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What is Specialty Certification?

Speech–language pathologists (SLPs) who have advanced knowledge, skills and experience are recognized by the designation of BCS-S or Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders. This certificate is akin to Board Certification that qualified physicians hold. The American Speech-Language Hearing Association, that grants basic certification to all SLPs as an entry level requirement for practice, began this program of Specialty Recognition in 1995. While BCS-S is voluntary, it is becoming the standard for identifying an SLP who is an expert in dysphagia, or swallowing disorders.



What are the basic requirements that must be met to qualify as Board Certified?

The SLP must have established a clinical practice that specializes in dysphagia with a specified minimum number of contact hours per year. She or he must also have accrued a substantial number of Continuing Education hours in the area of Swallowing Disorders. Finally this person must have distinguished themselves via research, administrative, and/ or educational accomplishments.

Why do we need Specialty Certification in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders?

Swallowing disorders, or dysphagia, can lead to serious and even fatal complications if not evaluated accurately and treated effectively. If you are a person with a swallowing problem, you are aware of the critical need to find a specialist. You need someone who can provide you with a comprehensive evaluation and provide appropriate and effective therapy. If you identify a clinician with BCS-S, you can be confident that you will be treated by someone who is extremely well qualified. Your goal – to return to as normal a diet as possible, will be most likely attained if you get help from a specialist.