Audiology Licensure vs. Certification
The American Academy of Audiology (AAA) supports the on-going development and evaluation of professional standards by audiologists. These standards should address entry into the profession, education and training, clinical practice settings, and continuing clinical competence.
These professional standards should not require affiliation with any professional organization. Audiologists' ability to practice in any setting should be defined by their ability to meet these standards, not by a requirement that they must purchase and maintain any voluntary organization's certificate as the exclusive proof of meeting these standards.
State licensure boards generally require attaining a minimum of a master's degree from a regionally accredited University, passing a national examination, and completing a supervised professional experience. Licensure is the credential that legally defines the professional practice of audiology in more than 40 states. In these states, the license is the credential needed to practice except in specified exempt settings. Individual practice settings, however, may have additional requirements.
Although there are currently no additional educational requirements for maintaining the certificate of clinical competence in audiology (CCC-A):
- The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) accreditation bodies (Academic Accreditation Board and Professional Services Board) do not recognize a state license in audiology as equivalent to ASHA CCC-A even when the standards are the same.
- ASHA does not recognize a state license in audiology as a sufficient credential for supervisors of audiologists who are completing their supervised professional experience even when the standards are the same.
- Licensure boards for audiology do not require ASHA certification to acquire or maintain licensure.
- Third party reimbursement organizations generally require licensure (not ASHA certification) as the credential for professional recognition and participation.
AAA Action Plan for Addressing Licensure Issues
National: American Academy of Audiology
- Continue to work for recognition of licensure as necessary and sufficient for the practice of audiology in all settings.
- Support state association efforts to identify and change any local policies which require ASHA certification as an exclusive condition for employment or reimbursement.
- Serve as a resource for state associations and individuals who need support and information regarding licensure issues.
- Work with AAA to prepare educational materials to help members understand licensure and certification issues.2. Meet with third party reimbursement organizations and other entities which require ASHA certification exclusively as a condition for participation or reimbursement.
- Meet with third party reimbursement organizations and other entities which require ASHA certification exclusively as a condition for participation or reimbursement.
- Support individual audiologists in resolving specific licensure related issues.
- Gather information about specific practice settings of third party plans that require current ASHA certification and/or membership as an exclusive basis for participation. Send Ns information to the AAA National Office, attn: Valerie Deitz Taylor.
- Work in cooperation with your state organizations to resolve these inequities.
- Take a moment out of your busy schedule to send a letter to ASHA, as shown below, stating your views on their certification policies:
Sample Letter to ASHA in Support of AAA's Position on Licensure
Larry Higdon, M.S.
Vice President for Professional Practices in Audiology
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
10801 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852
As an audiologist and ASHA certificate holder, I am critically concerned with the future of our profession. To support the autonomous practice of Audiology, I urge ASHA to recognize the state license in Audiology as the necessary and sufficient practice credential. I support the American Academy of Audiology's (AAA) position as articulated in your March 14th meeting with AAA President Carol Flexer, AAA President-Elect Barry Freeman, and AAA Executive Director Bruce Wardle. I support the concept of professional standards, but I object to the concept that the only way to prove that I meet such standards is by paying an annual fee to a voluntary professional organization.
Cc: Katherine Butler, ASHA President
(Your State's) Legislative Councilors
Originally published in Audiology Today, Vol. 8:3, 1996