Graduate degrees in speech pathology and audiology 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 either profession in Canada, you are required to have completed a minimum number of clinical/instruction hours in the other discipline. As an example, to become an speech pathologist 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.
How do you become a speech pathologist in Canada?
First, you will need to complete a postgraduate degree like a Master of Speech Pathology. To become licensed to practice professionally as a speech pathologist or an audiologist in Canada, you must go through a provincial regulatory board in the province in which you would like to live and work.
Here’s a general breakdown of the process:
1. Meet Clinical Hours
Be sure to advise your faculty of the hours you need to meet licensing requirements for the province in which you would like to work (and optionally SAC requirements for Clinical Certification). Remember, these hours are not tracked for you by the university; however, they will work with you to ensure that your clinical placements align with what you need to return home.
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.
3. Canadian Entry to Practice Examination
The CETP Exam is a national, standardized, competency-based entry-to-practice exam for speech-language pathologists and audiologists. It is a regulatory exam based on the competency profiles and sub-competencies recently developed by CAASPR for the purpose of regulation.
Important note: Internationally trained individuals may prepare for the application process while still enrolled in a program of study or while outside Canada by becoming familiar with Canadian registration requirements and upgrading language skills if required.
Tracking your hours
The biggest hurdle you will face is making sure that you have completed the required hours—both face-to-face class time and practical hours—in both your major speech pathology courses and your minor audiology courses.
North American universities employ task-based learning, while Australian unis use practical-based learning. The result is that North American regulatory bodies focus greatly on hours spent in learning while Australian regulatory bodies concentrate more on the quality of the work, not the time spent on it.
So, what do you do?
Get extra hours
It is certainly possible to make up extra time in clinicals and extra courses to make up class time (at your expense). Other OzTREKK alums have been successful in being certified to work as audiologists and speech pathologists in their respective provinces. Work with your faculty advisor, and he or she may be able to help you find additional practice hours.
We recommend you contact your provincial regulatory board (listed below) for the paperwork required to record your class and clinical hours—not only do you need to complete the minimum hours, but you will need to prove it, too.
As an internationally educated graduate, you will also go through a credentialing process to determine your studies are equivalent to Canada’s.
Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba or Saskatchewan
- Create an account and application file with CAASPR have a credential assessment completed by a third-party agency and possibly complete language proficiency testing; and
- Submit all required documents to CAASPR and pay the associated fees.
Quebec, Ontario, Alberta or British Columbia
You should contact the corresponding regulator and follow their process for application and assessment. If your training is assessed to be equivalent to the minimum standard for accredited Canadian training programs, and you are required to successfully complete the CETP exam, you will be advised how to enroll for the exam and pay the exam fee.
If you intend to practice in an unregulated territory, you should contact the corresponding provincial/territorial professional association to learn the process for application. Applicants planning to practice in an unregulated jurisdiction are not required to write the CETP exam but may wish to do so if they plan to move to a regulated jurisdiction in the future.
If deemed successful, you will be directed to enroll for the CETP exam and pay the exam fee. If you are deemed not eligible to proceed to the exam, the regulatory body in the jurisdiction where you intended to practice will provide you specific information regarding your application.
Taking the exam
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.
About the Canadian Entry-to-Practice (CETP) Examination
If you have been approved to write the CETP Exam, you will be directed to enroll for the exam with the exam provider, Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC). Some basic information from your CAASPR account will be securely transferred electronically to the exam enrollment page and you will be required to provide additional information regarding preferred examination location and language, etc., and pay the exam fee. You will have 2 years, from the date of your written eligibility confirmation, and 3 attempts to successfully complete the CETP Exam.
Important Note: Certain provinces and regulators do not require applicants to sit the CETP Exam. Applicants may, however, voluntarily undertake the Exam.
COVID-19 & CETP Exam Updates
CETP Examinations are rescheduled to November 21, 2020
ACSLPA applicants educated outside of a recognized accredited program who are required to successfully pass an exam as part of their registration requirements will not be asked to register for the CETP exam at this time. We anticipate having more information available this fall.
Until further notice, we advise applicants not to begin the process of enrolling for the CETP Exam. Although the CAASPR portal is active for applicants to do this, we ask that you wait until CSHBC provides further information specific to British Columbia.
CASLPO Council has decided that they will not require the successful completion of the CETP Exam until April 1, 2021, regardless of whether their amendments to the Registration Regulation are approved by the Ministry of Health or not.
Federal organization benefits
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.
Regulatory and Licensing Bodies in Canada
- Alberta College of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (ACSLPA)
- College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of British Columbia (CSHBC)
- Saskatchewan Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (SASLPA)
- College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Manitoba (CASLPM)
- College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO)
- Ordre des orthophonistes et audiologistes du Québec (OOAQ)
- New Brunswick Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (NBASLPA)
- Newfoundland and Labrador Council of Health Professionals
- Nova Scotia College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists (NSCASLP)
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.