Certification Program

On 1 July 2022, the term ‘professional self-regulation’ or PSR was replaced with the term ‘certification’ and a new Certification Program came into effect.

Speech Pathology Australia (the Association) is responsible for setting the standards expected of the speech pathology profession in Australia and regulates the certification of both members and non-members. The Association has a commitment to protect the public through robust certification processes and quality standards of professional practice.

The Certification Program is in place to ensure that Certified Practising speech pathologists provide safe, culturally responsive, effective, and evidence-based services. To be eligible for Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP) status, speech pathologists must meet specified recency of practice (RoP) and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.

The Certification Program:

  • incorporates outcome-based features to support speech pathologists to set goals, plan and reflect on their learning with the aim of improving practice for the benefit of service users and communities.
  • reflects the Association's commitment to enabling a culturally responsive workforce where speech pathologists critically reflect upon their biases and undertake learning to ensure service provision privileges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities.
  • ensures that speech pathologists receive professional support and undertake learning that supports their practice
  • binds all Certified Practising speech pathologists to the Code of Ethics, and aligns with the Association's Charter and Mission, Professional standards, and Scope of practice.

View the Certification Program Guide 2022

Scroll down to find out more.

What are the entitlements of Certified Practising Speech Pathologists?

Full or Provisional Certified Practising members and Non-Member Certified Practitioners can use the CPSP title from the time they are awarded initial certification and for each subsequent recertification.

Full or Provisional Certified Practising members can use the CPSP title prefixed by their member postnominal, for example, MSPA-CPSP, FSPA-CPSP or MSPA(Life)-CPSP.

To find out more click here.

What is the definition of practice?

The Association describes ‘practice’ as encompassing roles in which a speech pathologist uses their knowledge, skills, professional attributes, and ethical judgement to contribute to culturally responsive, lawful, safe and effective delivery of evidence-based speech pathology services. Practice in speech pathology is not restricted to direct services to individuals and is inclusive of all activities related to the provision of services to individuals, communities and populations with communication and swallowing needs. Speech pathology practice may be remunerated or part of a formal volunteer arrangement.

Speech pathologists may work in various roles such as practitioner, regulator, consultant, advocate, manager, academic, researcher, in policy development, prevention and promotion and other roles that result in evidence-based speech pathology service provision.

Recency of practice (RoP) requirements

Recency of practice requirements vary depending on years since degree completion, Provisional or Full certification and years since completing the Return to practice (Re-entry) program.

To find out more click here.

Return to Practice (Re-entry) Members

After successful completion of the Return to Practice (Re-entry) program, members have four years to accrue a minimum of 200 speech pathology practice hours. By five years post program completion members must have met the minimum 1000 practice hour requirement to be eligible for CPSP status.

What is Continuing Professional Development?

The Association describes CPD as a lifelong learning process and a means by which speech pathologists maintain, improve, and enhance their skills and knowledge and develop the professional attributes required throughout their careers.

CPD is an integral component in the provision of safe, effective, culturally responsive, and evidence-based services for the benefit of service users and communities.

CPD occurs when undertaking activities relevant to the role or context of the speech pathologist that strengthen current knowledge or provide new or enhanced learning.

What is a CPD hour of learning?

An ‘hour of learning’ is an hour of CPD in which a speech pathologist refreshes their existing skills or knowledge or gains new skills or knowledge that will benefit their practice. This may not necessarily align with the time spent participating in a CPD event. For example, you attend a 2.5-hour workshop and find that 30 minutes of the workshop covered familiar material during which time your current skills or knowledge were not enhanced, and you did not learn anything new. You claim 2 hours of learning. If the entire 2.5-hour workshop resulted in new or enhanced learning and you write a reflection afterwards that takes 30 minutes, you can claim 3 hours of learning.

What is professional support?

Professional support is a broad term that refers to the support provided to practitioners to assist them to develop the quality of their work, productivity, and safety and confidence to practice. This may include supervision and mentoring, but also a range of other partnerships designed to support the development of speech pathology and professional skills, abilities, and knowledge (Winstanley & White, 2003). Types of professional support partnerships could include supervision, mentoring, peer supervision, peer support, communities of practice and coaching.

Professional support can be provided by an experienced speech pathologist or another professional with expertise in the clinical or professional area in which support is needed.

A professional support partnership would include discussion and agreement about the role of participants, relevant terms, expectations and learning goals. This would be documented and shared between participants. Speech pathologists are encouraged to maintain a record of meetings, including goals, and a reflection on outcomes.

What is cultural learning?

Video presentation by the Association's Senior Advisor, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy and Practice on cultural learning and certification.

Cultural learning refers to learning that aims to support culturally responsive and safe practice when working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities

To find out more and view the video click here

Recording Continuing Professional Development

Speech pathologists are required to keep their CPD records and evidence of CPD activities for 2 years in case of selection for a certification audit.

Certification Audits

Speech Pathology Australia conducts audits to offer assurance to employers, the public and other stakeholders that Certified Practising speech pathologists are meeting the specified requirements. As a member of the National Alliance of Self-Regulating Health Professions (NASRHP), Speech Pathology Australia is required to audit 5% of Certified Practising members per year and must audit both CPD and RoP requirements.

The focus of the audits is to confirm that speech pathologists have met the minimum requirements for certification.

Selection for audit is random. Members will be notified by email and SMS if they have been selected.

Certified Practising speech pathologists can fail a Certification audit if they:

  • do not submit required documents by the due date.
  • have not met the CPD requirements and/or
  • have not met the RoP requirements.

Speech pathologists have 14 days to appeal the decision.

If a speech pathologist fails an audit, they cease to be eligible for CPSP status and the associated entitlements, until another audit confirms that the certification requirements have been met.

What are the Certification categories?

The Association offers 2 certification categories for eligible speech pathologists: Full and Provisional.

Learn more

Certification requirements

To be eligible for CPSP status, speech pathologists must meet both:

  1. Recency of practice; and
  2. Continuing professional development requirements.
Continuing Professional Development Requirements

The CPD requirements apply to both Provisional and Full Certified Practising speech pathologists.

Learn more

What counts as CPD?

You can count CPD that is relevant to your current or future speech pathology role or context and that results in new or enhanced learning. Time spent learning through engagement in CPD activities to improve or enhance any aspect of your professional practice can be claimed.

Reflective learning can also be counted as CPD, for example, time spent after a workshop reflecting on the content and implications for practice.

Is there anything that cannot be claimed as CPD?

Activities that aren’t relevant to your speech pathology practice, or that don’t result in new or enhanced learning would not be considered as CPD in the Certification Program. Examples might include routine work activities such as staff meetings, service improvement activities or repeat delivery of workshops. However, learning gained during professional development components of staff meetings or other work contexts can be claimed.

What to do each membership year

  1. Develop your learning plan
  2. Record your ‘hours of learning’
  3. Engage in at least 2 hours of professional support
  4. Engage in at least 2 hours of cultural learning
  5. At membership renewal, submit your hours of learning accrued in the preceding membership year.
CPD extensions

Extensions may be granted to members:

  • who have taken leave for a period of more than 6 months
  • who have a significant illness
  • on compassionate grounds.

An extension provides a further 1 membership year to meet the minimum CPD requirements.

The number of extensions granted is not limited, however extensions cannot be granted 2 or more years in succession.