Early career support

Speech Pathology Australia (the Association) provides support for speech pathology students and recent graduates in the early stages of their career. On this page is information and resources to help with the transition to the workforce.

Work-Life Balance 

Arising from a survey conducted by the Speech Pathology Australia Early Career Reference Group, several strategies have been identified to help members navigate their early years in the workforce. 

View Finding the Balance 

Watch the Finding the Balance @ Home video

Watch the Finding the Balance @ Work video

A series of brief webisodes may also be helpful in learning about how to Manage productivity expectations (Part 1 and Part 2). Log in to your SPA account to access these for free. 

The Early Career Reference Group has also created a Wellbeing Template for planning and managing wellness. 

Early Career Community

The Association hosts an online community for final year students and early career speech pathologists on the Member Hub. This closed community focuses on topics related to practice during the early career stage, as well as transitioning into the profession. Participants can post questions for National Office staff and have discussions with peers about a range of professional issues. 

Resources for Professional Practice

Speech pathologists work in a variety of sectors and practice areas. The Association’s Core Documents can assist you in your work. 

Speech Pathology Australia members are required to abide by the Code of Ethics within all professional activities. If you would like to seek clarification on issues relating to ethical practice, contact the Association's Ethics team

The Professional Standards detail the minimum standards for the speech pathology profession in Australia. 

Evidence-Based Practice for Speech Pathology in Australia affirms that principles of evidence-based practice should inform all aspects of the work of speech pathologists. This document provides resources for engaging in evidence-based practices. 

The Speech Pathology Scope of Practice in Australia provides a contemporary definition of ‘practice’. It describes the scope of speech pathology practice in relation to the roles, networks and range of practice settings in Australia. 

The Association's Parameters of Practice contains information and guidelines for delegation, collaboration and teamwork in speech pathology practice. This can support your understanding of your role in a range of situations, such as your work within an interdisciplinary team, how roles and input can be shared amongst different professionals, and what roles or tasks you might delegate to an Allied Health Assistant. 

The Association's Practice Guidelines provide an outline on professional practice and workplace issues in specific areas. The document reflects on the best available evidence and practice at a point in time. Practice guidelines may be used to inform speech pathologists and other stakeholders. 

The Association’s Position Statements provide a summary of information on specific clinical and workplace issues, reflect evidence at a point in time, and outline the position of Speech Pathology Australia on a given topic. 

Certified Practising Membership with Provisional Certification

The Certification Program is in place to ensure that Certified Practising speech pathologists (CPSP) provide safe, culturally responsive, effective, and evidence-based services. New graduates join the Association with Provisional Certification, which is a transitional status prior to progressing to Full Certification. CPSP status allows speech pathologists to provide services under funding schemes like Medicare, private health funds, the Commonwealth Home Support Program, and in certain NDIS contexts (e.g., when working for a registered NDIS provider). 

To progress to Full Certification, speech pathologists with Provisional Certification must complete the following: 

  • minimum of 12 hours of supervision or mentoring from a more experienced speech pathologist. At least 6 of the 12 supervision or mentoring hours must be earned in 1:1 interactions (i.e., not group supervision or mentoring) 
  • completion of the ethics education requirements specified by the Association
  •  completion of the evidence-based practice education requirements specified by the Association
  •  accrual of a minimum of 200 speech pathology practice hours.

The eligibility requirements for transition to Full Certification must be completed within 3 years of speech pathology degree completion, or by the next membership renewal period. 

View How to transition to Full CPSP  

Finding a Job

The Association maintains an Online Career Centre which permits you to search for a job, manage your CV, and connect to career coaches. (Coaches provide services at a cost and are not affiliated with the Association). Other positions are also advertised on job search websites such as Seek, My Career and Indeed. 

The Early Career Reference Group have created the following resources for finding a job and getting started in the workplace: 

Pay and Conditions

Speech Pathology Australia has engaged the services of WorkPlace Plus.

WorkPlace Plus specialises in industrial relations, human resource management and employment law across Australia. It can also provide industrial and award advice. Contact WorkPlace Plus.

Find more information about the difference between contractors and employees.

Supervision and mentoring

The Association’s position is that new graduates and early career speech pathologists should be provided with access to supervision. A supervisor can support your transition into the workforce, help you consolidate your knowledge and skills; and guide you in issues related to the workplace and wellbeing. You can find information on supervision and how to obtain it on: 

Mentoring is different to supervision and does not focus on support for your current caseload or workplace. A mentor can support your professional learning plan and help you obtain the knowledge and skills you need for new areas of practice. The Association’s Mentoring program is free to members and allows you to identify mentors who can offer you support in a range of professional and practice areas. 

Accessing Professional Development

The Association has a number of avenues to assist you with your professional development.

Speak Up podcast

Speak Up podcast

Various Speak Up podcast episodes have been published with early career members in mind or in collaboration with the Early Career Reference Group. These include:

Listen to the Speak Up podcasts on Soundcloud.

Working in Private Practice

The Association encourages graduate speech pathologists to gain experience and consolidate their skills in an environment where they receive professional support before they commence working as a sole practitioner. Practice owners assume a range of professional, legal, and ethical responsibilities and are responsible for securing their own practice supports, including supervision. Speech pathologists who are considering the right time for them to begin working as a sole trader may be helped by a mentor, who can help them assess the knowledge, skills and attributes they require and develop a plan for acquiring these. Speech pathologists might also need to seek professional legal, tax, and insurance advice.

Working Rurally and Remotely

The Early Career Reference Group have compiled information on working rurally and remotely. This includes interviews with an early career speech pathologist who is working rurally, as well as various not-for profit organisations that support allied health professionals. Learn more about Working Rurally and Remotely.

Support from the Association

If you require advice about professional practice or working in private practice contact the Association's Professional Support Advisor.

In addition, references should be made to the Professional Resources that are available, which includes information and material on clinical practice, employment and legal issues, working with support workers, and working in the private sector.

Early Career Reference Group

The Early Career Reference Group (ECRG) was established in September 2016. The Group meets once a month to discuss issues concerning new graduates and early career speech pathologists. The primary role of this group is to identify the unique needs and concerns that early career speech pathologists may face while seeking to establish and build a professional identity and career, while supporting the Association to develop resources and supports for members. 

The group is made up of speech pathologists who have recently graduated and two Association staff. The current members of the group are: 

  • Clara Arbizu 
  • Arielle Cassian 
  • Lowri Cox 
  • Connie Huang 
  • Melissa Katris 
  • Kristen Larcombe 
  • Jenny Li 
  • Sally Marian 
  • Holly McAlister 
  • Sara Nicita 
  • Kathleen O'Reilly 
  • Steven Pitt 
  • Tanya Ramadan 
  • Julie Sax 
  • Olivia Skala 
  • Jessica Taranto 
  • Hayley Taylor 
  • Caroline Tiong 
  • Association Staff: Nichola Harris and Nathan Cornish-Raley

Work Ready resources

The Association has a range of resources for graduating students to help with the transition to the workforce. 

Access the Work Ready resources.