Working in another country can be an adventure and the chance of a lifetime. But before packing your bags, it’s important to make sure you have everything in order.
Find a country you will enjoy by considering the compatibility of your interests, needs, and goals with the political, cultural, and economic situations existing in that country.
Know the Professional Standards and Requirements
Professions providing services to people with communication disorders vary in scope of practice as well as professional standards. Contact the country’s embassy or consulate and national professional organization for information on education, training, and certification, including relevant government bodies that have oversight responsibilities.
You'll want to consider:
- What are the educational/training requirements to work in the country?
- Is there a language requirement? If so, do you speak the language(s) of the country? Are you familiar with the phonological system and the typical developmental norms for the language(s)?
- What other professions include assessment and treatment of people with communication disorders in their scopes of practice?
- What is/are the counterpart(s) to audiology and speech-language pathology in countries outside the United States?
- Is the profession autonomous? If not, who is the gatekeeper?
Have Proper Documentation
In order to work in another country, you must meet that country’s visa, work permit, education, licensing, and regulatory requirements. In the United States, nationals of other countries must obtain visas, work permits and, in most states, licensure.
Neither ASHA's Certificate of Clinical Competence nor any other national certifications will automatically or necessarily qualify the holder or serve as a work permit worldwide. However, it may serve as a basis for applying for a work permit in a given country.
If you are a member of one of the signatory organizations of the Mutual Recognition Agreement (i.e., Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States), you'll want to review these FAQs. The agreement expedites the certification review process of professionals wishing to work in signatory countries.
Find a Job
You can search for a position abroad through ASHA's job board. Other sources include the following:
Make Personal Arrangements
- Know the tax implications for your home and host countries.
- Have enough money to cover the costs of living abroad.
- Maintain your primary household while away, if the position is temporary.
- Maintain your primary professional certification.
Once everything's in order, pack your bags—and don't forget to take pictures!