9 Speech Pathology Certifications To Advance Your Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 14, 2022 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated September 14, 2022

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're considering a career in speech-language pathology, there are several certification paths you can take to help you prepare. For example, you can obtain a certification in fluency, then work with children with language fluency conditions and help them apply strategies and improve their abilities. Understanding your educational options and choosing the right ones for you can help you begin the career you want.

In this article, we list nine speech pathology certifications and explain how to become a speech-language pathologist.

What does a speech-language pathologist do?

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) or speech therapist is a medical professional who works with patients in examining, diagnosing and treating speech, language development, communication and swallowing medical conditions. Often, speech pathologists work with patients who have endured trauma, affecting an individual's ability to communicate verbally to overcome their challenges.

Some types of conditions a speech pathologist may address when working with patients include:

  • Strokes

  • Injuries

  • Paralysis

Related: What Is a Speech-Language Pathologist?

9 speech-language pathology certifications

The speech pathology field is diverse, and there are several certification options to choose from when entering the industry. The following SLP certifications may help you increase your skill set and improve your job performance with clients:

1. Certification of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP)

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) offers the CCC-SLP credential, which is often the initial certification requirement for becoming licensed and registered as a practicing SLP in your state. The requirements for this certification include obtaining your master's degree in speech-language pathology, completing your post-graduate fellowship and submitting the documentation for fulfilling your qualifications. Additionally, ASHA may require you to complete a minimum of 30 continuing education hours every three to five years to renew your CCC-SLP certification.

Related: 13 Alternative Careers for Speech Pathologists

2. Board-Certified Specialist Certification (BCS)

The BCS certification is the initial credential for speech pathologists specializing in one of four specific fields of speech pathology, including child language, fluency and swallowing conditions. After completing an accredited graduate program and passing the practical exam for speech-language pathology, you can obtain your BCS certification by specializing in one of these four fields with a Clinical Specialty Certification (CSC).

3. Child Language and Language Disorders Certification (BCS-CL)

The BCS-CL certification allows SLPs to work with children with language development conditions. This certification is one of four specialty licenses offered through the American Board of Child Language and Language Disorders. The requirements include possessing your initial CCC-SLP certification and having experience working with child language conditions before applying for licensure. Renewal may follow similar requirements as the CCC-SLP certification because of the ASHA standards.

Related: Skills for Working with Children: Definition and Examples

4. Board-Certified Specialist in Fluency and Fluency Disorders Certification (BCS-F)

The American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders offers the BCS-F for SLPs specializing in the field. Typically, a BCS-F certification enables an SLP to work with adults and children with speech conditions related to fluency, including stuttering, lisps and other speech fluency conditions. To qualify for the BCS-F certification, it's essential to possess your initial CCC-SLP credential and fulfill your state's educational and clinical fellowship requirements. Renewal for the BCS-F certification may adhere to similar requirements as those for the CCC-SLP certification, including continuing education as part of the requirements for license renewal.

Related: FAQ: What Type of Jobs Can You Do with a Speech Pathology Degree?

5. Board-Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (BCS-S) certification

The BCS-S allows a board-certified specialist SLP to work with patients with medical swallowing conditions. The course can prepare you for several situations and techniques to implement in therapy sessions with patients. Often, these professionals may work in pediatrics. They may also work with adult patients with swallowing disorders related to several medical conditions.

6. Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) certification

The LSVT certification is available for SLPs specializing in patients with Parkinson's. Typically, LSVT-certified SLPs work with patients to improve vocal expression, articulation, swallowing and neural and muscular functioning. You can also apply the approach and principles of the LSVT program to SLPs who work with patients with speech impairments because of other neurological challenges. The requirements for this certification include completing a graduate degree in speech pathology and obtaining your CCC-SLP certification. You may also apply for your LSVT certification while completing your clinical fellowship.

7. PROMPT for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets certification

The PROMPT for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets certification offers credentials to SLPs who work with patients to develop and improve their motor, speech and communication abilities. They can use various techniques, such as integrating various words and phrases and focusing on diction, pronunciation and articulation to help the patients overcome their challenges. The PROMPT organization may require you to practice in the field for a minimum of five years, attend workshops, complete practicums and submit a project to qualify for the certification.

