One of the greatest perks of being a speech-language pathologist is the ability to work almost anywhere. And thanks to the Mutual Recognition Agreement (also known as the MRA), transferring your SLP license to another country is easier than ever!
Although the MRA makes it possible to work in many different countries, in this article we’ll be focusing exclusively on transferring your license to the United States. Let’s take a look at the MRA in more detail and learn how you can benefit from it.
What is the MRA?
The MRA is an agreement that allows speech therapists to take advantage of SLP license reciprocity on an international basis. It was formed in 2017 to make it easier for speech-language pathologists to transfer their licenses between many different English-speaking countries.
In the past, transferring an SLP license was a time-consuming, challenging process that deterred many people. The MRA was formed to streamline the transfer process and make it much more convenient for speech therapists to transfer to a new country.
As long as you’ve earned your full certification in one MRA-participating country, the process of transferring to another is relatively straightforward. However, you’ll still be required to take exams and meet other requirements to complete the transfer.
What countries are included in the MRA?
Each of the MRA-participating countries has its own speech pathology organizations. These organizations are responsible for ensuring that new speech pathologists meet all educational requirements before earning their license.
Here are all the countries that are participating in the MRA as of January 2020, as well as their qualifying speech therapy organizations:
- United Kingdom: The Royal College of Speech Therapists
- Canada: Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC)
- Australia: Speech Pathology Association of Australia Limited
- New Zealand: New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists’ Association (Incorporated)
- Ireland: Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists
- United States: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
There have been discussions of including more countries in the MRA in the future, but all the countries that have been approved so far are included on this list. If your country isn’t currently participating in the MRA, discuss the benefits of joining with your national speech pathology organization!
How can I apply for certification with ASHA through the MRA?
There are many advantages to working in the United States as a speech pathologist: At $77,510 per year, salaries are highly competitive. The field is expected to grow 27% by 2028 as well. Combined with the diverse geography of the United States, as well as ample education opportunities and attractions for your family, it’s no wonder that so many speech therapists are looking to relocate!
If you’re aiming to move to the United States after already earning your SLP license in an MRA-participating country, there are plenty of helpful guides on the ASHA website. But for now, we’ll sum up the process in a few simple steps:
Step 1: Request a letter from the speech therapy licensing organization of your own country.
Your first step to transferring your license to the United States is requesting a letter for ASHA from your home country’s licensing association. For example, if you currently reside in Canada, you’ll need to request a letter from Speech-Language and Audiology Canada addressed to ASHA. This letter will need to confirm your current licensing status and list all the details of your membership. Be sure to ask for the letter to list all your current areas of specialization and continuing education credits as well.
After you request a letter, ASHA will recognize it for one year. Therefore, you shouldn’t request a letter until you’re serious about moving and ready to begin the application process right away.
Step 2: Pass the Praxis Exam.
In the United States, the Praxis Exam is most commonly administered to teachers and other education professionals. However, since so many speech therapists end up working in schools, ASHA requires all applicants to pass this test.
The Praxis Exam will test your knowledge of these three key areas:
To prepare for the test, you can access helpful practice tests online, as well as many study guides. The test must be administered by the Educational Testing Service, and your scores must be sent directly to ASHA upon completion. You can take the test up to five years before submitting your application, so if you want, you can choose to get this requirement out of the way far in advance.
Good news for Canadian applicants: If you’re already a certified SAC member, ASHA doesn’t require you to take the Praxis Exam. You’ll be able to skip this step and move on to submitting the rest of your application after you have your SAC letter in hand.
Step 3: Complete the official application.
Once you’ve secured your letter and passed the Praxis Exam, it’s time to complete the official transfer application from ASHA. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions at the top to ensure your application is processed quickly and accurately. Your original signature is required at the end, and your entire application will be rejected if you use a digital signature or have someone else sign for you.
Step 4: Submit your processing payment.
To complete the transfer process, all SLPs are required to submit a payment of $511 along with their application. They accept cash payments in USD as well as personal checks. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are all accepted as well.
Step 5: Submit the completed application and wait for a decision.
Before you submit your application to ASHA, be sure to make copies of all your letters and documents. After you have at least one backup of everything you’re submitting, it’s time to send your application to ASHA. Their address can be found at the top of the application in Step 3. After all the documents are in the mail, there’s nothing left to do but wait for their decision!
Enjoy a rewarding career in the United States.
By meeting the following requirements, you’ll be fully qualified to practice as a speech-language pathologist in the United States under ASHA. Your CCC-SLP will qualify you for jobs in many exciting locations across the country, including:
- Elementary and secondary schools
- Colleges and universities
- Physician’s offices
SLP license reciprocity offers many exciting opportunities for speech therapists around the globe. Now that you know all the necessary steps, transferring your license will be a relatively simple process with many exciting rewards!
Erica Ciko Campbell
Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Biology| Utica College
Associate of Science (A.S.)| Herkimer County Community College
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