Ireland, New Zealand Join International Agreement Six Nations Now Participate in Certification Recognition World Beat
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World Beat  |   January 01, 2009
Ireland, New Zealand Join International Agreement
Author Notes
  • Patti Tice, director of credentialing, can be reached at ptice@asha.org.
    Patti Tice, director of credentialing, can be reached at ptice@asha.org.×
  • Marat Moore, managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at mmoore@asha.org. For more information, contact Georgia McMann, administrative director of certification, at gmcmann@asha.org or 800-498-2071, ext. 5782.
    Marat Moore, managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at mmoore@asha.org. For more information, contact Georgia McMann, administrative director of certification, at gmcmann@asha.org or 800-498-2071, ext. 5782.×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / International & Global / World Beat
World Beat   |   January 01, 2009
Ireland, New Zealand Join International Agreement
The ASHA Leader, January 2009, Vol. 14, 34. doi:10.1044/leader.WB.14012009.34
The ASHA Leader, January 2009, Vol. 14, 34. doi:10.1044/leader.WB.14012009.34
Ireland and New Zealand are the latest nations to join ASHA’s international Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) for certification to include the speech-language professional associations in those countries. The MRA also includes the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. Representatives of associations in all six nations signed the agreement on Nov. 20, 2008, during the ASHA annual convention in Chicago.
The associations included in the revised agreement are ASHA, the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA), the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) in the United Kingdom, the Speech Pathology Association of Australia Limited, the Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists (IASLT), and the New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists’ Association (NZSTA).
The agreement sets the stage for international workforce mobility and exchange of ideas, said 2008 ASHA President Kate Gottfred. “We believe that this agreement benefits speech-language pathologists who wish to travel and work in other countries,” she said. “It facilitates the exchange of theoretical and clinical research and encourages the flow of information on best clinical practices.”
The agreement was one of the first to be developed among professional associations and sets a precedent for utilizing a systematic, multi-national system for comparing and contrasting academic and other professional qualifications, noted Arlene Pietranton, ASHA executive director.
“This is exciting for ASHA because the mutual recognition agreement helps to fulfill the association’s vision of globalization as articulated in our Strategic Pathway to Excellence, which calls for the exchange of clinical research, clinical education, and clinical practice information and resources with colleagues in other countries,” she said.
This revised agreement is the product of two years of negotiations among the six countries. Representatives from each association worked diligently to identify the areas of substantial equivalence and differences among the professional requirements of the participating organizations. Discussions began at the ASHA annual convention in San Diego in November 2006, when IASLT and NZSTA petitioned to become a part of the agreement. Negotiations have continued since that time via e-mail, teleconferences, and a face-to-face meeting in conjunction with the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, in August 2007.
The negotiating team included John Bernthal and Patti Tice (ASHA); Sharon Fotheringham (CASLPA); Calum Delaney (RCSLT); Anne Geraghty and Martine Smith (IASLT); Colette Maier, Clare McCann, and Stella Ward (NZSTA); and Vickie Dawson, Gail Mulcair, and Cori Williams (Speech Pathology Australia).
Key Requirements
Credentialed SLPs from all six countries will not be required to have all of their academic course work and clinical experience evaluated when they apply for certification from or full membership in another of those organizations. Any professional or credentialing requirements that were determined to be substantially inequivalent are identified as conditions, as described in more detail in the Mutual Recognition Agreement posted on ASHA’s Web site.
It should be noted also that the MRA pertains only to certification by the specific association and does not entitle an individual to practice. The agreement does not supersede national, state, or provincial licensing or registration requirements for practice. Individuals wishing to practice in an MRA country must contact the appropriate national, state, or provincial licensing agencies to determine whether or not they will meet requirements, including obtaining the appropriate visa to work in the U.S.
The South African Speech-Language-Hearing Association has recently expressed interest in developing a similar agreement with the current signatories, Pietranton noted, saying, “It is hoped that other countries will follow in the years ahead.”
Benefits of the Agreement

Benefits of the Mutual Recognition Agreement include:

  • Assisting the academic community, continuing education providers, industry, regulatory authorities, and the public by identifying common standards of clinical competence

  • Facilitating the ongoing exchange of knowledge as it relates to research, continuing professional development, emerging technologies, and other aspects of professional practice

  • Promoting greater international understanding of the role of SLPs

  • Improving the mobility of individuals with approved credentials for employment

  • Streamlining the mutual recognition process for individuals who are credentialed by the signatory associations

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FROM THIS ISSUE
January 2009
Volume 14, Issue 1