Speech language pathologists (SLPs) and audiologists are health professionals who can help with many communication challenges. Their training and experience allows them to perform assessment, consultation, treatment (including the supervision of aides and assistants), administration/management, teaching, and research.
ACSLPA is the body that oversees the practice of SLPs and audiologists in Alberta. Our mission is to ensure Albertans receive safe, competent and ethical speech, language and hearing services. SLPs and audiologists must be registered with ACSLPA and hold a valid practice permit to work in the province.
Frequently Asked Questions for users of speech-language pathology and audiology services:
SLPs are professionals who have a master’s, doctorate, or equivalent degree. They’ve typically completed an undergraduate degree (bachelor’s level) in any number of fields (e.g., education or special education, psychology, linguistics, science) followed by a two-year master’s degree in speech-language pathology. Their training involves coursework and clinical practicum hours and includes a focus on communication and swallowing and feeding difficulties.
Audiologists are professionals who have a master’s or doctorate degree in audiology. Audiologists have typically completed an undergraduate degree (bachelor’s level) in any number of fields, followed either by a two-year master’s degree in audiology, or by a post-baccalaureate doctor of audiology degree that is up to 4 years long. Their training involves coursework and clinical practicum hours and includes a focus on hearing and balance disorders.
The designations/titles that can be used by registered SLPs and audiologists in Alberta are protected in legislation, as outlined in Section 128 and Schedule 28 (2) of the Health Professions Act (HPA). They are as follows:
- Speech-Language Pathologist: Speech-language pathologist, Speech therapist, Speech pathologist, SLP, R.SLP (registered SLP)
- Audiologist: Audiologist, Aud, R.Aud (registered audiologist)
Only individuals with the required training and experience can use these titleson their business cards, in written reports, on a website, or even when introducing themselves verbally.
SLPs and audiologists who are “non-practicing” do not have an active practice permit and are not allowed to work in their respective professions. They can, however, use the titles or designations listed above, followed by the term “Non-Practicing”: e.g., Jane Doe, R.SLP (Non-Practicing) or Bill Smith, R.Aud (Non-Practicing). Professionals who are on maternity leave, for example, or away from work on an extended leave might choose to register as non-practicing.
I’ve noticed that some SLPs and audiologists refer to themselves as “Doctor” or “Dr.” whereas others do not. Is there a difference?
Only individuals authorized by ACSLPA can use the title “doctor” or “Dr.” when providing a health service. SLPs and audiologists who are authorized to use these titles hold either a clinical doctorate or a PhD in speech-language pathology or audiology.
Regulated members of ACSLPA with doctoral degrees can use the title “doctor” or “Dr.” in teaching, research, or administration without prior authorization.
I was looking for someone to work with my three-year old who has difficulties with pronunciation of his words. I’ve seen ads for a “speech-language consultant” and a “communication specialist”. Are these people qualified to assess and treat my son?
Typically, someone advertising themselves as a communication specialist or as a speech-language consultant is not registered with the College and is not a speech-language pathologist. While they may profess to offer services similar to those of a registered SLP, they will not have the required education and skills. Only those individuals who are registered with ACSLPA can use the title of speech-language pathologist or audiologist in Alberta. To ensure you have a fully qualified, competent and regulated SLP/audiologist, please verify the individual is registered with us.
How can I verify that a speech-language pathologist or audiologist is registered with ACSLPA and entitled to work in the province?
To find out if your SLP or audiologist is registered in Alberta, you can search the public register accessible at ACSLPA’s Public Register.
I’m concerned that my elderly father might have a hearing loss and I’d like to have his hearing assessed. I’ve seen lots of ads for hearing tests but they don’t always say that an audiologist is providing the service. What should I be looking for when I go to make an appointment for my Dad?
In Alberta and across Canada both audiologists and hearing aid practitioners (also known as hearing instrument practitioners, hearing aid dealers or hearing aid dispensers) conduct hearing tests for the purposes of selecting, fitting and dispensing hearing aids and other assistive listening devices. The academic and clinical training of these two groups differs significantly, as does their scope of practice.
While audiologists and hearing aid practitioners often work independently of one another, there are work environments where audiologists and hearing aid practitioners also work collaboratively.
To ensure you benefit from the training and experience of a qualified audiologist, look for the designation Audiologist, Aud, or R. Aud.
Education: 5-7 years of baccalaureate and graduate degree university education and a minimum of 350 hours of supervised clinical practicum.
Scope of Practice: Assess, identify, and manage individuals of all ages with peripheral or central hearing loss, hyperacusis, tinnitus and balance disorders; select, prescribe, fit and dispense hearing aids and assistive listening devices; provide counseling and rehabilitation as required.
Regulation in Alberta: Protected titles: Audiologist, Aud, or R.Aud www.acslpa.ca
Hearing Aid Practitioners
Education: 2-3 year college or university diploma or certificate OR self- study program of several months in duration. Significant variability in training across the country.
Scope of Practice: Test peripheral hearing for the purpose of selecting, fitting and dispensing hearing aids and other assistive listening devices.Typically not permitted to provide services to children.
Regulation in Alberta: Protected titles: Hearing Aid Practitioner www.chapa.ca.
Questions? Please contact the ACSLPA office directly at a d m i n @ a c s l p a . c a or by phoning 780-944-1609 or toll free at 1-800-537-0589 within Alberta.