Lifelong Learning and The CCCs Maintaining Your Certification—It’s Easier Than You Think Features
Features  |   September 01, 2002
Lifelong Learning and The CCCs
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Professional Issues & Training / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Features
Features   |   September 01, 2002
Lifelong Learning and The CCCs
The ASHA Leader, September 2002, Vol. 7, No Pagination Specified. doi:10.1044/
The ASHA Leader, September 2002, Vol. 7, No Pagination Specified. doi:10.1044/
Beginning in 2003 for audiologists and in 2005 for speech-language pathologists, another dimension will be added to the Certificates of Clinical Competence (CCCs)—new standards requiring mandatory continuing professional development. The new standards will ensure that certificate holders maintain their qualifications by participating in professional development activities throughout their careers. The Council on Professional Standards in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology approved the standards after evaluating trends in client demographics, emerging issues, changes in practice patterns, skills validation studies, independent research on consumer advocacy, and extensive internal peer review comments.
Earning the CCCs requires hard work and the acquisition of knowledge and skills required to meet the ASHA Standards. The CCCs have always represented the successful completion of a rigorous academic program, clinical fellowship and national examination, and are the credential that validates an individual’s qualifications to enter the professions and practice independently.
Mandatory continuing education is not a new concept at ASHA. Since the early 1970s, the Legislative Council has debated the issue. In addition, these standards build upon ASHA’s commitment to lifelong learning through its Code of Ethics, which states that individuals must continue their professional development throughout their careers. The Code of Ethics provides a strong foundation for the new standards which spell out the number of hours required, a definition of professional development, and a mechanism for documenting and reporting professional development activities and hours.
Standard VI: Maintenance of Certification for Audiology and Standard VII: Maintenance of Certification for Speech-Language Pathology require every individual who holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence to accumulate 30 contact hours of professional development activities over a three-year period. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2003, about one-third of the audiologists who hold certification will begin their first three-year maintenance interval and will have until Dec. 31, 2005 to accumulate the 30 contact hours. Individuals will need to know their initial certification date, or date of reinstatement, to find out when their first three-year maintenance interval begins.
Definition of Professional Development
The new standards define professional development as “any activity that relates to the science and contemporary practice of audiology, speech-language pathology, and speech/language/hearing sciences, and results in the acquisition of new knowledge and skills and/or the enhancement of current knowledge and skills. Professional development activities should be planned in advance and be based on an assessment of knowledge, skills, and competencies of the individual and/or an assessment of knowledge, skills, and competencies required for the independent practice of any area of the professions.”
Flexible CE Options
Continued professional development may be demonstrated through participation in one or more of the following four options:
  • 30 contact hours through employer-sponsored in-service or other continuing education activities that contribute to professional development; and/or

  • 3 CEUs from an ASHA-approved CE provider; and/or

  • 3 CEUs from an International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET)-approved CE sponsor; and/or

  • 2 semester hours from a college or university that holds regional accreditation or accreditation from an equivalent nationally recognized or governmental accreditation authority.

New practice areas are continuously emerging, and the acceptance of contact hours from in-service or other CE activities will give certificate holders flexibility to choose an appropriate CE activity and provider. All certificate holders are encouraged to select providers who deliver high-quality educational programs that will contribute to staying current in the rapidly changing professions. Professional development activities should include an organized, planned program of professional instructional content with identified learner outcomes, qualified instructors, appropriate learning opportunities to accommodate different learning styles, and opportunities for the learners and instructor to measure participant learning.
Standards’ Continuous Improvement
The Council For Clinical Certification routinely reviews certification standards approximately every five years for possible revisions. These reviews assess the impact that external factors—technology, changing demographics, and changing practice trends—have had on the professions. The most recent review was completed in the late 1990s and included a skills validation study and an extensive peer review of the proposed changes.
In addition to the new maintenance standards, changes to academic program requirements for initial certification will take effect in 2005 for speech-language pathologists and in 2007 for audiologists. These new standards are outcomes-based and will require both formative and summative assessments throughout the student’s academic and practicum experiences. Beginning in 2012, individuals applying for certification in audiology will be required to hold a doctoral degree.
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September 2002
Volume 7, Issue 17