WSR 98-07-084



[Filed March 17, 1998, 4:33 p.m.]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 97-08-023

Title of Rule: WAC 246-828-020 Examinations, definition of examination requirements for voluntary certification and licensure

Purpose: Rules are needed to define the examination process required for certification of audiologists and speech-language pathologists and licensure of hearing instrument fitter/dispensers. Rules will provide those individuals desiring certification or licensure with the needed information regarding eligibility

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 18.35.040 and 18.35.161

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 18.35.050

Summary: The proposed amendments adopt the National Examination in Speech-language pathology and audiology as the required examination for certification of speech-language pathologists and audiologists and the state hearing instrument fitter/dispenser examination for audiology certification. The amendments also eliminate the practical exam required for hearing instrument fitter/dispenser licensure

Reasons Supporting Proposal: There are currently no examination requirements defined for speech-language pathology or audiology certification and the 1996 requirement of apprenticeship training for hearing instrument fitter/dispenser licensure, the practical examination is no longer necessary

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Diane Young, 1300 Quince Street S.E., Olympia, (360) 586-0205

Name of Proponent: Department of Health, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: This clearly defines the examination requirements that must be met to obtain voluntary certification or licensure. The rule is anticipated to prevent incompetent and inadequately trained individuals from harming the consumers of hearing and speech health care services

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: The amendments define the examination requirements [of] the newly regulated audiologists and speech-language pathologists and eliminates the practical portion of the existing examination requirements for hearing instrument fitter/dispenser licensure

A small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW.

Small Business Economic Impact Statement


Economic Impact Analysis

This report contains, the economic impact analysis used by health professions quality assurance in determining program costs associated with examination requirements for speech-language pathologists and audiologists.

Background: The state of Washington recognizes speech-language pathology as a profession that provides services related to the development and disorders that impede oral, pharyngeal, or laryngeal sensorimotor competencies and the normal process of communication. These services are provided in a number of professional health care and educational settings to infants, children, adults and elderly.

The state of Washington recognizes audiology as a profession that provides services related to hearing and the disorders of hearing and to related language and speech disorders, that impede the normal process of communication. It is also acknowledged that this profession fits and dispenses hearing instruments and provides cerumen management. These services are provided in a number of professional health care and education settings to infants, children, adults and elderly.

The regulation of speech-language pathologists and audiologists is intended to protect the public from being misled by incompetent, unethical and unauthorized persons; and to assure the availability of hearing and speech services of high quality to citizens of Washington state.

The potential for physical, economical and mental harm compelled the industry to seek regulation. Some examples of harm that could and have resulted from incompetent practice include: Defrauding individuals of thousands of dollars; failure to recognize early signs of chronic disease and misuse of hearing instrumentation causing infections or lacerations of the ear or perforation of the ear drum.

Pursuant to RCW 18.35.040(2), applicants for certification as a speech-language pathologist or audiologist must satisfactorily complete the speech-language pathology or audiology examinations required by chapter 18.35 RCW.

Pursuant to RCW 18.35.050, nationally recognized examinations in the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology may be used to determine if applicants are qualified for certification.

ESHB 2309 expanded the professionals regulated under chapter 18.35 RCW to include not only hearing instrument fitter/dispensers as it did previously but also audiologists and speech-language pathologists. The new regulation creates a voluntary certification for speech-language pathologists and audiologists. The proposed rules will clarify the examination requirements necessary for certification.

Economic Impact Analysis

Costs to a Business: Due to the voluntary nature of certification of speech-language pathologists and audiologists there is no imposed impact on business. Those individuals who were practicing in the profession on June 6, 1996, will experience no impact by the rules defining examination requirements as all individuals with current certification from the national organization or from the state of Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction or the equivalent will be granted a certificate without obtaining further education, training or testing. Research demonstrates that the majority of professionals currently practicing meet these examination requirements. As the proposed examination requirements are a reflection of the requirements of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association.

There would be no disproportionate affect on small and large entities. The regulated entities are all small businesses. These businesses have been involved in work groups to develop the rules defining the examination requirements for the profession and suggestions submitted by individuals in writing have been incorporated into the proposed rule.

