(effective from 1 July 2022)
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 Practicing speech pathologists to the Code of Ethics (SPA, 2020) and aligns with the Association's Charter and Mission, Professional standards (SPA, 2020) and Scope of practice (SPA, 2022).
View the Certification Program Guide 2022
View the CPD Requirements Flyer 2022
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.
Non-Member Certified Practitioners are not permitted to imply they are a member of SPA or use the SPA logo.
CPSP status allows speech pathologists to provide services to individuals funded by the following schemes:
- National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
- private health insurance agencies
- the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP).
Speech pathologists who are registered NDIS providers, contractors or employees of registered NDIS providers are required to hold CPSP status. This includes those delivering supports to agency and plan-managed participants.
Speech pathologists with Full certification are eligible for a Letter of Good Standing.
Only Certified Practising members of the Association are issued with membership certificates.
What are the Certification categories?
The Association offers 2 certification categories for eligible speech pathologists: Provisional and Full.
Provisional Certification – information for new graduates
Provisional Certification is a transitional status prior to a speech pathologist progressing to Full Certification.
To be eligible for Provisional Certification, graduates must apply for Certified Practising Membership or Non-Member Practitioner Certification within 3 years of completing their speech pathology degree. Speech pathologists must hold Provisional Certification for at least 12 months.
Speech pathologists with Provisional Certification are not eligible to receive a Letter of Good Standing.
To progress to Full Certification, speech pathologists with Provisional Certification must complete the following:
- receipt of a 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 following membership renewal period.
Speech pathologists who are awarded Provisional Certification more than 2 and less than 3 years following completion of their speech pathology degree may be granted 12 months to complete the eligibility requirements for Full Certification.
Speech pathologists with Provisional certification can self-assign hours of learning for completing the mandatory ethics and evidence-based practice education modules.
View How to transition to Full CPSP
To be eligible for CPSP status, speech pathologists must meet both:
- Recency of practice; and
- Continuing professional development requirements.
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.
|At the time you renewed or applied for SPA membership (or Non-Member Certification), when did you complete your speech pathology degree?
||Minimum hours of required speech pathology practice
||Approximate equivalent in weeks
|5 or more years ago
||1000 hours in the 5 years prior to application or renewal
||Full time for 27 weeks, or 3 days a week for 12 months.
|More than 3 and less than 5 years ago.
||200 hours since completion of degree
||Full time for 6 weeks.
|Less than 3 years ago
||Provisional-CPSPs have 3 years from degree completion to accrue 200 practice hours and complete additional CPD requirements to be eligible for Full CPSP status.
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.
Continuing Professional Development Requirements
The CPD requirements apply to both Provisional and Full Certified Practising speech pathologists.
The minimum CPD requirements:
- Engage in a minimum of 20 hours of learning per membership year that includes the following learning activities:
- a minimum of 2 hours receipt of professional support
- a minimum of 2 hours of cultural learning i.e., learning that supports cultural responsiveness and culturally safe practice with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities.
- Develop a CPD plan and goals.
- Maintain an accurate CPD record or log.
- Seek to ensure CPD activities contribute to quality of practice.
- Seek to ensure CPD activities benefit service users and/or communities.
- Engage in CPD that draws on the best available evidence.
- new or enhanced learning
- learning relevant to the speech pathologist’s current or future role or context
- reflective learning.
||Minimum hours of learning
||Total MUST be at least 20 hours of learning
- There are no caps i.e., no specified maximum number of hours of learning for any category.
- Learning gained from provision of professional support or student supervision can be documented under Code O.
- Learning related to cultures other than those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples can be recorded under Code O.
- Speech pathologists are encouraged to document their reflections on learning outcomes.
- Speech pathologists are encouraged to discern and document the number of hours of learning accrued in alignment with SPA's definition of CPD.
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 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 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?
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.
It is recommended that cultural learning occur both formally and informally. Formal cultural learning could include attendance at workshops or reading academic literature. Informal learning could include interactions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples or reading websites or novels written by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
It is important that cultural learning activities be planned, led and/or written by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Academic literature and research must align with the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Communities (NHMRC, 2018) and be led by and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities.
The cultural learning requirement aligns with the SPA Charter (2020) and the Professional Standards (2020) on provision of culturally responsive and safe services. Culturally safe and responsive practice is the responsibility of all professionals and is an area of lifelong critical learning.
An excerpt from the Association’s Response to Racism statement is below:
Members are encouraged to read the statement in full here: Response to Racism
We acknowledge that reconciliation is an ongoing process and that responsibility rests with all members and staff of the Association. We know there is much more to be done.
We commit to working in safe and culturally responsive ways with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to embedding the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the functions of the Association, and to calling out racism when it arises. It is no longer enough to only stand up and condemn racism, it is now time for us to work actively against it.
To effect change, collective action is needed. We therefore urge all members to recognise the importance of listening carefully and respectfully to the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; to commit to engaging in conversations to build trust and to learn about the hidden truths and history that our First Nations peoples have known and experienced and the negative impacts this continues to have on their lives.
We urge our members to take up their responsibility to build their knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, strengths and challenges and to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within their communities to build understanding. The onus is on non-Indigenous people to contribute positively to change, and to a more equitable future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The burden of change must not be borne only by those who live the experiences that make change necessary.
Tim Kittel, National President Speech Pathology Australia
More information on the CPD requirements, including the cultural learning and professional support requirements, can be found in the Certification Program Guide 2022 and the following resources:
View the FAQ Certification Program 2022
View the CPD Requirements Flyer 2022
Listen to the Speak Up Podcast episodes S04 E17 and S05 E12 (Accessible via the Learning Hub or other podcast platforms.)
What to do from each membership year
- Develop your new learning plan
- Recordyour ‘hours of learning’
- Engage in at least 2 hours of professional support
- Engage in at least 2 hours of cultural learning
- At membership renewal, submit your hours of learning accrued in the preceding membership year.
Recording Continuing Professional Development
Speech pathologists are required to keep their CPD records and evidence of CPD activities for a certification audit.
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.
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.
Please see our pages on Certification Audit Instructions and Certification Audit: FAQs for more information.