8 SLP Certifications that May Help Advance Your Career

To advance your career in speech pathology or audiology, there are speech language pathology and audiology certification options that can give you the credentials to specialize in certain areas. Some employers may look for specific certifications when filling certain roles. A certification may also enable you to work with certain populations or for various SLP providers. Compare your options to learn if one of these certifications makes sense for you and your speech pathologist career.

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  • Now accepting applications

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Earn Your Master’s in Communicative Sciences and Disorders Online at NYU Steinhardt

  • Live, online classes of no more than 15 students
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  • Now accepting applications

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  • Same standards as the on-campus program, which has 50+ years educating SLPs
  • Now accepting applications

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What Certifications Are Available in Speech Pathology?

There are various certifications for speech pathology available, depending on the types of clients you want to work with and the disorders you want to specialize in for your speech pathologist career. Since SLP certification confirms a speech pathologist has met rigorous standards in their area of expertise, having a certification may impact a speech pathologist’s salary.

The main SLP certification is the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), which is offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some employers may require the CCC-SLP.

The CCC-SLP requirements typically satisfy some or all state licensure requirements. To obtain the CCC-SLP, requirements include:

  • Abiding by the ASHA Code of Ethics
  • Earning a graduate degree in speech language pathology
  • Completing a minimum of 30 hours of professional course work 
  • Taking at least 27 semester hours of basic sciences 
  • Earning at least 21 graduate credits
  • Completing at least 350 hours of clinical practicum hours under a certified supervisor
  • Completing 36 weeks of supervised clinical fellowship
  • Passing a national examination

In some cases, you may not need certification to work as a speech pathologist. You also may be interested in getting a different certification based on what you want to specialize in or in adding another certification or ASHA clinical specialty certifications to a CCC-SLP certification. Compare certifications so you can optimize your work and continued education experience. 

What Speech Language Pathology Certifications Are Required?

Most states require that SLPs have completed an SLP master’s program and are licensed, but you don’t always need additional certification to work as a speech pathologist. However, since most states use the CCC-SLP certification requirements to guide their licensing requirements, it’s a fairly straightforward process to become a certified speech pathologist.

Certification like the Certificate of Clinical Competence matters when a specific job or employer requires it. Having those credentials added to an SLP title can give speech pathologists more credibility, which is why some employers may mandate certification. Certification can expand job opportunities, as it demonstrates an SLP has met the competency needed to work successfully as an independent SLP.

If you plan on opening up your own practice, certification may add legitimacy to your profession and help you gain clients who value certification. You’ll have to maintain certification through continued education, which may also be valuable to your practice as an SLP.

Are There Optional SLP Certifications?

In addition to the CCC-SLP certification, there are additional SLP certifications that can add to your credentials. Voluntary certification is available in areas like working with clients with Parkinson’s disease, neurological conditions, swallowing disorders and fluency disorders. Each certification will have its own requirements for SLPs to become specialized. Many require that the speech pathologist first obtains a CCC-SLP before they’re eligible to be certified in a specialty.

More Speech Pathology Certifications to Explore

If you want to specialize in a certain area, there’s a variety of voluntary speech pathology certifications you can pursue. These certifications can be added on to a CCC-SLP credential. Some employers may require these lesser-known certifications for speech pathology based on the clients served and work provided.

So what can speech pathologists specialize in? Based on what interests you in speech pathology school or in your professional life as an SLP, you may want to add on to your credentials. From child language disorders to picture exchange communication systems, the following certification options enhance expertise in a variety of areas.

Lee Silverman Voice Treatment Certification (LSVT LOUD)

Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT LOUD) is a type of speech treatment used for people with neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease and progressive supranuclear palsy. It helps people use their voice at a normal loudness level by recalibrating their perceptions. Effective treatment can lead to outcomes including:

  • Improvement in loudness
  • More variation in pitch
  • Better articulation
  • Changes in swallowing
  • Improved facial expressions while talking
  • Speech-related brain changes

SLPs who use the LSVT LOUD treatment in their practice develop one-on-one strategies that are created with individual communication goals in mind. Clients are encouraged to achieve more by always working harder in a mode labeled as “intensive dosage and high effort.” Sensory feedback is recalibrated so that clients feel increasingly comfortable with their louder voices.

