Requirements for Becoming a Certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS Cert. AVT® or LSLS Cert. AVEd®)

The AG Bell Academy maintains a Certification Handbook* that is regularly updated. LSL Specialist candidates and their mentors are encouraged to read the Certification Handbook at the beginning of the certification process and to refer to it often during the certification process.

Certification 101

Certification 101 PDF

Certification Requirements and Process

  • Enrollment in the LSL Registry: A professional must apply and be accepted for enrollment in the LSL Registry. Once enrolled, a professional completes and uploads documentation related to the certification process over their certification period.
  • Academic: Current minimal requirements include a professional (bachelor’s degree) in audiology, speech-language pathology or education of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Credentials: License or other official documentation (including certification) that allows the professional to practice in their geographic area.
  • Mentoring by a certified LSL Specialist: A primary mentor should be identified at the beginning of a professional’s certification process. A professional can have more than one mentor during the 36 to 60-month certification period, but should always have one professional who acts as the primary mentor. The primary mentor can change up to three times (for a total of 4 primary mentors) during the certification process period, if needed. Most professionals have one primary mentor with whom they partner and participate in a mentor-mentee relationship across the certification process, however the Academy recognizes the need for flexibility due to life changes or for personal reasons. Mentoring occurs throughout the 36 to 60-month certification period and specific documentation must be completed as part of the mentor-mentee process. Twenty hours of an aspiring LSL Specialist’s auditory-verbal sessions must be observed (either directly or via live/recorded video) by the primary or other mentor. All mentors must have current LSLS® certification in order to act as mentor. The mentor who observed each session must complete a Mentor Observation (F-1) Form for each hour-long session.
  • Professional learning and experience:
    • Complete 10 hours of observation of certified LSL Specialists providing auditory-verbal practice engaged in sessions with a child/family/caregivers/others.
    • Participate in eighty (80) hours of continuing education. Fifty percent (50%) of these hours may be earned prior to a professional’s certification process. Of the 80 hours, up to ten (10) hours can be documented observations of certified LSL Specialists. These 10 hours are in addition to the 10 hours indicated in section A, which means that a professional could participate in a total of 20 hours of observation.
    • Complete 900 hours in the past 36 to 60 months providing auditory-verbal practice to children (and families) who are pursuing a listening and spoken language outcome. Up to ten percent (10%) of these hours can be gained with adults who are enrolled in rehabilitation with a new hearing device or devices and for whom use of auditory-verbal strategies is appropriate. Up to one-hundred fifty (150) of the 900 hours can be gained through activities other than direct service (e.g., participation in planning meetings, audiology appointments, parent support meetings).
  • A signed commitment to one of the two sets of LSLS Principles (LSLS Cert. AVT or LSLS Cert. AVEd).
  • A passing score on the LSLS Certification Exam (English or Spanish).
  • Written description of the aspiring LSL Specialist’s auditory-verbal practice near the conclusion of the certification process and in anticipation of being awarded LSLS certification.
  • Letters of support/recommendation from two professionals familiar with the aspiring LSL Specialist’s auditory-verbal practice and two parents who have been served by this professional through auditory-verbal practice (4 letters in total).

Download the Certification Handbook* to review full details of the eligibility requirements.

Related, please read the following important statement: Effective January 1, 2022, paper applications for LSLS Certification are no longer being accepted. Candidates who are in the process of pursuing certification should apply for enrollment in the LSL Registry as should professionals who are interested in beginning the certification process. Information about the LSL Registry process can be found here, or you can access the LSL Registry Enrollment Application directly.

LSLS Application Activities Take Place in the LSL Registry, the Academy’s Digital platform for Certification Activities

All professionals who are seeking initial LSL Specialist certification are expected to meet specific eligibility requirements and to share documentation related to those requirements prior to beginning the certification process. A professional who is seeking certification must be enrolled in the LSL Registry.

Approval of a professional’s enrollment in the Registry requires completion of an enrollment application, sharing of academic and credential documents (which verify the required professional and credential requirements that must be met for LSLS certification), and that professional’s identification of and commitment from a certified LSL Specialist who has agreed to be your mentor (which suggests that the professional and a certified LSL Specialist have earnestly committed to meeting the mentoring component required for LSLS certification).

Approval of a professional’s enrollment application is decided by the AG Bell Academy. Professionals who complete the enrollment application, meet professional degree and credentialing requirements, and who have identified and secured the written commitment of a mentor can anticipate being accepted into the LSL Registry. The Academy does not evaluate or approve an enrollment application until all documentation, including the $200 Registry Enrollment Application fee, has been received.

Following Approval of Enrollment in the LSL Registry

Once approved for enrollment in the Registry, a professional will be able and should begin to document their certification process in the LSL Registry. Additionally, following approval of enrollment in the LSL Registry, a professional is eligible to make a request (through the Registry) to take the exam at any point they feel ready during the 3-to-5-year certification process. The Academy uses a third party test vendor, Kryterion, Inc. and their test platform (which is located outside of the LSL Registry) for the LSLS Certification Examination.

All requirements, including a passing overall score on the LSLS Certification Exam, must be met before LSLS certification is awarded. Following the completion of all requirements (which are verified by the Academy’s review of documentation that has been uploaded in the LSL Registry), a professional would complete one final step, which is to make a request in the Registry for an “award of certification.” A professional can anticipate receiving a certificate, which is the official Academy document that indicates that this professional is now a Certified LSLS Cert AVT or LSLS Cert. AVEd, within two to four weeks of the request for award of certification.

Preparation for the LSLS Certification Exam

The AG Bell Academy has provided a wide range of resources to help professionals prepare for the LSLS Certification Exam, including suggested reading materials, a blueprint of the LSLS domains of knowledge, and a practice exam.

  • Exam Preparation
  • Exam FAQs
  • Find a test center to take your exam. You will not be able to take the exam until you have made a request to take the exam through the LSL Registry and have received an exam voucher code from the Academy.