Mutual Recognition Agreement
January 2009 Update
Following the signing of this agreement in November 2008, processes for overseas and domestic applicants have been developed by the Executive Committee. For more information on the MRA, and making an application under this agreement, visitors should follow the link here.
December 2008 Update
At the recent American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) Convention in Chicago, the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) was signed on November 22nd.
The agreement is now held between ASHA, the Canadian Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists, the Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists, the New Zealand Speech-language Therapists' Association, the Royal College of Speech-Language Therapy, and Speech Pathology Australia. This agreement allows for mutual recognition of credentials between the signatory associations.
Information about this agreement, including the application process, costs and general information will be available from this website from January 1st 2009.
The Executive Committee would like to thank Colette, past-President Stella Ward, and the MRA working party, for their extensive work in putting this agreement together with representatives of the signatory associations.
Signatories of the 2008 Mutual Recognition Agreement
November 2008 Update
In the last few months, following on-going negotiations, Colette Maier has worked tirelessly, adding the final touches to this agreement. This agreement is due to be signed by both Colette and Megan McAuliffe (President of the NZSTA), on behalf of the association, on 22nd November at the ASHA Convention. The MRA will come into effect on January 1st 2009, allowing members of signatory associations (see below) to apply for mutual recognition of their credentials from another signatory association.
March 2008 Update
The Mutual Recognition Agreement project continues to make steady progress. The NZSTA hosted a very productive teleconference last month. During the discussion, the target implementation date of 2009 was agreed upon. Until then, members wishing to apply to one of the signatory associations (ASHA, CASLPA, RCSLT, SPA) will need to use the existing overseas application process of the respective association. Although we are aiming to sign the agreement in Auckland in May, it is looking less likely this will happen. Although all the signatories have outlined their requirements of each other, there is not full acceptance of the conditions by some of the associations; hence the delay in setting a firm date for the signing of the agreement. Further negotiations are needed in order to reach an agreement which is usable and acceptable for all parties.
October 2007 Update
At the recent International Association of Logopaedics and Phoniatrics 2007 conference, representatives from the signatory associations, including NZSTA and the IASLT, took part in two days of negotiation meetings. Over these two days, a new draft agreement was negotiated between all the representatives. This agreement now enters a review phase, which will take place over the next couple of months. A number of additional requirements that each association has of each other arose under the new agreement. Full details of these requirements will be available when the agreement is finalised.
One of the outcomes of the discussions is that only full members of NZSTA will be able to use the MRA. A full member is an individual:
- who is engaged in the activities of Speech-Language Therapy as a practitioner, administrator, educator, researcher, or any combination thereof for which they will receive payment during any part of the year
- who has demonstrated competency in communication and swallowing disorders
- who has met the New Entrant, Overseas Applicant, or Return to Practice requirements
- who demonstrates a commitment to ongoing professional development by meeting the Continuing Professional Development criteria
- who is bound by the NZSTA Code of Ethics
For the specific purposes of MRA, Full Members of the NZSTA who graduated prior to 1993 will be excluded from the agreement. Pre-1993 graduates are those therapists who trained in New Zealand with a Teacher's Certificate endorsed with qualifications in Speech-Language Therapy, or with a Diploma in Speech-Language Therapy awarded prior to 1993. The rationale for this exclusion is that some of the current signatory associations have concerns regarding the substantial equivalence of graduates of the pre-1993 programs. Pre-1993 graduates can apply for membership of the signatory associations through the usual overseas applicant process.
Although much work and consultation must be done beforehand, the tentative date for signing the new agreement is May 2008.
For more information about the MRA, please contact:
MRA Working Party Chair
What is the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA)?
The Mutual Recognition of Credentials Agreement was established in 2004 by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA), the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT), and the Speech Pathology Association of Australia (SPA). It is an agreement which allows members of signatory associations to apply for mutual recognition of their credentials from another signatory association. The premise of substantial equivalence underlies the agreement, i.e. under certain terms and conditions an individual’s credentials are deemed substantially equivalent (MRA Agreement 2004). This is not equality or reciprocity, as each of the signatory associations has specific requirements for applicants.
Who is involved?
A working party was established in 2006 and is comprised of: Colette Murphy (Chair), Gina Tillard, Felicity Bright and Cheryl Palmer. NZSTA President, Stella Ward, is overseeing the working party. Ngaire Hamilton (NZSTA Administrator) has provided much appreciated administrative support. The working party is responsible for writing the application document, gathering supportive documents and negotiation. We are fortunate in having Speech Pathology Australia as our mentors.
Who else is applying?
The Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists (IASLT) are also applying for inclusion in the agreement. RCSLT are kindly mentoring them.
What are the benefits?
- Identifying common standards of clinical competence, which will assist the academic communities, continuing education providers, the industry, regulatory bodies and the general public
- Facilitating international interchange of knowledge and experience
- Reducing trade barriers
- Increasing the mobility of individuals with approved credentials
What are the requirements from signatory associations?
Each signatory association has specific terms and conditions for applicants from other associations. These conditions are outlined in the MRA (2004) and are too lengthy to be detailed here. National, state or provincial registration or licensing may be required for practice in certain countries, states or provinces, in addition to certification under the MRA. All applicants must be current certified Full member in good standing in their home association at the time of application for at least one year (12 months).
What requirements will NZSTA have for applicants?
NZSTA will require applicants from other signatory associations to be eligible for full membership of NZSTA. Applicants will need to be current certified members in good standing in their home association at the time of application. Applicants will need to provide proof of recent practice, and evidence of continuing professional development. Applicants will need to demonstrate competency in all areas of speech-language therapy practice, adults and paediatrics, including communication and swallowing disorders.
Do I have to maintain membership of my home association once my credentials are approved?
According to the existing agreement, once an applicant’s credentials are approved membership of the home association can lapse. However, members may choose to maintain membership of their home association which is beneficial for members who may consider returning to their home country and to support the association.