Continuing Competency

Questions and Answers for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists

Introduction | What is the Continuing Competency Requirement? | Dually Licensed Professionals | Audiologists Who Are Registered as Hearing Aid Dispensers | Who Must Complete the Continuing Competency Requirements? | Continuing Competency Learning Activities and Hours | Recordkeeping, Reporting and Audits | Continuing Education Sponsors | Other Information | To Obtain Further Information

Introduction

Article 159, Section 8209 of Education Law requires that speech-language pathologists and audiologists complete 30 continuing competency hours in each three-year registration period to maintain their registration.

The following information provides answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the continuing competency requirement. If you have additional questions or want to request a print version of the Law and Regulations, you may call 518-474-3817 ext. 100, fax 518-473-0532 or e-mail speechbd@mail.nysed.gov.


What is the Continuing Competency Requirement?

Each licensed speech-language pathologist and audiologist in practice is required to complete 30 hours of continuing competency learning activities during every three-year registration cycle. Of these 30 hours, at least 20 must be completed in a "professional" area, and the remainder may be in a "related area."

"Professional" area is defined as:

  • for speech-language pathologists: the study of normal processes, and the assessment and treatment of speech, voice, language, hearing and swallowing disorders.
  • for audiologists: the study of normal processes, and the assessment and treatment of hearing, speech, voice, and language disorders. Within a three-year registration cycle, audiologists who are hearing aid dispensers must complete six of the professional hours in courses related to hearing aid selection and fitting.

"Related" subject areas for both speech-language pathologists and audiologists means:

  • legal or regulatory issues;
  • reimbursement issues;
  • general supervision;
  • business practices;
  • pedagogical methodologies;
  • other topics which contribute to the professional practice of speech-language pathology and/or audiology; and
  • other matters of health care, law, ethics and professional responsibility which contribute to the health and welfare of the public.

Note: Your registration, which is required to practice, expires every three years. Licenses do not expire. To reregister, you must meet these continuing competency requirements.


Dually Licensed Professionals

Individuals who are licensed as both speech-language pathologists and audiologists may choose to meet the continuing competency requirement by obtaining 20 "professional" hours in each discipline and then obtaining an additional 10 hours in a "related" area. The "professional" hours may not be counted for both professions, but the "related" hours may be applied twice.


Audiologists Who are Registered as Hearing Aid Dispensers

Audiologists who are also hearing aid dispensers will meet the Department of State's continuing education requirement when they meet the Education Department's continuing competency requirement. The Department of State (DOS) has agreed to accept an audiologist's reregistration with the State Education Department as proof of completion of his/her DOS continuing education requirement. Dispensing audiologists must complete at least six continuing competency hours (2 each year) in the subject area of selecting and/or fitting of hearing aids. These six hours are considered "professional" continuing competency hours and must consist of coursework or training offered by an approved sponsor.


Who Must Complete the Continuing Competency Requirements?

  1. Who is required to undertake continuing competency activities and how many hours must be completed?

    Every speech-language pathologist and audiologist in practice with a New York State license must meet the requirement. Newly licensed new graduates do not need to meet the requirement when they reregister for the first time. All other licensees are required to complete 30 hours of continuing competency activities, as defined in Commissioner's Regulations, during each three-year registration period.

  2. I just graduated and received my license and am in my first registration period. Do I need to meet the continuing competency requirement?

    No. There is an exemption in the law for new graduates who are licensed in New York for the first time. When a new graduate is licensed for the first time, s/he receives both the license and first registration. When it is time to reregister for the first time, this licensee does not need to have met the continuing competency requirement. However, once the second registration period starts, the licensee must begin accruing the 30 continuing competency hours that will be required to renew the registration. However, all licensees are expected to remain competent in the field throughout the entirety of their professional career.

  3. I was practicing in another jurisdiction and just received my first New York State license and registration. Do I need to undertake continuing competency requirements immediately?

    Yes. Although this is the first time you received a New York State license, it may not be your first license. You must complete the required continuing competency activities during this and all subsequent registration periods.

