Navigating the Current ASHA Fee Increase: Insights for Pediatric SLPs

ASHA fee increase

Early in 2024, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) announced an impending increase in dues of $25 for certified members. The response has been nothing short of intense! The emotions of many SLPs have ranged from frustration to great disappointment to anger and more. As SLPs who care deeply about our profession, it’s important to consider the depth of this ASHA fee increase and how it impacts us all individually and collectively. 

ASHA’s Significance on the SLP Profession

For many of us SLPs, our relationship with ASHA is a huge part of our career. It has been a: 

  • Great goal to achieve
  • Status to celebrate
  • Prized community to be a part of 
  • Vast networking opportunity

ASHA set many of the professional standards we seek to attain throughout our undergraduate and graduate education. Its impact on us runs deep!

The association’s recent announcement has prompted many of us to critically reevaluate our relationship with it as we consider its role (or lack thereof) in advocacy, options for continuing education, member support, involvement in our education, and setting professional standards.

Unpacking the Fee Increase

The due increase for the upcoming year has led to a great deal of backlash across social media outlets. Many SLPs have questioned the transparency and accountability of ASHA’s decision-making process. Does it seem like a reaction that doesn’t match the size of a $25 problem? This discontentment is not solely about the additional financial burden of SLPs; it’s so much deeper. 

What are ASHA’s priorities? Are they actually responsive to the needs of its members?

Financial Burden

Although the fee increase is only $25, many SLPs feel a real financial burden from this change. 

ASHA cites the need for the fee increase is due to inflation, but many SLPs question why ASHA leaders make up to approximately 5.6x more annually than the average SLP in the USA. While these leaders can live quite comfortably, so many of us have not received a significant pay raise in years despite the great rise in inflation– yet ASHA wants even more of our hard-earned money. 

Remembering ASHA’s Response During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On top of inflation, many working individuals across the country are still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite that being 4 years ago, it still feels very fresh. 

ASHA’s less-than-compassionate call then for members to continue to pay the full fee amount while it felt as though the world was crashing around us, makes this increase feel even more confusing and a clear sign that leadership isn’t in touch with members.

Reflections of SLPs

Whether you’re a new SLP or one with many years of experience under your belt, you have invested a great deal of time and energy into the field of speech-language pathology. Your passion, dedication, and financial investment impact your identity as an SLP

Despite how experienced you are or the setting in which you work, you have also navigated the challenges of your unique role. Many challenges SLPs often deal with are due to limited resources and support. 

This often results in individually carrying a deeper burden to care for clients and patients from one’s own time and resources while still trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

SLPs are wondering what real impact ASHA is really making to help its members. Why are there so many hardships? Why are SLPs paid less than others in similar medical-related fields? Why are school caseloads so high? Why does insurance have such a hold on how we carry out treatment plans? Could ASHA reexamine its financial spending and do more with the money that it already receives from us instead of increasing everyone’s fees?

Unlike occupational and physical therapy, SLPs are virtually required to be nationally certified on top of their state licensure. Are certification and licensure redundant? Is there a conflict of interest with ASHA lobbying for mandatory certification requirements across most settings?

Feelings of uncertainty and doubt and statements full of genuine hurt began to fill many SLP spaces. Many SLPs naturally began to question their allegiance to an association that seems to prioritize its own interests over those of its members. 

ASHA fee increase

Next Steps

Amidst this confusion and turmoil, there is an opportunity for action and productive change. Remind yourself that your mindset is important! Although your feelings of anger, hurt, and disgust are natural and likely valid, you can choose your reactions to your thoughts. 

Seek out and engage in constructive dialogue with other SLPs and with ASHA itself. 

Organizations like FixSLP have already been instrumental in advocating for a healthier and more equitable profession. They have spent time researching many of these issues. They have begun challenging the status quo of paying yearly membership and certification fees that have so long been a normal, unquestioned piece of the speech-language pathology field. 

Dig deep and remember why you committed to this great field to begin with. You DO make a difference in the lives of children and families, and that remains unwavering despite all that you deal with!

Encouragement for New SLPs

For many individuals who are considering a career in speech-language pathology, this can feel unsettling. 

While it is important to be well-informed, you owe it to yourself to consider the foundation of the field. Our profession is built on compassion, innovation, and great dedication to those who need the many services an SLP can provide. This fact remains true. Even in the midst of this challenge, recognize how SLPs choose to join together for the good of our profession! 

While there are undoubtedly challenges ahead, there is also the opportunity for significant growth and transformation and the need for SLPs remains high. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 19% growth from 2022 to 2032 with over 13000 job openings every year.

Fresh input from eager minds like yourself is just as much needed as the input given by experienced SLPs to make necessary changes happen!

ASHA fee increase

Let’s choose to approach this issue together, and work for the betterment of our great profession and clients! It’s okay to live in the in-between— we can each advocate for change while still recognizing the obvious challenges in our field. Together we can come out of this more united and resilient than ever before!

How do you feel about the ASHA fee increase? Have you experienced similar feelings of uncertainty and betrayal? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments below. 

You may also be interested in reading:

5 EFFECTIVE Ways for SLPs to Promote Practice During School Breaks

How to Support Caregivers with Research Strain 

How to Support Caregivers with Guilt



The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.