What's a CFY? Who's ASHA, and why do they matter so much?...what even is NSSLHA???

If you're new to looking into speech-language pathology (SLP), you've no doubt encountered these acronyms and maybe more. Here's your crash course on a few of the important acronyms you need to know as you're learning about the field. 


ASHA is the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association.  ASHA is the nation's accrediting organization for speech-language pathology and audiology. They set all of the standards for obtaining and maintaining certification. They also publish four research journals, support continuing education efforts, lobby the government, and have a foundation that provides scholarships, grants, and fellowships to students and researchers. In other words, they're kind of a big deal. 


The National Student Speech-Language and Hearing Association. You can think of NSSLHA as ASHA's little cousin. They're related in that they serve the same field, but they are not the same entity. Unlike ASHA, NSSLHA has local chapters at universities that function independently of the national NSSLHA organization. Students can choose to have their local chapter affiliated with the national organization. Benefits of NSSLHA membership include scholarships, access to networking opportunities, and potential for student leadership within the national organization. You'll hear different pronunciations of this one: "nissla" or "nishla."

3. CFY

Clinical Fellowship Year. The CFY is not actually a full year. This is a 36 week (1,260 hour) period after your master's where you work under the mentorship of a licensed speech-language pathologist. In addition to the number of hours, there are requirements for direct observation by your mentor and quarterly meetings. You'll likely obtain certification within 9-10 months. Some CFY positions require a one-year contract. Once you complete your hours, you'll submit paperwork to ASHA to obtain your CCC's. 

4. CCC

CCC stands for Certificate of Clinical Competence--you might hear people refer these as your "C's". After your CFY, you will earn your certificate of clinical competence. These are the three letters that appear after your degree and signal you've met ASHA's standard to practice as a clinician. In most states, you need your certificate of clinical competence to obtain a state license to practice as well. 


SLPA (pronounced "slippa") is for speech-language pathology assistant. SLPAs are support personnel work under the supervision of a licensed and certified SLP. They cannot practice independently. Requirements to become an SLPA are set at the state level, but ASHA has clearly outlined guidelines regarding SLP supervision of SLPAs. 

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