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Becoming a speech pathologist requires navigating master’s in speech language pathology (SLP) programs, examinations, licensure, and more. To help make the process easier, we have compiled a resource to help guide you through these steps. Below, you will learn what you need to do to complete the following:

  1. Meet Requirements for a Master’s in Speech Pathology Program Application
  2. Earn your Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree
  3. Complete your Clinical Fellowship Year
  4. Pass the Praxis Exam
  5. Apply for Licensure and Certification (if needed)
  6. Maintain Licensure and Certification

 

Meet Requirements for Master’s in Speech Pathology Program Application

 

Prerequisite Coursework

If your bachelor’s degree was in an area other than Communicative Science and Disorders (CSD), you will need to take CSD-related prerequisites before applying to graduate speech-language pathology programs. A few online master’s in speech pathology programs offer these as optional courses that can be taken during the student’s first semesters, but many SLP programs require the completion of this coursework before applying to a graduate program. Schools with fully online master’s in speech programs often offer prerequisite programs, so you can get these requirements completed before applying to a speech pathology program.

Additionally, before applying to an online speech pathology graduate program, it is often required that you complete undergraduate coursework in biology, physics, chemistry, statistics, social sciences and behavioral sciences if you haven’t already. This is always a requirement for schools accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), according to their course content standards. Check with the schools that you are applying to and see how many credits of these prerequisites you will need. Many schools include this coursework in their prerequisite programs.

Some programs also require 25 ASHA-Certified observation hours before applying, though more often these hours will be part of your master’s in SLP curriculum.

 

Application Requirements

Speech Pathology graduate programs will often have the following application requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Completion of necessary prerequisites
  • Strong GPA: many online programs require a 3.0 GPA, and are competitive no matter what the requirement is
  • GRE test scores
  • Transcripts
  • Resume
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Personal Statement

Once you are ready to fulfill these requirements, you can apply to programs and work on completing your master’s in speech pathology.


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Earn your Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree

A graduate degree in speech pathology will typically take 3 or so years to complete. There are two main components of SLP programs: coursework and practicum or fieldwork requirements.

Coursework

Speech pathology graduate programs typically cover the following topics:

  • Fluency
  • Voice and resonance
  • Articulation
  • Receptive and expressive language
  • Swallowing
  • Hearing and its impact on language
  • Cognitive and social aspects of communication
  • Augmentative and alternative methods of communication

Your program may also require you to take other courses or a selection of electives.

 

Clinical Practicum and Field Placement Components

All ASHA accredited programs require 400 hours of supervised clinical experience, according to ASHA’s clinical practicum information. Three hundred and seventy-five hours must be dedicated to direct client contact, and the other 25 must be clinical observation hours. Of the 400 hours, 325 must be completed at the graduate level. Supervision must occur at least 25% of the time that you work with each client or patient. At times, programs will require that observation hours are completed before applying to the program.

Most speech pathology master’s programs will spread clinical experience out over several semesters. While many programs allow you to work while in school, you must have availability for various practicum requirements. Some programs will require you to be on campus to complete clinical hours, other programs will place you in clinical settings near to where you are located. Some programs will have you complete practicum hours for several weeks straight, others will require you to complete hours over a couple of days each week. Depending on the program, you may be required to spread hours out across a certain number of sites or a variety of populations.

Once you have your speech pathology degree and have completed the practicum, you are ready to complete your clinical fellowship year. To find ways to finance your education, check out our scholarships page.

 

Complete your Clinical Fellowship Year

After finishing a speech pathology graduate program, you are usually required to complete a clinical fellowship year to obtain licensure, depending on your state. Although state requirements may vary, we will refer to the ASHA requirements since they are the basis of many state requirements. You will also need to meet these requirements if you decide to apply for an ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence– Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP). A table further on in this page will specify licensure requirements on a state by state basis, so check that out to see if you need to meet a different set of requirements.

The fellowship typically consists of at least 1260 hours of professional experience (9 months of 35 hour weeks), completed under a supervisor holding an ASHA CCC. At least 80% of your major responsibilities as a fellow should involve direct client contact and relate to the management of communication and swallowing disorders. Weeks where you work 5 or fewer hours will not contribute to the experience requirement in states that defer to ASHA requirements, and for ASHA certification you must complete your fellowship within 48 weeks of starting.

