University Accreditation

Speech Pathology Australia (the Association) is recognised by the Federal Government of Australia, Department of Education, Skills and Employment, as well as the National Alliance of Self Regulating Health Professions (NASRHP) as the professional body which represents speech pathologists in Australia.

The Association grants accreditation to speech pathology programs that meet the prescribed accreditation standards. All Australian professional entry programs, whether undergraduate or graduate-entry, are evaluated against the same standards.

By accrediting speech pathology degree programs, the Association aims to:

Maintain appropriately high minimum standards of the speech pathology profession in Australia:

  • Stimulate maintenance of high standards and continuing improvement in the quality of professional education in speech pathology.
  • Provide support to the university programs to encourage excellence in professional preparation; and support varied and flexible degree programs that are aligned with the changing realities of the speech pathology workforce.
  • Assure the public that graduates from accredited University programs are eligible for membership of Speech Pathology Australia and are competent to practice as a speech pathologist.

The Association permits only those graduates who have achieved the entry level requirements specified in the Competency Based Occupational Standards (CBOS), from a program that has been awarded accreditation, to be eligible for membership.

View information about the Accreditation Process and Accreditation Fees.

COVID-19 and accreditation

  • Speech Pathology Australia (the Association) trusts that universities will enact changes to ensure the welfare of staff and students, ensure program learning outcomes are achieved and students continue to meet the required competencies.
  • The Association is committed to working with universities to minimise the impact of approvals and reporting at this challenging time, as per the Joint Statement of Principles for the Higher Education sector.
  • The Association recognises their role in ensuring programs graduate students who meet the minimum standards to enter the profession.
  • Accredited programs are required to continue to meet the Association’s accreditation standards for the period of their accreditation, as detailed in the Accreditation of Speech Pathology Degree Programs (2019).
  • Qualifying programs are required to continue to develop their programs to ensure alignment with the Association’s accreditation standards, as detailed in the Accreditation of Speech Pathology Degree Programs (2019).
  • The Association recognises that universities will need to vary program content and/or delivery for teaching, learning and assessment during the pandemic. Programs are advised to consult the Evaluation of Evidence (p. 25-26, Part A, Accreditation of Speech Pathology Degree Programs), particularly the Dimensions of Evidence, when considering modifications to assessments.
  • The Association does not stipulate the pedagogy to be utilised by universities, however the Association recognises universities may be introducing or expanding the use of simulation in their programs. The Association expects all teaching and assessments to be of high quality, using the best available evidence to inform their use and design.
  • The Association will continue to seek from universities detailed evidence of assessments and students’ attainment of entry level competency. If universities decide to replace any part of clinical placements with simulation (and this has not been previously evaluated through accreditation) the Association will require evidence of how students’ entry level competency is achieved and assessed. The Association notes that the current evidence base for replacement of clinical placement with simulation has not investigated speech pathology entry level placements nor all range of practice areas (Hewat et al., 2020; Hill et al., 2020).
  • Placement modifications should continue to meet the Accreditation Standards, with particular reference to:

3.3.3 Clinical assessment of students (during clinical placements within workplaces and during university based clinical activities) throughout the program is robust, standardised across the cohort, linked to learning outcomes, and progression criteria are transparent and universally applied across the cohort.

3.3.4 Student competency is assessed against CBOS at near entry level for the penultimate placement (for children, adults or mixed populations) and assessed at entry level for the final placement (in a population different from the penultimate clinical placement).

3.5.5 Graduating students have been assessed for entry level competency using a range of appropriately assessed activities across all range of practice areas for adults and children, across all areas of the CBOS (including the Professional Framework, Range of Practice Principles and all CBOS units).

Supervision

  • Speech Pathology Australia is supportive of students receiving tele-supervision during speech pathology placements. It is expected all universities and service providers will abide by relevant laws, legislation and funding body requirements when students provide tele-practice services to clients and/or receive tele-supervision from CEs.
  • Clinical educators and universities will need to make decisions regarding the quantity and mix of synchronous and asynchronous tele-supervision; based on factors including student learning needs, placement learning outcomes, placement design, student competency, client factors, contextual factors and available technology.
  • Provision of quality supervision that minimises risk to the student and the client is essential.
  • Additional asynchronous supervision (e.g. phone, text, email, online chat, videoconferencing) outside of synchronous supervision should occur as for any quality learning support during an in-person placement, to enable feedback, reflection, debriefing and planning to occur.

View Supporting Clinical Education and Placements during the COVID-19 Pandemic for more information.

International Placements

  • Students may undertake international clinical placements, where available. However, The Association requires all students to complete at least one entry level placement in Australia, with clients who reside in Australia. If the university only offers one entry level placement, then that placement must occur in Australia.
  • The Association requires all international clinical placements to be supervised, at least in part, (tele-supervision is acceptable) by a speech pathologist/s who is eligible for Certified Practising membership of Speech Pathology Australia and/or Certified full members of a signatory to the Agreement for the Mutual Recognition (MRA) of Professional Association Credentials.
  • The Association requires COMPASS® (when used) to be used in contexts and in the manner described in the COMPASS® assessment resource manual. The use of COMPASS® has been validated for use in workplace settings (McAllister et al., 2006; McAllister et al., 2010). COMPASS® has not been validated for use in simulation.

Any queries can be directed to the Association’s Manager, Professional Standards.