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Registration Pathways - Speech Pathologists

Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) is recognised as the national professional standards organisation for speech pathologists in Australia. Speech Pathology Australia is also recognised by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) as the assessing authority for speech pathologists intending to apply for skilled migration to Australia.

Speech Pathology Australia is responsible for accrediting university programs that offer training courses at both undergraduate and post graduate levels. The Competency Based Occupational Standards for Speech Pathologists (CBOS 2001) details the knowledge, skills and attributes required for graduate entry into the profession of speech pathology. All entry level degree programs in Australia, whether undergraduate or post graduate, are assessed to the same CBOS 2001 standards in the accreditation process. University speech pathology programs that are accredited by Speech Pathology Australia have demonstrated that their graduates have attained CBOS entry level competencies and are thus eligible for practising membership to Speech Pathology Australia.

Most employers in Australia require prospective employees to be eligible for Practising membership of Speech Pathology Australia.

To be eligible for Practising membership of the Association you must meet the Australian standards for practice, including that you are competent in the use of English within the Australian clinical context. If you graduated more than five years ago, you must also have worked as a speech pathologist for at least 1000 hours during the previous five years.

The Competency-Based Occupational standards 2001 (CBOS 2001) are the standards against which the qualifications and competence of overseas applicants are assessed. As of January 2005, the Association introduced new procedures for assessing overseas trained speech pathologists.

There are TWO types of application that can be made:
A Complete Application: this application is made where the individual is confident they are applying to the right profession and they have the evidence to demonstrate competence (refer to the CBOS 2001) as a speech pathologist. This is used to determine whether or not a speech pathologist is currently eligible for Practising Membership of SPA.

A Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) Application: this application is made where the individual is a current member in the specified membership category of ASHA (USA), CASLPA (Canada), IASLT (Ireland), NZSTA (New Zealand) or RCSLT (UK) and believe you are eligible to meet the stated requirements. See below for more information on the MRA.

Mutual Recognition Agreement - On 20 November 2008 Speech Pathology Australia was signatory to the Mutual Recognition of Professional Association Credentials Agreement. The agreement includes not only the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), The Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (CASLPA), The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and Speech Pathology Australia, but also the Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists (IASLT) and the New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists’ Association (NZSTA). This new Agreement comes into force on 1 January 2009.

The Agreement is not one of reciprocity or reciprocal recognition of qualifications. The Agreement is of mutual recognition that, under some conditions, the six associations have substantially equivalent credentials and that it is therefore possible for certified or full members of one association to become recognised by the other associations. The Agreement does not ensure migration to any of the other countries as all conditions for migration have to be met nor does it ensure employment in the country which the speech pathologist may wish to visit. However, it provides the possibility of professional recognition of the speech pathologist by the Associations signatory to the Agreement.

Eligibility under the Mutual Recognition of Professional Association Credentials requires applicants to be either of the following:

  • ASHA (USA): Certificate of Clinical Competence-Speech-Language Pathology (CC-SLP) holder
  • CASLPA (Canada): Clinically Certified Speech-Language Pathologists (S-LP(C)).
  • IASLT (Ireland): Full Member
  • NZSLT (New Zealand): Full Member
  • RCSLT (UK): Certified Member (Cert MRCSLT)
  • SPA (Australia): Certified Practising Speech Pathologist.

Additional Requirements
Applicants need to be able to demonstrate their competence in the area of dysphagia.

English Language
A comprehensive knowledge of English is essential to the practice of speech pathology in Australia.

It is a requirement that speech pathologists in Australia are able to work with English both as the form of communication and as the focus of assessment and treatment. If the individuals first language is not English or if your speech pathology education was not conducted in English (eg UK, Canada, NZ, USA or the Republic of Ireland.), they will need to provide evidence they can use English competently in Australian speech pathology practice. This is a requirement for all applicants whether or not you are using the MRA.

To provide this evidence you must undertake the Occupational English Test (OET). You must achieve a high grading in this test (usually applicants will need to achieve grades of at least three As and one B). In addition, if you agree, the examination tapes and reports can be reviewed by Speech Pathology Australia to confirm that you use English effectively for professional purposes in Australia.

Additionally, your application should include a DVD/Videotape of a real or simulated clinical session.

Recency of Practice
Evidence of practice within the last 5 years.

Fitness to Practice
Criminal history check and certificate(s) of good standing are usually required.

University Courses
The Speech pathology Australia website lists the University courses which have accreditation.

Registration Timeframes

  • Application acknowledgement within 1 week of being received by SPA.
  • 6 weeks for assessment, further time may be required depending on documentation required.
  • + Up to 7 weeks additional for QLD registration.

The assessment must be concluded within two years of original application. This is to provide sufficient time to gather the information needed and/or to undertake further training, testing or professional development to meet the requirements.

Registration Cost

  • $500 per annum - for SPA membership
  • $550 - for application of mutual recognition
  • $1,000 - for complete application

More Information
For further information and assistance please email the Nursing and Allied Health recruitment team.