As a speech pathology fellow, you must continue to receive mentoring and evaluation throughout the speech pathology fellowship. Your mentor must complete at least 36 supervisory activities, including 18 one hour on-site observations (a maximum of 6 may be completed in one day). Six must be completed during each third of the fellowship experience. The other 18 monitoring activities are divided throughout the experience in the same fashion, and include evaluating reports that you write, holding conferences with you, or holding conferences with your colleagues.

At the end of the clinical fellowship, a report and rating form is submitted by your mentor that confirms that necessary skills have been acquired. This form will be submitted to ASHA if you decide to apply for your CCC.

 

Pass the Praxis Exam

It is recommended by ASHA that you take the exam during your clinical fellowship, within a year of beginning postgraduate clinical experience. A passing score is a 162 or above and is the score required by most states for licensure. Testing windows occur every month of the year, and you will learn your results within 16 days of taking the test.

 

Apply for Licensure and Certification

All states require licensure to practice as a speech pathologist, but requirements for licensure will vary from state to state.

Requirements for licensure as a speech pathologist in each state are as follows:

State
Minimum Degree
 Need  CCC?
Practicum
 Need  Fellowship?
Other
Alabama
Graduate degree
No
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
N/A
Alaska
CAA accredited master’s
Yes
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Obtain business license if independent practice
Arizona
Accredited master’s
No
Supervised clinical practicum 
1080 clock hours
N/A
Arkansas
Recognized master’s or CCC
No
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
N/A
California
Graduate degree with 60 credit units
No
300 supervised hours in 3 clinical settings
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Special license required for fellowship
Colorado
CAA accredited master’s
No
N/A
Clinical fellowship
Professional liability insurance if providing services to patients
Connecticut
CAA accredited master’s
No
36 full time or 48 part time weeks  supervised 
N/A
Delaware
CAA accredited master’s
Yes
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
N/A
District of Columbia
CAA accredited master’s
No
N/A
9 month 30 hour weeks  or part time equivalent
N/A
Florida
Graduate degree with  75 semester hours, 36 at the graduate level.
No
300 supervised clinical hours, 200 of which are SLP specific
At least 9 months
Course on HIV/AIDS, 2 hr CE on medical error prevention
Georgia
Accredited graduate degree. 75 credits (36 at graduate level)
No
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
9-18 month experience
Demonstrate recency of study with 2 CEUs within 2 years of applying
Hawaii
Board recognized graduate degree
No
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Three letters recommendation
Idaho
Accredited master’s
No
Board approved practicum
Board approved experience
N/A
Illinois
Department approved graduate degree with 60 credits
No
375 hour clinical practicum
9-18 month supervised experience
N/A
Indiana
Board recognized graduate degree
No
400 hours
9 months full time or equal
Disciplinary proceedings statement, jurisprudence exam passage
Iowa
Accredited master’s
No
400 hour practicum
9 months full time  or equal
N/A
Kansas
Master’s  consistent with Kansas State University standards or CAA accredited
No
400 hour practicum, 325 hours must be at graduate level
9 months full time  or equal
N/A
Kentucky
CAA accredited master’s
No
N/A
9 months full time or equal
US Citizen
Louisiana
Accredited master’s with 75 semester hours (36 at  graduate level)
No
400 hour practicum
9 months full time  or equal
N/A
Maine
CAA accredited master’s
No
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Jurisprudence exam passage
Maryland
Accredited master’s
No
Supervised clinical experience
Supervised postgrad experience
Competency in oral English
Massachusetts
CAA accredited Master’s
No
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
N/A
Michigan
Accredited master’s
No
N/A
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
N/A
Minnesota
CAA accredited master’s
No
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
N/A
Mississippi
CAA accredited master’s
No
N/A
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
N/A
Missouri
CAA accredited master’s
No
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Jurisprudence exam passage
Montana
CAA accredited master’s
No
Clinical practicum
36 week experience with mentor
Jurisprudence exam passage
Nebraska
CAA accredited master’s
No
36 week professional experience
Proof of citizenship
Nevada
Accredited master’s
No
300 hour practicum
NONE REQUIRED
Proof of citizenship
New Hampshire
CAA accredited program
No
400 hour practicum
9 month professional experience
N/A
New Jersey
CAA accredited master’s
No
350 hour practicum
9 month professional experience
Jurisprudence online orientation
New Mexico
Graduate degree
No
N/A
9 month experience
Jurisprudence exam passage
New York
CAA accredited master’s
No
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
N/A
North Carolina
Graduate degree
No
400 hour practicum
9 month experience
N/A
North Dakota
Accredited master’s
No
N/A
NONE REQUIRED
N/A
Ohio
Master’s degree
No
375 hour practicum,  250 hours at  graduate level
9 month  experience
N/A
Oklahoma
CAA accredited graduate degree
No
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
9 month post grad experience
US citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien. 3 references
Oregon
Approved accredited master’s
No
400 hour practicum
1260 hour professional experience
N/A
Pennsylvania
Accredited master’s
No
375 hour practicum
1260 hour professional experience
3 hr child abuse recognition training
Rhode Island
CAA accredited master’s
Yes
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
9 month full time experience or equal
N/A
South Carolina
CAA accredited post grad degree
Yes
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Citizenship, permanent residency, or qualified alien status
South Dakota
CAA accredited master’s
No
Supervised clinical practicum
Post grad professional experience
N/A
Tennessee
CAA accredited master’s
No
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Clinical fellowship
Jurisprudence exam
Texas
CAA accredited master’s
No
400 hour practicum
9 month professional experience
Jurisprudence exam
Utah
Accredited graduate degree
No
N/A
One year supervised professional experience
May require clinical skills demonstration
Vermont
Director approved Graduate degree
No
Supervised clinical practicum
Post grad professional training
N/A
Virginia
CAA accredited post grad degree
Yes
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
Meets ASHA requirement or equal
N/A
Washington
Board approved Graduate degree
No
Supervised clinical practicum
9 month graduate experience or equal
4 clock hours AIDS education and hearing.
West Virginia
CAA accredited master’s
No
Supervised clinical practicum
Post grad professional experience
Jurisprudence exam
Wisconsin
Board approved Graduate degree
No
Board approved practicum
Board approved post clinical fellowship
N/A
Wyoming
Board recognized Graduate degree
No
Board approved practicum
Complete educational and clinical experience
Proof of US Citizenship or qualified alien status.