To obtain LSVT certification, SLPs can take an online or live course. The courses teach treatment principles, exercise information, treatment delivery customization, assessment techniques and expected treatment outcomes. Courses are available to students and professionals. Previously certified clinicians get a discount on certification.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

The Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential is a certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Behavior analysts use behavior-analytic interventions to help clients perform socially significant behaviors such as:

  • Communication
  • Following instructions
  • Peer interactions
  • Play and leisure skills
  • Reading

Some speech pathologists pursue the BCBA certification when they work with clients who can also benefit from behavior-analytic interventions such as clients who are autistic or who have developmental disabilities. Some speech pathologists may work in schools helping students who benefit from applied behavior analysis (ABA) so having this additional certification can help these types of speech pathologists enhance their speech therapy strategies.

Since ABA can be useful to cultivate behavior, learning, motor and social skills, it complements speech therapy techniques to improve verbal communication. Sometimes behavior analysts and speech pathologists work on the same team, so having both skill sets can enhance a speech pathologist career.

There are several eligibility pathways for a BCBA certification. These include:

  • Behavior analysis degree from accredited master or doctoral program
  • Graduate degree with behavior-analytic coursework
  • Graduate degree with behavior-analytic faculty teaching and research
  • Doctoral degree with postdoctoral experience in applied behavior analysis

All four pathways require practical fieldwork in applied behavior analysis.

PROMPTS for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets (PROMPT)

PROMPTS for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets (PROMPT) is a speech intervention that is used for speech production disorders from the age of 6 months onward. The PROMPT training method develops motor skills for language development for interaction. It’s a multidimensional approach that involves physical-sensory, cognitive-linguistic and social-emotional aspects of motor performance.

PROMPT training can be used to help clients who have a speech production disorder such as:

  • Auditory processing and production disorders
  • General cognitive or global delays
  • Language formation
  • Motor control or planning
  • Phonological or “rule based” learning disorders
  • Stuttering
  • Syntax

Only speech pathologists and speech pathologist students who are in their clinical fellowship year are eligible to take PROMPT training. PROMPT students must have at least one client who is an appropriate candidate for PROMPT therapy. 

PROMPT courses are available in workshops around the globe and online. PROMPT training includes an introductory workshop, an intervention workshop, a practicum project and a self-study project.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is designed for clients who have various cognitive, communication and physical challenges. These include autism, Down syndrome and aphasia. Speech pathologists who work with clients who have communication challenges may be interested in this type of training to enhance their speech therapy offerings.  

The PECS training method is an evidence based practice that takes an ABA approach to improving communication using prompting and reinforcement strategies. Instead of verbal prompts, pictures reinforce behavior and correct errors.

There are six phases in PECS including:

  • How to communicate
  • How to generalize distance and persistence
  • Picture discrimination
  • Sentence structure
  • Attributes and language expansion using adjectives, prepositions and verbs
  • Responsive requesting
  • Commenting

There are three levels of PECS certification: PECS Level 1 Certified Implementer (PCI-1), PECS Level 2 Certified Implementer (PCI-2) and PECS Certified Manager (PCM). Training is open to anyone, including professionals and parents.

Speech Therapy Board Certified Specialists (BCS)

In addition to the certifications mentioned above, there are board certified specialist (BCS) options designed specifically for speech therapists. ASHA designates specific areas of clinical practice available for board certification for speech pathologists. In order to apply for one of the following specialty certifications, a speech pathologist must first be a CCC-SLP.

Are all speech language pathologists board certified? No. You don’t have to be board certified to practice as a speech therapist. You might be interested in becoming a board certified speech pathologist (BCS SLP) if you want to add to your credentials, specialize in a specific area in speech pathology and potentially grow your speech pathology career.

Typically, at least 3 years of CCC-SLP experience is required before becoming eligible for board specialty certification. The following are boards from which specialty speech pathology certification is available.

