Graduate degrees in speech pathology from Australian universities are recognized by the Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC) and provincial regulatory bodies for practicing in Canada, providing the necessary clinical and coursework hours were completed within the program.
To become licensed in Canada, you must have studied and practiced audiology as well. The total amount of clinical and instruction hours required to become licensed vary depending on the province, and from the requirements to become clinically certified by the SAC (optional), there are a separate list of requirements. Clinical hours may include relevant undergraduate studies, so the number of hours each student will need to take in the program may vary.
It’s the student’s responsibility to contact their provincial regulatory body to ensure they understand the requirements and process to become licensed when they return, and they should track their hours during the program to make sure they have enough for certification.
Steps to Practice
How do you become a speech pathologist in Canada?
Complete an undergraduate degree and gain admission to a graduate program like the Master of Speech Language Pathology or Master of Speech Pathology.
2. Get your hours
Complete the minimum number of clinical/instruction hours in specific areas of discipline, at either a graduate or undergraduate level. These vary by province, but here are the CASLPO requirements for practicing in Ontario as an example:
270 hours of coursework in basic communication processes covering
- Anatomy and physiology of speech, language and hearing development
- Physiology of the production and perception of speech
200 hours of coursework related to
- Study of human behavior (e.g., psychology, sociology, anthropology, education)
- Statistics (e.g., basic statistics, research methods, research design)
- Administrative organization (e.g., professional practices and issues)
90 hours of cross-discipline study in audiology
360 hours of coursework in an in-depth study of
- disorders of hearing functioning
- clinical evaluation and treatment of communication disorders
300 supervised clinical hours including
- 225+ hours in speech pathology/audiology covering assessment and management of children and adult patients across a range of disorders
- 20+ hours of direct patient contact related to speech pathology/audiology
- No more than 30 of these hours may be simulated practice
- Hours of observation are not considered
Speak with your faculty and your provincial regulatory body about making sure you get the hours in your graduate program necessary to meet licensing requirements to practice in the province where you would like to work. It’s your responsibility to track these hours with the guidance available.
3. Apply for Licensure
After graduation, you will apply for provincial licensure and have your educational background assessed for eligibility. Once approved, you will apply for your Initial Certificate of Registration (or have 2 years’ experience) and complete a six-month clinical mentorship, after which you may apply for full licensure.
Cross-discipline Hours Audiology
Graduates may also join Speech Language & Audiology Canada to gain access to professional resources for development, insurance, and other benefits. They may also undertake the SAC’s Clinical Certification process, allowing the use of the S-LP(C) professional designation.
The SAC mutually recognizes master’s-level speech pathology programs at Australian universities, which streamlines the approval process. This mutual recognition does not extend to audiology programs.
Currently in Canada, eight provinces require mandatory registration with a regulatory body.
Upcoming Licensing Changes
Starting in Fall 2020, the SAC will be replacing their Clinical Certification exam with a new Canadian Entry to Practice (CEPT) exam based on harmonized standards and competencies established by the Canadian Alliance of Audiology and Speech Pathology Regulators (CAASPR). Please see the CETP exam FAQs for information.
This new exam will be required to become licensed to practice in any regulated province, and logistical details are forthcoming. OzTREKK will post updated information as soon as it becomes available.
You don’t meet the required prerequisites
Most Australian Master of Speech Pathology programs require a student to have completed specific undergraduate subjects.
1. Apply to programs that don’t have prerequisites
Griffith University or Flinders University don’t require prerequisite courses. Alternatively, the University of Sydney Master of Speech Language Pathology program doesn’t have prerequisites; however, you’ll be asked to complete online modules to bring your knowledge up to requirement before the start of the program. Sydney will issue the student a conditional offer with these modules as part of the conditions.
2. Enroll in the missing prerequisite(s)
Most Australian universities will let you take non-award courses during the application season to make up the prerequisites you’re missing. This means you can submit your application with your interim transcript and proof of enrollment into the prerequisite course. Before enrolling in any prerequisite course, we advise checking with either your admissions officer or with the university to make sure the course will satisfy the prerequisite.
If you haven’t completed the prerequisite course(s) by the time offers are issued, then universities may issue a conditional offer. Please note that not all universities will issue conditional offers and it may vary for each program. It’s always best to check with your admissions officer to see if your program of interest will give conditional offers.
What is the appropriate regulatory body for speech pathology in my province?
Alberta College of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (ACSLPA)
College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of British Columbia (CSHHPBC)
College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Manitoba (CASLPM
College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO)
New Brunswick Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (NBASLPA)
Newfoundland and Labrador Council of Health Professionals
Ordre des orthophonistes et audiologistes du Québec (OOAQ)
Saskatchewan Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (SASLPA)
Can I work as a speech pathologist when I return to Canada?
You should first contact the regulatory body of the Canadian province in which you plan to work upon graduation. It will be your responsibility throughout your studies to ensure you complete the proper requirements in order to practice in Canada.
You must be aware of the required speech pathology (major) and audiology (minor) clinical hours in order to practice in your province. Most programs OzTREKK represents with do not seem to meet Canadian certification requirements “as is.” This means you will be required to arrange and undertake additional clinical and course hours as required to meet Canadian standards.
Visit Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC) to familiarize yourself with their requirements for practice in Canada.
I do not have all the prerequisites. Can I still apply?
Unfortunately, if you do not have the required prerequisites, you are not eligible to apply. If you are missing a course or two, you are welcome to enroll in those courses before applying and we will submit your interim transcript with your application. Otherwise, you are welcome to send in a course outline you feel covers the required content.
What should I include in my personal statement?
Your personal statement should be about one to two pages in length and must cover your understanding of the scope of speech pathology as practiced in Australia, your relevant personal experience of speech pathology or related fields and include an explanation of any factors relevant to the application.
What do you mean by course outlines?
A course outline includes all the necessary information about a university course. It will include the course title, the year, the learning goals, the professor’s contact information, reading materials and most important, a weekly learning schedule. This will help the universities to see what you studied on a week-to-week basis and assess if you have covered the material they expect you to know.
What is the competitive GPA for speech path programs?
Anything above a 75% cGPA is considered competitive for our speech pathology programs. If you have a cGPA of 70% or lower, we would not recommend applying.