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  • 1.  VSHA / Dual Licensure Issue & Stipend Questions

    Posted 01-31-2024 06:29 PM

    Hi all,

    We (VSHA, in Vermont) are currently debating how to tackle the issue of inequity re: Vermont SLPs' licensing dual cost(s) below. 

    1 License / 1 Fee Issue 

    1. We are curious how other states who have a similar requirement are addressing the issue of requiring dual licenses, i.e. a state license and an educational endorsement. We have recently lost this battle in ~2016 even with the help of our lobbyists, and we would like to hear any thoughts on how to move forward for next legislative session. 


    1. Is there any benefit to lobbying our VT NEA to provide a stipend to cover the cost of the educational endorsement requirement, similar to how our Nurses have advocated for this type of stipend?
    2. Have some states lobbied for a stipend at the state legislative level with any success?

    It sounds like the most success with this issue has come from drawing similarities between teachers gaining their NTBC (National Teacher Board Certification) and SLPs gaining their CCCs, the latter of which is more rigorous in nature (per ASHA).

    Thanks for your time and insight.

    VSHA Board

    Jennifer Conforti

    Sierra Downs

    Sierra Downs
    Burlington, VT

  • 2.  RE: VSHA / Dual Licensure Issue & Stipend Questions

    Posted 02-01-2024 09:07 AM

    In CT, we are required to have a CT license which costs about $200 a year. We need this to get the state board certification and for renewals. There is a fee for first time state board certifications, but renewals are at no cost. So the only thing we are paying for is our required license renewal. 

    Shelley (CT)

  • 3.  RE: VSHA / Dual Licensure Issue & Stipend Questions

    Posted 02-15-2024 04:25 PM

    Thank you for this information, Shelley! 

    Sierra Downs
    Burlington, VT

  • 4.  RE: VSHA / Dual Licensure Issue & Stipend Questions

    Posted 02-20-2024 12:43 PM

    Hey Sierra, 

    We are exploring this issue in SC. Our state association (SCSHA) pushed through a practice act change which passed  a couple of years ago - however, the dept of education determined that the language didn't force them to exempt licensed SLPs from educator certification. It did grandfather in the educ certificate-only SLTs whether or not they had a state license (if cert was issued prior to 9/1/2020), as we constantly face shortages in school-based SLPs here (as do many other states). 

    Some questions we've considered in the time since 2021 (when I came on as SCSHA VP Gov Affairs): 

    • What purpose is educator certification serving (other than the obvious - a credential issued by the department for school-based SLPs who are direct hires of the LEA)?  Some examples may include:
      • Background check verification at initial issuance and again at regular intervals after being issued (our state practice act does not have a formal background check)
      • Continuing education compliance checks (specific programs such as literacy training or suicide prevention are not required by the licensing board, but may be required by individual districts and tied to the renewal of the educ certificate)
      • Goal-based evaluation tracking and/or other employee evaluation purposes (data reporting to the US Dept of Ed on numbers of certified staff, however it is noted that "certified" in IDEA does include state issued licenses, so a certification does not need to be invented due to the use of this word)
    • Is there confusion over IDEA language about qualified personnel and the role of the SLP as a related service provider and/or providing special education services? 
    • Does the state licensing act fulfill IDEA requirements for these SLP personnel and in what way does the educator certification fill those perceived gaps)?
    • Are SLPs with this additional certification or credential able to obtain add-on certification in other educational fields (i.e. early childhood, special education, reading/literacy, deaf/HOH, etc.), and if so, would removing the certification make it harder for the SLP to obtain those other certifications? How many SLPs currently hold dual certification and what is the trend over time (increasing, or decreasing)?
      • Essentially: How would the state association advocating for removing the certification possibly affect your constituents? 
    • What about access to public service loan forgiveness? Are SLPs able to obtain the same level of financial loan forgiveness if the certification is removed? 
    • Does the educator certification force SLPs to be placed on a specific [teacher] salary schedule/scale? Is it at least the Masters+30 scale?
      • Who controls that process - individual districts? state?  
      • If PT/OT/RN/Psych are on a different salary scale than SLPs, what is the justification for why? If it is simply the fact that SLPs are on the educator certification, can that be discussed with the department of education to find a workable solution, even if the certification does not appreciably change?
    • Where is the certification required in policy, regulation, or state statute?
      • What language would need to be changed and at what level, to change certification? 
    • Does certification add benefits in the state employee plan that might not be available if not certified?  Would these state-licensed SLPs (not certified) then become classified; if so, are classified employees able to obtain those same benefits? 
      • Some benefits might include duty-free days or "unencumbered time"; paid family leave (SC just passed a paid parental leave bill for school district employees who are certified or classified which gives them 6 weeks pay for a reported birth/adoption); other benefits could include access to annual leave and sick days vs just being paid when present at work

    Unfortunately the answers to the questions above (and more) are not easy to generate and therein lies the solution...  If removing certification causes even a perception of harm, then it may not be the right answer.  

    The other approach we've had has to do with what harms the certification is possibly causing because it is required.  Some of those potential harms have to do with salary (we found out one district pays OT/PT $16k more per year than SLPs... which is abominable). Other potential harms have to do with duties and staff responsibilities during the school days, the PDH that the school district will or won't count, and the evaluation instrument - for example we have "ADEPT" for the evaluations here and while there is some individualization for SLPs doing ADEPT, we hear from our school-based SLPs that the ADEPT process is not appropriate for them and they would prefer a goal-based evaluation.  In that case, is certification behind that requirement, or is that something that can change with advocacy for goal-based evaluations and exempting SLPs from ADEPT?

    I have reached out to ASHA Staff about the CCC vs NBCT bonuses, and I am hoping to see some renewed resources on that soon.  ASHA already has some resources available on it, but each member is going to have to work with their state association (with the support of ASHA staff) as they work toward a solution on whether or not to advocate for the CCC bonus to be equivalent to NBCT bonuses.  It is unclear whether or not the CCC bonus would require state legislation or advocacy at the district level, so that's going to be state specific, depending on how NBCT bonuses are mandated (law, regulation, policy, or district). Some SLPs in my state have done the NBCT in special education, but I don't know what that process looks like, or if it's the best pathway to take. 

    Teamwork makes this better, so if someone is reading here who is not a member of their state association, I would highly recommend it - with my own bias, of course!  The last thing you want is to make enemies of your educator certification department... 


    Kelly Caldwell