will also require prerequisite coursework in biology, physics, chemistry, statistics, social sciences and behavioral sciences, which you will need to get your CCC-SLP credential. If you did not complete these prerequisites as an undergraduate, many schools offer bridge programs where you can take your prerequisites.
Step 2: Complete Your Practicum Hours
As you earn your degree, you must meet the 400-hour supervised practicum experience requirement, according to the 2020 certification standards. You will complete at least 325 of your practicum hours at the same time you earn your degree–depending on your undergraduate degree you may complete up to 75 hours beforehand. Twenty-five of the hours must be clinical observation, and the other 375 must be direct client contact. For each client you work with, you must be supervised at least 25% of the time.
Step 3: Get Verification from Your Program Director
On the CCC-SLP application, your program director must sign off on the fact that you not only met the practicum hours requirements but that you have demonstrated knowledge in several areas related to speech pathology, according to the 2020 certification standards. This knowledges included but is not limited to:
- Communication and swallowing processes
- Speech sound production
- Current assessment, intervention and prevention knowledge
- Social and cognitive aspects of communication
- Feeding and swallowing
- Augmentative and alternative communication
Step 4: Pass the Praxis Exam
Passing the Praxis Exam requires getting a score of at least 162. Though some states may require a lower score for licensure, most states require a score of 162 and this score is required to get your CCC-SLP credential. Typically, you will take the exam during your clinical fellowship year. The Educational Testing Services (ETS) administers this test.
Step 5: Complete Your Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY)
Complete a clinical fellowship. This fellowship must amount to no fewer than 36 weeks, where at least 35 hours was worked each week for a total of 1,260 hours. Part-time weeks where over five hours were worked count toward the total. The total requirements must be completed within 48 months of the start of the fellowship, and 80% of the 1,260 hours must include direct clinical contact. When completing your CFY, you must be mentored by a CCC-SLP. This mentor must give you a score of 3 or better on your core skills for you to be eligible for CCC-SLP certification. As of 2020, supervised clinical experiences must include some work involving interprofessional collaborative practice/interprofessional education.
For details on how to become a speech-language pathologist, check out our resource, How to Become a Speech Pathologist, a Step-By-Step Guide.
Materials to Submit to Apply for CCC-SLP Certification
- CCC-SLP Application.
- Praxis exam scores . ETS will send these to ASHA.
- Graduate transcript.
- Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Fellowship Report (SLPCF).
- Disclosure documents for those who answer yes to one of a few questions about criminal history.
Dues are paid annually to maintain certification. Your first year’s dues must be submitted with your application. Fee rates are as follows:
- Students converting to ASHA certification from NSSLHA: $286 if they apply by August 31 of graduating year.
- Recent graduate: $461, if applying within a year of graduation.
- Certification with ASHA membership: $511.
- Certification without ASHA membership: $455.
Once you submit a completed application with dues, the review process will take up to six weeks.
Speech Language Pathologist State Licensing
All 50 states and the District of Columbia require speech pathologists to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state, but typically require an accredited degree and some level of clinical practicum. States typically fall into three categories of licensure requirements:
- Those that require CCC-SLP certification.
- Those that offer CCC-SLP certification as one path to licensure.
- Those that do not ask for CCC-SLP certification, but require similar education and training.
States that require CCC-SLP certification
- Alaska: Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development
- Delaware: Board of Examiners of Speech-language Pathologists, Audiologists, and Hearing Aid Dispensers
- Hawaii: Board of Speech Pathology and Audiology
- Massachusetts: Board of Registration in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology
- Rhode Island: Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
- South Carolina: Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
- Virginia: Virginia Board of Audiology and Speech Pathology
States where CCC-SLP certification is one path to licensure
- Alabama: Alabama Board of Examiners for Speech Pathology and Audiology
- Arkansas: Arkansas Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
- California: Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board
- Connecticut: Speech Language Pathology Licensure
- Florida: Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
- Georgia: Board of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology
- Illinois: Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
- Kentucky: Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
- Louisiana: Louisiana Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
- Iowa: Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
- Michigan: Board of Speech-Language Pathology
- Mississippi: Mississippi Department of Health, Professional Licensure Division
- Missouri: Advisory Commission for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists
- Montana: Board of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists
- Nebraska: Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
- Nevada: Board of Examiners for Audiology and Speech Pathology
- New Hampshire: Speech-Language Pathology Governing Board
- New Mexico: Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology, and Hearing Aid Dispensing Practices Board
- New York: Board for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
- North Carolina: Board of Examiners for Speech and Language Pathologists and Audiologists
- Ohio: Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
- Oklahoma: Oklahoma Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
- Oregon: Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
- Pennsylvania: Department of State, Bureau of Professional & Occupational Affairs, State Board of Examiners in Speech-Language and Hearing
- South Dakota: Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology
- Tennessee: Board of Communications Disorders and Sciences
- Texas: Board of Examiners for Speech Language Pathology and Audiology
- Vermont: Vermont Department of Education
- West Virginia: Board of Examiners of Speech & Language Pathology and Audiology
- Wisconsin: Hearing and Speech Examining Board
- Wyoming: Board of Speech Pathology and Audiology
States that require similar training as a CCC-SLP for licensure
- Arizona: Arizona Department of Health Services, Office of Special Licensing
- Colorado: Office of Speech-Language Pathology Certification
- District of Columbia: DC Board of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
- Idaho: Bureau of Occupational Licenses, Speech & Hearing Services Licensure Board
- Indiana: Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board
- Kansas: Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services, Health Occupations Credentialing
- Maine: Board of Speech, Audiology and Hearing
- Maryland: State Board of Examiners for Audiologists, Hearing Aid Dispensers, and Speech-Language Pathologists
- Minnesota: Speech Language Pathology and Audiology Advisory Council
- New Jersey: Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Committee
- North Dakota: Board of Examiners on Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
- Utah: Speech Language Pathologist and Audiologist Licensing Board
- Washington: Board of Hearing and Speech
Maintaining Your CCC-SLP Credentials
To maintain certification, in addition to paying your dues you must meet continuing education requirements. Each year you will submit your compliance form, verifying 30 hours of professional development.
ASHA certification and ethics verification
ASHA adheres to a strict code of ethics. Ongoing ethics training is part of getting and maintaining CCC-SLP credentials. Out of the 30 hours of required professional development and continuing education, at least one must be on ethics. Part of being CCC-SLP certified is being verified as upholding the code of ethics. Interested parties can search your certification and ethics verification on the ASHA website.
Information last updated August 2020