Ah, continuing ed.
Thought you were done with classes after your masters degree? Haha! No, my friend.
Nobody wants extra things on their To Do list, but you simply can not be an effective speech–language pathologist if you don’t continue to learn throughout your career. ASHA knows that; which is why they require it for those of us with our CCC-SLP designation! And at its best, continuing ed can help shake you out of an SLP-slump, increase your confidence, and give you the satisfaction of knowing you're doing your job well.
Since we gotta do it (and deep down, want to), let’s get the rules and requirements straight. Read on for our most Frequently-Asked Questions about ASHA CEUs:
1. What are ASHA CEUs for? (the “newb” question)
To maintain your national certification as an SLP—those CCC-SLP letters after your name—you must do continuing education.
You’ll need 30 hours every three years, starting the January after you’re awarded the CCC-SLP.
For grad students, that means you can start taking and tracking your continuing education hours approximately one year after you get your masters degree, and then you’ll have three more years before you have to report those courses to ASHA. Yes, it sucks that CEUs you might do during your clinical fellowship year don’t count.
2. Do I have to take ASHA CEUs to count toward renewing my CCCs? Or do other professional development courses count?
Actually, lots of things count! Your hours can be either CMHs or ASHA CEUs. Here’s the difference:
CMH = Certification Maintenance Hour. This is any professional development activity listed here that’s NOT already pre-approved by ASHA. The pro of CMHs is that they don’t have to be ASHA-approved. And no need to ask ASHA what will count; simply adhere to that list. The con of CMHs is that you have to track them yourself, digitally and/or with paper records.
ASHA CEUs = these are a type of CMH that is pre-approved by ASHA. The pro of ASHA CEUs is that, instead of you keeping track of them yourself, they automatically populate into your registry (if you pay for that; see below), which is really convenient. Also, no wondering about what will “count.” There aren't many cons, except that it's harder to find free ASHA CEUs, whereas you might have lots of free opportunities to earn CMHs through your job (especially if you work in education). Plus the fact that the way they’re calculated is super confusing.
Way back when, for who-knows-what-reason, somebody decided to go all imperial system on the way they calculate these. The calculation is:
1 CMH = one hour = 0.1 ASHA CEUs
10 CMH = ten hours = 1.0 ASHA CEU
So to get 30 hours in three years, you’d need 3.0 ASHA CEUs.
3. If I have my CCC-SLP, do I also need a state license?
4. If I have my state license, do I also need my CCC-SLP?
Not necessarily. Some SLP jobs don’t require it. However, not having your CCCs is like playing roulette on the job market. MOST jobs either require or prefer CCCs.
We recommend just doing it, and keeping your certification because it’s a HUGE pain if you let your CCCs lapse. (There are other reasons we recommend having your CCCs, related to advocacy and protecting the integrity of our profession, but that’s a topic for another blog post...)
5. For continuing education, what’s the difference between what my state requires and what ASHA requires?
Beats me! What state do you live in?
No seriously—it varies entirely by where you live. Each state makes up their own rules. (FUN!)
ASHA does have a page where you can look up state requirements. However, that comes with a disclaimer—while ASHA does a good job of keeping their website up to date, the official rules must be obtained from your own state’s licensing website and documents, not ASHA.
Ways in which some states differ from ASHA’s “30 hours in 3 years” requirements:
6. What’s the deal with the new Ethics and Supervision requirements I’m hearing about? Do I need them? If so, when?
Yes, this is new as of 2020! From ASHA:
UPDATED ETHICS REQUIREMENT
Who? Every CCC-SLP.
What? Out of the 30 professional development hours required for certification maintenance, at least 1 hour has to focus on ethics.
When? The January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2022 certification maintenance interval, beginning with certificate holders.
How Often? During each 3-year maintenance interval.
UPDATED SUPERVISION REQUIREMENT
Who? All clinical supervisors and Clinical Fellowship (CF) mentors providing supervision or clinical instruction to students and/or Clinical Fellows for ASHA certification.