  4. I am licensed in New York State but I am not registered (my registration lapsed) because I am only practicing my profession in another jurisdiction. Do I need to complete continuing competency activities before I can register in New York?

    Yes. To reregister in New York, you will need 30 hours of continuing competency activities. Since you are actively practicing your profession, you will be able to count continuing competency hours earned up to 36 months prior to the month in which you reregister.

  5. I am licensed in New York State but I am not registered (my registration lapsed) because I have not been practicing speech-language pathology or audiology in New York State or in any other jurisdiction. Do I need to complete continuing competency activities before I can reregister?

    Yes. To reregister in New York, you will need 30 hours of continuing competency activities plus one additional hour for each month in the previous 3 years that you have not been registered to practice, up to a maximum of 30 additional hours (maximum of 60 continuing competency hours total). Further at least 10 of those hours must be completed in the 12 months prior to reregistration, and at least two-thirds of the total required hours must be in "professional" areas.

  6. I just received my registration certificate, and it is for less than three years. Am I still expected to complete the total number of continuing competency hours required for my profession?

    No. Registration periods are adjusted so that renewals occur during the licensee's birth month. When this happens, you must calculate how many continuing competency hours you are required to complete. To do this, you must count the length of the registration in months and multiply that number by 1 hour, with a maximum of 30 hours. For example, you are issued a registration effective 7/1/05 and it expires 10/31/07. This registration is for 28 months. You must complete 28 hours of continuing competency learning activities in this registration period.


Continuing Competency Learning Activities and Hours

  1. What are continuing competency learning activities?

    Continuing competency activities are those learning activities that you undertake for the purpose of increasing and maintaining your professional competence. Continuing competency activities include:

    • Formal continuing education courses or workshops
    • Formal academic study
    • Self-study
    • Independent study
    • Mentoring or being mentored
    • Publication of a journal article in a recognized peer reviewed professional journal
    • Publication of a chapter in a text
    • Publishing a text book
    • Editing a text book
    • Publication of a professional article in a non-peer-reviewed publication which promotes understanding of speech, voice, language, swallowing and/or hearing
    • Presentations in a professional area at a recognized professional conference acceptable to the Department (e.g., AAA, ASHA, NYSSLHA, LISHA)
    • Chairing a professional practice committee of a recognized international, national, or state professional association (e.g., AAA, ASHA, NYSSLHA)
    • Participation in a professional study group as defined by regulation
    • In-service training for teachers offered by a public school or BOCES to their employees as part of the school's professional development plan
    • In-service training offered by approved sponsors
    • Other learning activities acceptable to the Department

  2. What is the difference between continuing competency learning activities and continuing education?

    Continuing education is a subset of continuing competency. Continuing education involves taking classes or participating in workshops. It also includes self-study activities that carry continuing education units (CEUs) and are offered by approved sponsors. Continuing competency includes a much broader array of learning activities.

  3. What are "formal continuing education courses and workshops?"

    Formal continuing education courses and workshops are courses and workshops offered by sponsors approved by the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the American Speech- Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) External Link Icon, the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET) External Link Icon, the New York State Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NYSSLHA) External Link Icon, the NYS Education Department or equivalent accrediting bodies.

  4. What is "formal academic study?"

    Formal academic study is credit bearing coursework offered by a regionally accredited college or university.

  5. May I audit a college level course and get continuing competency credit? How many hours of credit do I get?

    Yes, auditing college courses is an acceptable learning activity. However, you must keep an attendance record and have it signed by the instructor, and you must keep notes for each class that you attend. Auditing a class counts in the category of "other learning activities," and is counted at one-half of the credit you would have received had you taken the course for credit. For example, a three semester hour course is 45 continuing competency hours. Auditing the same course would be 22.5 continuing competency hours.

  6. What is an hour of continuing education?

    An hour of continuing education is one contact hour of at least 50 minutes in duration. Most continuing education providers give credit in hours; however, you may see credit given in continuing education units.