Related: 20 Medical Specialties and Subspecialties To Explore

8. Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

The PECS certification from the Pyramid Educational Consultants helps you with clients who may have cognitive communication and physical challenges. This certification provides the materials and tools to expand your SLP techniques for working with clients to overcome these obstacles. The course uses an applied behavioral analysis (ABA) approach with evidence-based training methods to improve your communication and instruction strategies for these clients. PECS methods mean using pictures to reinforce positive behaviors and correct errors. Here are the six phases of PECS:

  • Learning how to communicate

  • Understanding how to generalize distance and persistence

  • Learning picture discrimination

  • Understanding sentence structure

  • Learning how to use adjectives, prepositions and verbs for attributes and language expansion

  • Understanding responsive requests

  • Learning about commenting

9. Certification for Motor Skills for Language Development

You can earn the Certification for Motor Skills for Language Development from PROMPTs for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets, also called the PROMPT Institute. This certification helps you support clients experiencing challenges using their oral motor skills, such as motor control, delays in cognitive abilities, auditory processing conditions or learning conditions with phonetics.In the course, you can learn how to help clients with stutters, language formations or syntax challenges using various treatment approaches. The treatment approaches can include a cognitive-linguistic method accompanied by using your empathy skills. To complete this course, you may attend workshops, conduct self-study projects and perform a practicum.

Related: What Is Cognitive Ability? How To Improve Your Cognitive Skills

How to become a speech-language pathologist

To become a speech-language pathologist, research accredited programs offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in the field. The following steps provide a guide for completing the educational and certification requirements to become a speech pathologist:

Obtain your undergraduate degree

Obtain your bachelor's degree in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) or a related field before completing your master's degree. The undergraduate program for speech pathology prepares you for more advanced studies when you enter your graduate program. In the CSD undergraduate program, you may learn the basic science of human communications and the biological, physical, social and linguistic speech approaches. Additionally, you may learn about what happens when human communication experiences impairments.

Alternative degrees you can earn include:

  • Bachelor's degree in speech-language pathology and audiology

  • Bachelor's degree in education

  • Bachelor's degree in linguistics

  • Bachelor's degree in psychology

Related: What Can You Do With an Undergraduate Degree in Speech Pathology?

Complete a master's program for speech-language pathology

After completing your undergraduate program, enroll in a graduate program accredited through the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). The graduate program you complete may focus on the field of speech-language pathology. In your master's program, you can complete clinical hours through an internship, helping you gain field experience and apply your skills in a real-world setting.

Here are some courses you may take:

  • Language development

  • Introduction to speech and hearing science

  • Phonetics

  • Introduction to audiology

Related: 14 Speech-Language Pathologist Skills

Complete post-graduate clinical training

After obtaining your master's degree in speech-language pathology, complete a post-graduate fellowship or clinical training. You can work directly with speech patients to further develop your skills, such as applying therapy techniques. States may require you to complete around 1,000 hours of clinical fellowship.

Related: A Day in the Life of a Speech Pathologist: Duties and Requirements

Obtain your CCC-SLP certification

Once you have completed your fellowship, take the examination for CCC-SLP. The exam can include topics testing your knowledge and skills that focus on speech evaluation, diagnoses, treatments and the foundational principles of speech therapy. Completing your graduate program and clinical fellowship and passing your exam may qualify you for this certification.

Apply for your license

To practice as a speech-language pathologist, your state and organization may require you to earn your license before hiring you. For example, organizations may require you to pass the Praxis Two Examination in Speech-Language Pathology by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and receive a score of 162. After the exam, research your state's speech-language pathology and audiology board license requirements before applying for it. Additionally, you may choose to earn certification through ASHA, specifically the CCC-SLP department.

Apply for additional certifications

As you develop throughout your career, you may choose to further your education and advance your qualifications by obtaining additional certifications in speech and language pathology. For instance, you might pursue your fluency disorder certification to work with patients experiencing challenges with stutters and lisps.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Explore more articles