What? In addition to having 9 months of full-time clinical experience working in the profession, you must complete a minimum of 2 hours of professional development in the area of supervision/clinical instruction.
When? After receiving the CCC-SLP.
How Often? This is a one time deal.
So one hour of Ethics courses is now required every three years. Supervision hours are required once, and only if you’re supervising (our tip would be for EVERYONE to take supervision hours, because it’s highly likely you’ll need to do that at some point in your career). More info on the new requirements here, here, and here.
And if you’re looking for ethics hours, you can search here, or take our ethics course!
7. Where should I take my courses?
Oh my goodness, where do we start? There are so many courses to choose from. And unless you’re lucky enough to have continuing ed provided by your workplace, these are the places to start your search:
Beyond that, there’s not much else we can advise you on here, because what you choose will be entirely dependent on your own personal and professional needs! Though we can advise you on how to ensure your courses are evidence-based (below).
8. Are all ASHA CEUs evidence-based?
First, we need to break your heart a little.
No, not all ASHA-approved courses are evidence-based.
Seriously. And here’s why—ASHA states in their CE provider requirements that courses must be evidence-aligned and based on appropriate research. However, they don’t verify that. So the quality assurance ends up falling entirely on the shoulders of whoever is offering the course.
While most ASHA CE providers care a lot about helping SLPs truly improve their practice, some do fall short of that. Unfortunately, there is some absolute wackadoodle nonsense that slips through the cracks.
We also see a lot of courses that say “evidence-based” but really aren’t. Ultimately, whether or not something is evidence-based is the responsibility of the CE provider (the company or organization who approved the course), not ASHA. And all providers should be very clear about their methods of ensuring that.
"I don’t get it; why doesn't ASHA doesn’t just verify everything?"
Because it would be outrageously labor-intensive. For example, in order to vet a dysphagia course, it’d have to be looked at very carefully by a dysphagia expert— ideally several experts.
The hours and expense of that would get steep, quickly. ASHA would have to charge the businesses more, businesses would have to charge SLPs more (for the courses), and so on.
Also, all of this gets extremely gray and tricky the deeper you attempt to problem-solve it--what is “evidence-based”? What level of evidence would you expect in order for something to pass? What would we do with topics we simply don’t have a lot of evidence for yet, but that are still in our scope? It’s tough.
So then, how is a consumer supposed to know if something’s evidence-aligned? I truly wish we lived in a world where, when a company says their course or product is “evidence-based”, you could know that was true. But we don’t.
There are companies out there that put profit over quality, and are happy to slap “evidence-based” on something without doing the work to verify and ensure it. So, unfortunately, it lands on the consumer.
The only real way to know is:
A) Make sure you know the evidence in the first place, so you can much more easily spot nonsense and ineffective therapy recommendations.
B) Consult with colleagues you trust regarding the course content, but only after/alongside (A).
Not sure of the easiest path to knowing our field’s research? That’s what The Informed SLP was created for. Here are other options, too.
9. How do I track and report my hours to ASHA?
You simply click a button at the end of every three years to say you did it! (I know—the first time I did it I was shocked it was only a 30-second process.) You don’t need to send ASHA anything.
However! (A big however…) If you’re audited, you need to be able to produce the information proving your hours. So you must keep your paperwork well-organized along the way and triple-check your math. Or, just use the registry (below).
10. What is the ASHA CEU Registry? Is it required?
You don’t have to use the ASHA CE registry if you don’t want it. But we do like it! A lot. Here are pros and cons:
Pros: You don’t have to track all your own hours.
ASHA CEUs automatically get reported to your online registry, no matter which ASHA CE provider you take them from. It’s just easy. And only $28 per year. Learn more here.
If you get audited (yes, SLPs get audited for their hours all the time by ASHA…) you automatically “pass” if your hours are in the registry, because ASHA can see them. Otherwise, ASHA would contact you to tell you you’re being audited, then you’d have to submit documentation to prove your hours for the past three years.
