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Get Recognized for Your Clinical Excellence

May 16, 2011
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For clinicians who have advanced expertise in one or more areas of the profession, it can be personally and professionally rewarding to receive recognition for that expertise. This recognition is available from ASHA (www.asha.org/certification/specialty) . ASHA’s Council for Clinical Specialty Recognition (CCSR) responds to petition groups that request clinical specialty designation and recognition. The CCSR administers and monitors the Specialty Recognition Program and may give clinical specialty recognition to ASHA-certified clinicians who have special expertise in a specific area of the profession. This special recognition can be useful to clinicians and consumers alike, because it identifies those clinicians whose special skills meet the needs of consumers requiring those clinical services. Additionally, such recognition gives credibility to the clinician so that payor sources, other rehabilitation professionals and referral sources, and the general public can be confident that the clinician possesses the specialized clinical expertise.Specialty Boards, which arise from successful petitions to the CCSR by clinicians seeking specialty recognition, operate the specialty recognition program in the area, and assess and approve individual applicants for specialist status.

Benefits of Clinical Specialty Recognition

From a personal standpoint, clinical specialty recognition acknowledges your advanced expertise and experience in a particular area of the profession. From a business standpoint, such recognition can be useful in building your reputation, marketing your services, and increasing the number of referrals and self-referrals to your practice. For clinicians who are not self-employed, obtaining clinical specialty recognition may help to advance your career within an organization, or may help to enhance the reputation of the business.

Specialty Boards Already in Place

Presently, there are three Specialty Boards in speech-language pathology: swallowing and swallowing disorders (www.swallowingdisorders.org ), fluency disorders (www.stutteringspecialists.org ), and child language (www.childlanguagespecialist.org ). Each Specialty Board has a registry of clinicians who have qualified for special recognition. Such clinicians represent themselves as a “Board Recognized Specialist in ________”, for example, ‘fluency disorders’.

Creating New Specialty Areas

If you would like to establish another area of clinical specialty recognition, you should first look at ASHA’s website to determine if the clinical specialty that interests you is already under consideration. If not, you can petition ASHA’s Council for Clinical Specialty Recognition to consider creating the new specialty area. In the first stage of this two-stage process, the petitioning group defines the new specialty area, e.g., voice disorders, identifies the consumers who require this service, and documents the fact that the petitioning members are currently practicing in this specialty area. In stage two, the petitioning group must define how they will verify that applicants for specialty status truly possess the skills, advanced knowledge and experience that are required to be considered a specialist in the area. After each of these stages, ASHA will publicly request comment - supportive and oppositional - to the proposed specialty area via its usual communication media.

Do I Need to Have Board Recognized Specialist Status?

No. Board Recognized Specialist status is entirely voluntary. You can still provide the same clinical services as those who have been recognized as specialists. ASHA members do not have to seek special recognition to provide any of the services within the ASHA –defined scope of practice for a speech-language pathologist.

Applying for Clinical Specialty Recognition

If you do wish to obtain recognition for your advanced skills in a particular area of speech-language pathology, contact the Specialty Board of interest (web addresses listed above) for information about the recognition requirements (experiential, educational, and clinical – beyond what is required for a CCC), as well as the costs and an application form.