    One continuing education unit (CEU) equals 10 contact hours. Therefore, .1 CEU equals one contact hour, .2 CEUs equals two contact hours, .3 CEUs equals three contact hours, and so on. 3 CEUs equals 30 continuing competency hours.

    One semester hour of college-level course work equals 15 continuing competency hours. Therefore, a college level course that carries 3 semester hours of credit equals 45 continuing competency hours.

    One quarter hour of college-level course work equals 10 continuing competency hours.

  7. If I complete more hours than required during the registration period, can I use them toward the hours required in my next registration period?

    No. Continuing competency hours can not be carried over from one registration period to the next.

  8. Am I required to complete a certain number of hours per year?

    No. You can complete the hours any time during the three-year registration period as long as you have completed the required hours prior to the expiration date of your registration. There is an exception for individuals who have allowed their registration to lapse which is detailed above.

  9. Are there limits on the number of hours I can accrue in particular continuing competency learning activities?

    Yes. Some of the learning activities carry a maximum number of hours that can be counted toward the requirement. For example, you may earn no more that one-sixth of your total continuing competency hour requirement in independent study. See the Summary of Learning Activities for all the limitations contained in the regulations.

  10. Is there always a one-to-one correspondence between the number of hours I spend in the activity and the number of continuing competency hours for which I receive credit?

    No. Some activities require two or three hours for each continuing competency hour earned. For example, if you read journal articles on your own (independent study) and you do not receive CEUs, you can receive five continuing competency hours for fifteen hours of reading (ratio 1:3).; or if you participate in a study group you can credit yourself with one continuing competency hour for every two hours of study group contact time (ratio 1:2). See the Summary of Learning Activities for detailed information.

  11. How is "self-study" defined?

    Self-study is structured study based on audio, audio-visual, written, online or other media that is provided by a sponsor approved by the Education Department. Self-study activities carry CEUs. No more than two-thirds of the continuing competency requirement may be completed through self-study.

  12. How is "independent study" defined?

    Independent study is individualized professional study that is self-initiated and goal driven. It includes reading and research. It need not be offered by an approved sponsor, and a licensee can do it on his/her own. Three clock hours of independent study equals one continuing competency hour. No more than one-sixth of the continuing competency requirement may be completed through independent study. You must keep a record of your independent study activities, the date and number of hours you spent in independent study activities, and what you learned.

  13. How is "mentoring" defined?

    Mentoring is a one-to-one relationship between a mentor and a learner. It is defined in regulation to include the development of written learner goals, a written teaching plan, a summary of what was learned, and an evaluation of the mentoring experience. Both the mentor and the learner can receive credit for mentoring.

    The following are the rules for mentoring.

    • Mentoring is a one-on-one relationship between a mentor and a learner. Both the mentor and the learner receive continuing competency credit.
    • The mentorship must provide a minimum of fifteen contact hours between the mentor and the learner. The mentor must be licensed in speech-language pathology or audiology or in another profession licensed under Title VIII of Education Law and have at least five years of post-licensure experience in the subject of mentoring.
    • The learner must be a licensed speech-language pathologist or audiologist. The learner cannot be an applicant for licensure who is completing his/her required nine months of supervised experience.
    • The role of the mentor is to teach a licensee some aspect of his/her particular area of expertise. Mentoring is not the same as supervising. A speech supervisor in the school setting is not the same as a mentor.
    • The following records are required to be maintained by both the mentor and learner:
      • name of mentor and learner;
      • learner goals;
      • teaching plan of the mentor;
      • log of meeting dates and times of mentor and learner;
      • evaluation of the learner by the mentor;
      • narrative account by learner of what was learned; and
      • evaluation of mentorship by learner
    • The mentor and learner receive ten continuing competency hours for participating in the mentoring experience. However, no more than one-third of the total continuing competency requirement may be completed through mentoring.

  14. How is "publication of a journal article in a recognized peer reviewed professional journal" different from "publication of a professional article in a non-peer-reviewed journal?"

