According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47 states require practicing speech-language pathologists to obtain professional licenses, but licensing is a bare minimum for professional practice. Many speech-language pathologists also obtain a particular type of voluntary certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, which is what the CCC behind a practicing speech pathologist's name represents.

About the CCC Credential

CCC stands for Certificate of Clinical Competence. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, or ASHA, grants the the designation to both practicing speech-language pathologists and audiologists. For speech-language pathologists, the full acronym representing demonstrated clinical competence is CCC-SLP. Although earning a CCC credential doesn't result in a state license, licensing requirements align with CCC criteria in many states. According to a brochure published by ASHA, the CCC-SLP credential is internationally recognized, and proves that a clinical practitioner meets rigorous training, testing and continuing education requirements.


To earn a CCC credential, a speech-language pathologist has to pass an exam, supply graduate transcripts proving graduation from an accredited program, and have clinical fellowship experience. The exam consists of 120 multiple choice questions, including case study questions. Questions cover audiology, clinical management, professionalism, research methodology, and the different types of speech and language disorders. An eligible clinical fellowship consists of at least 1,260 hours, where the applicant worked at least five hours per week over the course of the fellowship. Speech pathologists with ASHA certification have to accrue 30 hours of professional development education every three years to maintain their CCC credentials.

How to Apply

To register for the exam, visit the Education Testing Service's website ( to choose a test time and location. Fill out an Application for Speech-Language Pathology Certification, available on the ASHA website, and submit it with the applicable fees to the address on the application form. Enclose with the application supplemental documents required by ASHA, including the Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form. Arrange for your school to send your official transcripts to ASHA. When you have completed your exam through the Education Testing Service, the exam results will be submitted automatically to ASHA.

CCC Benefits

According to ASHA, some states and school districts offer salary supplements to speech-language pathologists with CCC certification. With the CCC credential behind your name, you're also allowed to supervise speech pathologists completing their clinical fellowships. Being ASHA-certified makes it easier to get licensed in multiple states. Without CCC certification, speech pathologists need to submit all of the same documents they gave to their home licensing boards over again for each additional state. While speech pathologists without the CCC designation have to submit copies of their test scores, degrees, and clinical experience to practice in some states where they were not originally licensed, speech pathologists with CCC credentials do not. Most states accept a valid license from another state plus the CCC designation as proof of eligibility for licensure, even without these additional documents.