Membership » Qualification Approval Framework

The NZSTA has created a clear and specific qualifications approval process (QAP). This procedure guides the process when reviewing applications for membership of the NZSTA when the applicant was trained overseas and did not meet the criteria of the Mutual Recognition Agreement.

It also serves to demonstrate to applicants, and related professional bodies, that the NZSTA has a robust procedure for assessing qualifications.

Please read all instructions below before completing and submitting your NZSTA Qualifications Approval application.  

The average processing time for applications is about six weeks. Please allow for at least this. If your application is straightforward and is sent with all the correct paperwork, the time can be less than this.

Make an application

In addition to an acceptable speech-language therapy/pathology qualification, the following criteria must be met for eligibility to become a Registered Member of the NZSTA:

  1. A minimum of one year of clinical speech-language therapy/pathology experience. Clinical practice is no less than 36 weeks of full-time clinical practice of at least 30 hours per week of paid employment.
  2. Certified evidence of 1000 hours of speech-language therapy practice within the past five years.
  3. Demonstrated competency in communication disorders and dysphagia. The guidelines for dysphagia competency are available here.
  4. Evidence of a record of continuing professional development.
  5. Meet English language requirements in the International English Testing System (IELTS) academic option if the speech-language therapy qualification was completed in a language other than English or if English is a second language. An average score of eight in all four modules, with a minimum of 8.5 in the spoken module, is required. The NZSTA may request IELTS testing for any applicant at their discretion.
  6. An applicant must provide a criminal conviction record, or equivalent, for every country they have lived in for 12 months or more in the last ten years, over 18 years. This criminal conviction record should be the standard documentation your country would issue for visa applications.
  7. The QAP is used when assessing applications for membership in the NZSTA. If the criteria for Registered Membership are not met, then an individual may be granted Registered Membership – New Graduate or Registered Membership – Return to Practice.

These instructions apply to individuals who have trained overseas and do not meet the criteria of the Agreement for The Mutual Recognition of Professional Association Credentials (MRA) - i.e., ASHA, SAC, RCSLT, IASLT or SPA. 

  1. Please read all instructions before completing and submitting your NZSTA Qualifications Approval application.  
  2. All applicants must complete the application form, including the disclosure, consent and declaration sections.  Failure to complete the whole application will result in the application being rejected. 
  3. A full payment of $1,500 (in New Zealand Dollars) must be submitted with the application.  Incomplete payment will result in the application being rejected. 
  4. All applicants must read and agree to abide by the NZSTA Principles and Rules of Ethics. 
  5. A certified true copy is a copy of an original that has been certified as a true copy by either a solicitor/lawyer/notary or a justice of the peace.  Original document(s) which have been altered cannot be certified.  Please note: The solicitor/lawyer/notary or justice of the peace must see the original document(s) and must provide the following on the copy:
    1. PRINT their name and position/title
    2. The date the certified true copy was made 
    3. The address and telephone number of the person certifying the document(s)
    4. The signature of the person certifying the document(s) 
    5. A stamp or wording indicating “This copy is a true copy of the original document which has not been altered in any way” or wording of similar effect. 
  6. All applicants must submit a current Criminal Conviction Record.  A New Zealand criminal conviction record or equivalent overseas record that the applicant provides as part of their application must be an original document and dated not more than three months before the date of receipt by the Board.  It must be issued by the relevant police authority in their country of practice.  An applicant must provide a criminal conviction record, or equivalent, for every country they have lived in for 12 months or more in the last ten years, over 18 years. 
  7. If applicable, applicants must request a letter of good standing from their home association attesting that they: 
    1. hold current certification/membership (i.e., are a practising member of the profession) 
    2. are in good standing (i.e., have paid the fees for the home association and have no outstanding complaints or disciplinary proceedings against them).
  8. The letter of good standing must be dated and obtained no more than one year before submission for NZSTA membership.  Letters dated more than one year before submission will not be considered, and a current letter will be requested.  All letters of good standing must be sent directly from the applicant’s home association to NZSTA and on association letterhead with an original signature of an authorised representative of the home association. 
  9. Before applying, you must have all the required documentation to upload with your application.  A translation and a certified copy in the original language must be supplied when a document is in a language other than English. 
  10. Applicants with speech-language therapy degree qualifications completed in a language other than English or those for whom English is their second language must attach an original copy of IELTS “Academic” results.  Applicants must have a minimum average score of 8.0 across each of the four categories, with a minimum score of 8.5 in the spoken module.
  11. Please allow up to six weeks from submitting the full application for processing.  You will be notified in writing as to the outcome of your application.
  12. Immigration requirements to allow you to work in New Zealand are your responsibility.  If your application is approved, a letter will be sent to you.  New Zealand Immigration Service may require this letter to apply for a permit /visa to allow you to work in New Zealand as a speech-language therapist.
  13. Once NZSTA grants membership, the successful applicant will have the same rights and privileges and be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and restrictions as all other NZSTA members.  These include membership maintenance through an annual payment of fees, adherence to the Code of Ethics and participation in continuing professional development. 
  14. Should NZSTA membership lapse, applicants wishing to reinstate their application will be required to do so according to the policies and procedures in effect at the time of the new application. 

The following process applies in processing applications:

  1. The NZSTA processes applications on receipt of the application and payment. Applicants will be issued an invoice once their application has been received at the national office. Once full payment has been received, the application will be forwarded for approval.
  2. The administrator completes the qualifications approval checklist and may, where necessary, request more information from the applicant.
  3. If an applicant does not meet the minimum International English Testing System score of 8, their application will not be processed further until they meet the minimum requirement.
  4. The checklist and supporting documentation are forwarded to the qualifications approval committee (QAC).
  5. The QAC reviews the application. The following outcomes are possible:
  • Registered Membership is granted.
  • Registered Member – New Graduate is granted.
  • Registered Member – Return to Practice is granted.
  • Additional information is sought from the applicant before approving or declining the application.
  • Where concerns exist around the educational standards of an applicant, the application is reviewed by a senior academic from an NZSTA-accredited programme. A decision is then made based on their recommendations.
  • The application is denied.

       6. Applicants are advised in writing of the outcome of their application.

The fee for the qualifications approval process is NZD 1,500.00 and is non-refundable.

Applicants will be issued an invoice once their application has been received at the national office. Once payment has been received, the application will then be forwarded for approval.

Electronic payment to NZSTA account number:  38 9012 0192936 00

(Swift code is KIWINZ22)


Applicants must check with their employer and work area whether other costs are associated with their specific employment, such as salary scale assessments or personal indemnity insurance. 

Applications are submitted to the Qualifications Approval Committee (QAC). This committee comprises the president and the professional standards portfolio holder with administration assistance.

The decision of the qualifications approval committee is final. Applicants may not appeal the decision. The application fee is non-refundable.