Cons: It’s $28 every year (added on to your annual CCC renewal fee). So you can save money by just saving all your course certificates, dates, hours, etc. on your own. Also, CMHs don’t auto-populate there. Only ASHA CEUs are tracked.
11. Are there benefits of the ACE Award? Should I pay for that certificate they offer?
The ACE Award (or ASHA's Award for Continuing Education), is achieved when you go above and beyond the 30 hours of continuing ed and accumulate 70+ hours (7.0 ASHA CEUs) in three years.
It’s just a certificate. Some people looooove getting that ACE award. Others qualify, and just don’t bother with it.
It can look good on your resume. (We might be more likely to hire someone with an ACE Award… but also, several of us qualify for it every year and don’t even bother filing for it.) The perks are pretty limited.
12. Why pay for courses when you can just do them for free?
Haha, touché! You’re our kind of people.
There are some free ASHA CEUs out there, which is pretty cool. Usually this happens when companies who offer paid courses are simply providing a “perk” so that you can see what it’s like to take courses from them (and maybe as a service to our field, because they love us? Maybe?).
Unfortunately, though, there aren’t enough free CEUs to get you through the next however many years of your career. And if you’re trying to become a genuinely competent clinician, you’re going to need to identify courses based on areas of expertise you’re lacking, not just which ones are free. Nonetheless, free is awesome. Here are some current free course options:
● Northern Speech
You can also Google “Free ASHA CEUs” for more, but—warning--we just did that and also found a handful that are junk. Again—go back up to the question, “Are all ASHA CEUs evidence-based?”
13. Can I use courses advertised as ASHA CEUs to meet my CPD requirements in other countries?
We reckon! Anything marked as an ASHA CEU should be fair dinkum for Speech Pathology Australia’s professional self regulation (PSR) program that allows you to use the CPSP letters after your name.
Use SPA’s PSR Activities Log Form to keep track of what you’re doing, and the PSR booklet to tee-up codes according to the activity (link here). For example, The Informed SLP’s courses would be classified as “Independent study” (IS), a live online conference would be “Attendance at conferences and expositions” (C/S), and a live online workshop would be “Attendance at workshops and special interest groups” (W/S.)
Mates, we know you’re flat out, but you need at least 20 points across at least two activity types per year. Get amongst it!
From Katherine Sanchez, PhD, CPSP
Canada, eh: The short answer is yes. But specific nuances will depend on the province you’re registered in! For example, if you’re registered in British Columbia, then only a maximum of 5 hours (over a 3-year cycle) can be considered “self-study”—which would be the category for reading TISLP reviews and their respective journal articles.
In Alberta and Ontario, any independent or group learning activity that relates to a learning goal, and I mean ANY activity, can count as a continuing education credit. No cap.
So, my Canadian colleagues, refer to your regulatory body’s requirements to make sure there are no restrictions or limitations to using ASHA approved CEUs!
From Cassandra Kerr, M.Cl.Sc., SLP
In the UK:
You sure can! In the UK we use an hourly total for continuing professional development (CPD; currently 30 hours minimum), as opposed to a points-based system like in other countries, so you just need to be sure that you are achieving the required amount of CPD hours.
The RCSLT advises that you objectively review a resource/course and decide if it meets your CPD requirements. You should be able to reflect on what you learned, and how you are going to use it within your current practice. This means that CPD resources and courses from outside of the UK can still be used so long as they are relevant.
The RCSLT also advises that while reviewing the resource/course you should assess the evidence base behind it, so that you are delivering quality, evidence-based practice. If you are an RCSLT member and are wanting more information on CPD and what can be used visit here.
From Becky at The SLT Scrapbook
14. Did you notice we said 12 and made it to 14?
Can't stop, won't stop.
If you have more burning continuing education questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section, below! Any we can answer, we will. And if they're super common, we'll move them up into this blog post, and continue on with 15, 16, 17, etc...
Finally, if you need ASHA CEUs, we're certified providers. Learn more about our high-quality, low-cost courses here.