Department of Health Costs to Administer the Regulation: Audiology and speech-language pathology are newly regulated health professions; therefore, there is no program history on cost. Estimated expenditures are based on the Department of Health standard cost factors for budgeting. These include phase-in costs support staffing, purchase of workstation furniture and other equipment and agency indirect costs.

This revenue must be collected from fees assessed on the regulated entities.

The required program revenue includes funds to support both start-up costs as well as recurring expenses for program administration.

The following table illustrates overall administration cost and estimated revenue.

Fees Cert. Initial
App. Cert.
$ 125.00 $ 100.00
Annual 76.5 76.5
revenue $9,562.50 $7,650.00 Total revenue from certificates issued $17,212.50
DOH time Program staff time for Clerk typist 3 at $12.40hr and Program Manager at $19.10hr
review 20 minutes x $12.40hr = $4.09
processing 20 minutes x $12.40hr = $4.09
certification 15 minutes x $12.40hr = $3.10
review 30 minutes x $19.10hr = $9.55
cost of application review and processing time multiplied by expected annual volume
$11.28 $9.55
76.5 15
$862.92 $143.25 $1,006.17
Equipment Start-up of new program
workstation/desk $3,000.00
computer $4,500.00
printer $5,000.00
software $475.00
calculators $225.00
$13,200.00 $13,200.00
Subtotal $14,206.17
Agency Indirect (20.5%) $2,912.26
Total cost of administering program $17,118.43

A copy of the statement may be obtained by writing to Department of Health, Hearing and Speech Program, P.O. Box 47869, Olympia, WA 98504-7869, phone (360) 586-0205, FAX (360) 586-7840

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. This rule does not subject a person to a penalty or sanction; does not establish, alter or revoke a qualification or standard for certification or licensure; and does not make significant amendment to a policy or regulatory program. This rule defines the examinations required by chapter 18.35 RCW.

Hearing Location: WSU-Spokane, 601 West First Avenue, Spokane, WA 99204, on May 5, 1998, at 9:00 a.m

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Betty Bird by April 28, 1998, TDD (800) 525-0127, or (360) 586-8577

Submit Written Comments to: Department of Health, Diane Young, P.O. Box 47869, Olympia, WA 98504-7869, FAX (360) 586-7840, by May 1, 1998

Date of Intended Adoption: June 5, 1998

March 5, 1998

Delores E. Spice

Executive Director


AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order 165B, filed 5/8/91, effective 6/8/91)

WAC 246-828-020  Examinations. (1) The examination required of hearing instrument fitter/dispenser license applicants shall be ((in three parts: One)) a written ((and two practical)) examination.

(((2))) (a) The minimum passing grade shall be seventy ((percent for each part)) or greater to pass the required examination for licensure.

(((3) In addition to those subjects listed in RCW 18.35.070, the examination shall test the knowledge of the applicant in the basic act governing hearing aid fitter/dispensers and rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this act.

(4))) (b) Applications for examinations shall be received by the department at least sixty days prior to the date of the scheduled examination. If the application is received less than sixty days before the next scheduled examination, the applicant will be scheduled for the second examination following receipt of the application.

(c) A national examination or examination administered by another licensing jurisdiction approved by the board may be accepted in lieu of the board's written examination.

(2) The examination required of all audiology certificate applicants shall be the National Examination in Audiology (NESPA), including a passing examination score of six hundred or greater and written hearing instrument fitter/dispenser examination described in subsection (1) of this section, including a passing examination score of seventy or greater.

(3) The examination required of speech-language pathologist certificate applicants shall be the National Examination in Speech Language Pathology (NESPA), including a passing examination score of six hundred or greater.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.35.161. 91-11-031 (Order 165B), recodified as 246-828-020, filed 5/8/91, effective 6/8/91. Statutory Authority: RCW 18.35.161(4). 89-08-096 (Order PM 828), 308-50-010, filed 4/5/89. Statutory Authority: RCW 18.35.161(3). 87-14-030 (Order PM 654), 308-50-010, filed 6/26/87. Statutory Authority: RCW 18.35.161. 84-08-062 (Order PL 463), 308-50-010, filed 4/4/84; Order PL 190, 308-50-010, filed 5/23/75; Order PL 159, 308-50-010, filed 2/8/74.]

Legislature Code Reviser 


Washington State Code Reviser's Office