Information from ASHA, Last updated 2/20/18

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In many states, proof of ASHA CCC replaces many of the requirements for becoming a speech pathologist, since they were requirements met when obtaining that certification. Often times, the same criteria as a CCC are the standard for state licensure, but a CCC is usually not needed to obtain state licensure. Requirements for state licensure may change if an applicant possesses a higher degree in the field. Also, there are sometimes exceptions for certain requirements. You should always go to the state department website or talk to someone at the department to ensure that you meet all requirements or available exceptions.

If you need or want to obtain your CCC-SLP, you must submit an application with the following to ASHA:

  • Passing praxis exam scores
  • Graduate transcript
  • Clinical fellowship report and rating form
  • Disclosure documents
  • Fees

Fees by applicant type:

  • NSSLHA Conversion: $286
  • Recent Graduate: $461
  • Certification and ASHA Membership: $511
  • Certification without ASHA Membership: $455
  • Dual Certification: $256

Data from ASHA, Last Updated 2/20/2018

 

Maintain Speech Pathology Licensure and Certification

Once you are certified and licensed, you will need to maintain these credentials through continued education and renewal fees. You can look into state requirements for licensure maintenance on ASHA’s state overviews page. Below are the requirements for maintaining a CCC-SLP:

  • 30 hours of certification maintenance each 3 year cycle, submitted via a compliance form
  • Continue to abide by the ASHA code of ethics
  • Pay the annual dues, as shown below:

Annual Dues by Member Type

  • Certified Member: $225
  • Graduate Student Certified Member: $135
  • Member without Certification: $84
  • Certified Nonmember: $199
  • Life Member: $64
  • International Affiliate: $75
  • Associate: $75

Data from ASHA, last updated 2/20/18


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NYU’s online master of science program in Communicative Sciences and Disorders prepares aspiring speech-language pathologists with a comprehensive professional education. 

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