American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders

The American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders oversees the Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (BCS-S) certification. Swallowing disorders that cause difficulty or inability to swallow, called dysphagia, can affect a person’s ability to eat and drink enough and affect their nutrition. This board sets standards for identifying SLP experts in dysphagia.

American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders

The American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders oversees specialty certification in diagnosing and treating people with fluency disorders. Fluency disorders include cluttering, stuttering and the disruption in speech flow. The American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders approves SLP-CCCs who have demonstrated a high level of clinical expertise and knowledge in this area, providing the BCS-F credential.  

American Board of Child Language and Language Disorders

The American Board of Child Language & Language Disorders promotes high-quality services for SLP-CCCs who specialize in working with children and adolescents up to 21 years old. This board provides the opportunity for SLP-CCCs to become a Board Certified Specialist in Child Language (BCS-CL).

Board Certified Specialist Concentrations

Depending on the types of clients you work with or communication disorders you specialize in, you might consider BCS speech pathology specializations to add to your credentials. The following speech pathology specialties designate speech pathologists as experts in their fields.

Fluency and Fluency Disorders (BCS-F)

Speech pathologists who work with clients with speech disorders such as uncommon rate, repetition or rhythm of phrases, sounds, syllables and words may be interested in the BCS-F certification.

Speech therapists must have at least 3 years of full-time post-CCC-SLP experience providing direct clinical activity in the area of fluency and fluency disorders in order to be eligible to become a board-certified speech pathologist in fluency and fluency disorders. Other requirements include a verification of 100 hours or 10 continuing education units in fluency as well as three letters of recommendation.

Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (BCS-S)

With a BCS-S, SLP-CCCs are considered experts in dysphagia and can offer specialized help to clients who have swallowing disorders.

To become a board certified speech language pathologist specializing in swallowing and swallowing disorders, applicants must have completed at least 3 years of post-CCC-SLP clinical work with a focus in dysphagia. Applicants must also have completed at least 7.5 continuing education units related to dysphagia within 3 years of applying.

Child Language and Language Disorders (BCS-CL)

The BCS-CL may be useful to speech pathologists who work in schools or with children and young adult clients.

To become a board-certified speech therapist in child language and language disorders, SLP-CCCs must have at least 5 years of full-time post-SLP-CCC experience with an emphasis on child language. Applicants must also document 100 hours of intermediate or advanced educational experiences in the area of child language.

How Might Additional SLP Certifications Help Your Speech Pathology Career?

Certifications for speech therapists don’t guarantee a better job or salary, but they may help you become eligible for a wider range of positions or advance your speech therapist career outlook. The BLS reports SLPs who work in schools may need specific certifications depending on the state’s department of education or private institution.

As you consider speech pathology master’s programs, think about what speech pathology specialization you’re interested in. You can pursue work in that type of fellowship to see if it’s the type of SLP work setting you want to continue working in.

While looking for your first speech pathologist job, you may want to pursue work in that specialty as well to gain experience that may be required for certain certifications.  

Is a speech pathology certification or speech pathology degree worth it? If you enjoy helping others and are interested in speech therapy, it can be a fulfilling career. Consider various speech pathology certifications as you map out your career path.

Last Updated January 2021

Sponsored Online Speech Pathology Programs

Earn Your Online Master’s in Speech Pathology from Emerson College

  • Complete degree in as few as 20 months
  • No GRE Required for all 2021 Cohorts
  • 5-term and 9-term study options
  • Now accepting applications

Sponsored Program


NYU Campus

Earn Your Master’s in Communicative Sciences and Disorders Online at NYU Steinhardt

  • Live, online classes of no more than 15 students
  • Prepare for SLP licensure from anywhere in the country using a state-of-the-art online platform
  • Now accepting applications

Sponsored Program


Earn Your Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders Online from Baylor University

  • Complete degree in as few as 20 months
  • Full-time and part-time options available
  • Same standards as the on-campus program, which has 50+ years educating SLPs
  • Now accepting applications

Sponsored