    Having an article published in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, for example, would fall into the first category, while publishing an article on a professional topic in Parents Magazine would fall into the second. Publication of books and journal articles in different types of journals is weighted differently. See the Summary of Learning Activities for additional information.

  15. What qualifies as "a presentation in a professional area," and how is it counted?

    For speech-language pathologists, a presentation on speech, voice, language, swallowing or hearing at an international, national, statewide or regional conference would qualify. For audiologists, the subject areas could be hearing, speech, voice and/or language. No more than one-sixth of the continuing competency requirement may be completed through giving professional presentations. If you give the same presentation twice, it only counts the first time.

  16. What qualifies as "chairing a professional practice committee" and how is it counted?

    A licensee who serves for at least one year as chair of an international, national or statewide committee whose goal is to examine practice issues in the profession(s) would meet this requirement. Such activity can be counted as five continuing competency hours in a "related" area.

  17. What are the requirements for in-service training for teachers of the speech and hearing handicapped?

    Like all continuing competency learning activities, in-service training for teachers falls into two categories: "professional" and "related." In-service training for teachers must be offered as part of the school district or BOCES professional development plan. "Related" areas for teachers include supervision, administration and general teaching methods.

  18. What qualifies as an in-service training program?

    In-service training programs are those educational programs offered by employers to their employees. They may be either "professional" or "related" and the sponsor/employer must be approved by AAA, ASHA, IACET, NYSSLHA or the NYS Education Department or an equivalent accrediting body. Programs approved by the Department of State for audiologists who are registered to dispense hearing aids are also acceptable.

  19. What are "other learning activities acceptable to the Department?"

    "Other learning activities" are those unique learning activities not specifically included in the regulations, which contribute to the licensee's professional competency. Licensees who identify "other learning activities" which they would like to use to meet the requirement should contact the office of the State Board for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology in advance for approval.


Recordkeeping, Reporting and Audits

  1. What records will I have to maintain?

    You are required to set written learning goals at the beginning of every registration cycle. These may be kept electronically. Your records also need to include the following items of information for each learning activity that you undertake:

    • date of learning activity;
    • number of contact hours;
    • activity sponsor (if any), location, speaker name (if any), individual course/workshop title;
    • if a sponsored activity, verification by the sponsor of your attendance; and
    • key points: summary of what you learned.

    Note:You are responsible for keeping brief notes on all learning activities that you complete

    Some of the learning activities have additional recordkeeping requirements. These include mentoring, independent study and study groups.

    See the Summary of Learning Activities for assistance in maintaining the required recordkeeping.

  2. What if I attend a conference or workshop that offers CEUs but I didn't sign up to receive official CEU credits from the sponsor?

    You do not need to receive official CEU credits from the sponsor. However, you must have official documentation of your attendance at each session, and you must keep track of key points.

  3. Is the information provided by the ASHA registry sufficient?

    No. In addition to the information provided by ASHA, you must keep notes summarizing what you learned, for each session or workshop you attended.

  4. How long must I maintain my records?

    You are required to maintain records for 6 years.

  5. Do I need to use the Continuing Competency Plan ( PDF 8 KB) and Summary Log of Learning Activities ( PDF 9 KB) provided by the State Board for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology to document my continuing competency learning activities?

    No. You may maintain your summary of learning activities on your computer or in another format. However, all the required information must be contained in your documents.

  6. What are learning goals, and why must I write them down?

    Learning goals are important to continuing competency. The development of learning goals requires the licensee to look at his/her professional practice and assess what sort of learning would be most beneficial. Developing learning goals provides an effective structure for organizing one's learning for the coming years.

  7. What if I set learning goals and then a great workshop comes along on a different professional topic?

    Your goals are meant to provide structure and to be a guiding principle. They are not set in stone. If you have an unexpected learning opportunity in another area, you are encouraged to take advantage of it. The purpose of the goal setting is to provide some focus to your learning, not to restrict it.

