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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@nysed.gov.

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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 (see below) 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.

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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.

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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?
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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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
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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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"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
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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.

: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.

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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.

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

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You are required to maintain records for 6 years.

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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.

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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.

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@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.