  8. Do I have to send my continuing competency records to the State Education Department's Board for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology when I reregister?

    No. The form you fill out when you reregister will ask you whether you have met the requirements. When you sign the form, you are certifying that you have complied with the law and regulations. However, you are required to make your continuing competency records available for inspection by the Education Department upon request. Every year random audits are conducted to insure compliance with these important requirements.

  9. If I falsely state that I complied with the mandatory continuing competency requirement, is it considered professional misconduct?

    Yes. According to Section 29.1 of the Rules of the Board of Regents, willfully making or filing a false report is unprofessional conduct. Penalties range from censure and reprimand to a fine and/or suspension, or revocation of your license to practice in New York State.


Continuing Education Sponsors

Certain learning activities must be offered by an approved sponsor. The following organizations have been given the explicit authority to approve sponsors:

  • The American Academy of Audiology (AAA)
  • The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET)
  • The New York State Department of State (for audiologists who are registered as hearing aid dispensers)
  • The New York State Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NYSSLHA)

In addition, the New York State Education Department approves sponsors of continuing education. Please submit the Application for Approval as a Continuing Education Sponsor for Speech-Language Pathologists and/or Audiologists (PDF 32KB) along with the required attachments to the Department at the address at the end of the form.

A workshop in a "professional" or "related" area offered by an organization approved by one of the above is an acceptable continuing competency learning activity.

  1. How do I know if a sponsor is approved?

    The organizations listed below are authorized to approve sponsors of continuing education for New York State speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Therefore, courses offered by sponsors approved by one of these entities are considered approved for New York State continuing competency purposes.

    • The American Academy for Audiology (AAA)

      At this time, the American Academy of Audiology is not approving sponsors for continuing education. Workshops offered by AAA at their conferences meet the continuing competency requirements. Contact the American Academy of Audiology at: 8300 Greensboro Dr., Suite 750, McLean, Virginia 22102; Tel: 800-AAA-2336, 703-790-8466; Fax: 703-790-8631; web www.audiology.org External Link Icon

    • The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

      A list of sponsors approved by ASHA is available from the American-Speech-Language- Hearing Association; 10801 Rockville Pike Rockville, Maryland 20852; Tel: 800-498-2071; TTY: 301-897-5700; Fax: 301-571-0457; web: www.asha.org External Link Icon

    • The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET)

      A list of sponsors approved by IACET is available from the International Association for Continuing Education and Training; 1620 I Street, NW Suite 615, Washington, DC 20006; Tel: 202-463-2905; Fax: 202-463-8498; web: www.iacet.org External Link Icon

    • The New York State Department of State (DOS)

      A list of sponsors approved by NYS DOS is available from the New York State Department of State; 41 State Street Albany, NY 12231-0001; Tel: 518-474-0050; Fax: 518-474-4765; web: www.dos.state.ny.us External Link Icon

    • The New York State Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NYSSLHA)

      Information regarding sponsors approved by NYSSLHA is available from the NYS Speech-Language-Hearing Association; 2 Northway Lane, Latham, NY 12110; Tel: 518-786-0947; Fax: 518-786-9126; web: www.nysslha.org External Link Icon

    • The New York State Education Department (NYSED)

      For information regarding approved sponsors, contact the New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions, State Board for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Education Building 2nd Floor, West Wing, Albany, NY 12234; Tel: 518-474-3817 ext. 100; Fax: 518-473-0532; E-mail: speechbd@mail.nysed.gov.

    • Although they are not authorized to approve sponsors, colleges, universities, and other institutions offering degrees (A.A.S., Au.D., B.S., M.S., Ph.D.) that are registered by the State Education Department or that are accredited by an equivalent accrediting agency are approved as sponsors for courses in their registered or accredited programs. They are also approved to offer continuing education classes that do not carry credit.

    • Although they are not authorized to approve sponsors, New York State school districts or Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) are approved as sponsors of in-service training provided to teachers of students with speech and hearing disabilities employed by such school districts or BOCES, pursuant to their professional development plan.

  2. The local school district is offering a workshop I would like to attend, but I am not an employee of the school district. If I take the workshop, will that meet part of my continuing competency requirement?

    No. School districts are not pre-approved at this time to offer continuing education to anyone other than their own employees. However, if the district becomes an approved sponsor, then the workshop may be used to meet part of the continuing competency requirement. School districts may seek approval as a sponsor from any of the entities that are recognized to approve sponsors.

  3. The preschool at which I work is providing a day of in-service training. Does this training qualify as an acceptable continuing competency learning activity?

    Only if the preschool has been approved as a sponsor of continuing education.

  4. The hospital at which I work offers in-service training. A lot of these programs are in "professional" areas as defined in regulations. May these be counted to meet the requirement?

    Only if the hospital is an approved sponsor of continuing education. Many hospitals have approved continuing education programs in place. If they offer nationally recognized CME, then that education is acceptable. If not, then they can become an approved sponsor.

  5. How does my employer apply to become an SED-approved sponsor?

    Your employer should contact the State Education Department Office of the Professions, State Board for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology for an application. The cost to apply to be a sponsor is $900, and sponsors are approved for three years. Your employer may want to investigate becoming an approved sponsor through ASHA, IACET or NYSSLHA.

  6. How do I know if a sponsor is approved?

    A listing of all SED-approved sponsors. ASHA External Link Icon, IACET External Link Icon and NYSSLHA External Link Icon also list the sponsors that they have approved.


Other Information

  1. What if it is time for me to reregister or I want to reactivate my registration after a lapse, and I have not completed the required number of continuing competency hours?

    You may request a one-year conditional registration. The Education Department may grant a conditional registration to a licensee who admits to noncompliance with the continuing competency requirements. NOTE: You may not legally provide services unless you are competent to provide them.

    To be granted a conditional registration, you would have to agree to:

    • complete the hours lacking from your previous registration period;
    • complete and submit the Registration Remittance Addendum ( PDF 14 KB);
    • complete the regular continuing competency requirement prorated for the one-year conditional registration (10 hours);
    • pay the full triennial registration fee for the conditional registration ($179 + $50=$229); and
    • at the end of the conditional registration year, provide proof of compliance and pay the full triennial registration fee for the remaining two years of your registration ($179 + $50=$229).

    Conditional registrations are valid for no more than one year and are not renewable. This means you MUST meet the requirements by the end of the conditional period. You will not be issued a registration for the remaining two years until you meet the requirements. Remember - if you are not licensed and registered you may not practice your profession in New York State as a licensed speech-language pathologist or audiologist.

  2. What if I do not meet the continuing competency requirement and do not renew my registration?

    If you are not going to practice your profession in New York State, this is fine. Your registration will remain inactive until you meet the continuing competency requirement (including the lapse in practice provision) and submit a registration renewal application with the appropriate fee.

  3. What if, due to circumstances beyond my control, I am having difficulty meeting the continuing competency requirement?

    The Department may grant an adjustment (not an exemption) to the requirement for: poor health certified by a physician; a specific physical or mental disability certified by an appropriate health care professional; extended active duty with the armed forces of the United States; or evidence of extreme hardship which, in the judgment of the Department, makes it impossible for the licensee to comply with the continuing competency requirements in a timely manner.

    You must request an adjustment from the Office of the State Board for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, by completing and submitting the Registration Remittance Addendum ( PDF 14 KB), and provide written documentation of the circumstances preventing you from complying with the requirements.


To Obtain Further Information

Contact the Office of the State Board for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Office of the Professions, Education Building, 89 Washington Avenue, 2nd Floor West Wing, Albany, New York 12234-1000, telephone 518-474-3817 ext. 100, fax 518-473-0532, e-mail speechbd@mail.nysed.gov.

Please visit this Web site periodically for current information regarding the continuing competency requirements and other issues related to the practice of your profession.

Last Updated: August 12, 2014