Alabama Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Alabama Speech Therapist Certification

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2024

In Alabama, licensure is controlled by the Alabama State Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (ABESPA). There are essentially three top-level licenses that you can apply for — speech-language pathology, audiology, or both. If you apply for both, you must ultimately meet the requirements for both a speech-pathology license and an audiology license.

Because the same Board regulates both disciplines, and it’s possible to be crossed-trained in both, it’s also worth explaining what audiology is. Audiology is a sister discipline to speech-language pathology in that it studies how well people hear and understand the sounds around them. Therefore, if somebody needs hearing aids, they will see an audiologist. Being able to hear adequately can affect your language skills and ability to communicate, which is why these disciplines are so closely related.

Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Process

Professionals who wish to practice as speech pathologists will need a speech pathology license. Licenses are only valid for one year, renewable in December.

Follow below to learn how to become a speech-language pathologist in Alabama:

Educational Requirements

To get your speech-language pathology license, you must first meet the state of Alabama’s educational requirements. While Alabama does not mandate particular courses, you must earn a Master of science in speech-language pathology. This degree must be accredited by one of the regional accreditation agencies.


One thing you should consider are the prerequisites required for admission into master’s programs. If you’re in college and know that you want to become an SLP, then consider getting an undergraduate degree communication sciences and disorders. If you already have your bachelor’s degree in something else, you may need to take some undergraduate courses before full admission to the SLP program.


With the appropriate undergraduate background, you’ll be ready to earn your Master’s degree. This is a demanding degree, and it covers both the theory and practice behind speech-language pathology and the treatment of communication disorders.

The coursework itself is estimated to take about five semesters if you had the proper undergraduate background and seven if you didn’t. Here’s a quick overview of course topics:

  • Language disorders and development
  • Phonology, or the science of how sound is formed
  • Neurology, especially as it applies to speech and language disorders
  • Voice disorders
  • speech disorders, such as stuttering or acquired troubles with diction
  • Swallowing disorders
  • Political labs and practical experience learning how to treat these disorders

Other requirements

You will also complete clinical hours where you learn how to treat speech and language disorders. These hours will help you qualify for your license after graduation. You will likely need to also write a thesis that demonstrates your ability to do research and analyze information. Finally, there’s a comprehensive examination. The exam will help you pass your testing requirements later in the licensing process.

Experience requirements

In Alabama, the clinical hours required to earn your Master’s degree are considered sufficient to gain a provisional license. However, they do not technically list a minimum number of hours in the administrative code. Therefore, schools set the minimum based on national standards, which is more than 400 clinical hours. That’s in addition to the time you will spend in the laboratory learning related academic material.

These experience requirements are not arbitrary. Rather, the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) sets minimum clinical hours and other requirements for their accreditation program. Accredited Master’s degrees in speech pathology follow these standards.

The experience gained getting your degree qualifies you for a provisional license. You must then complete an ASHA-approved clinical fellowship. This involves 1200 hours of clinical experience under the mentorship of an ASHA-certified speech pathologist. In Alabama, you get up to three years to complete that fellowship and must work on it for at least 15 hours each week.

Testing requirements

After graduation, you will need to take the Praxis exam in speech-language pathology. This is an examination administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), the same company that publishes examinations for graduate school admissions and the SAT for undergraduates.

The Praxis exam covers both theoretical and practical knowledge in speech-language pathology. The passing score for ASHA certification is 162.

Registering to take the test is easy; you go straight to the ETS website. Fill out your qualifications on the registration form and pay them the fees. You don’t need permission from the Board or anyone else to take it. ASHA also has a handy list of resources to help you register and study for the exam on its website.

As of writing, the cost to take the praxis in speech-language pathology is $146.

Background check

The state of Alabama requires a background check to get your speech-language pathology license. The main reason for this is public safety — people undergoing medical treatment are often vulnerable. This is especially true with children and adults who have disabilities, which are common in speech therapy.

Alabama’s technical standard is “good moral character”. Under exceptional circumstances, you may be able to get court-ordered relief from the consequences of a conviction based on your rehabilitation. However, for this, you will likely need to contact the Alabama licensing board, or an attorney, to navigate the process.

There is no fee associated with the licensure background check. Instead, Alabama includes this in the licensing fees.

Application Process

If you’ve met all the requirements above, congratulations! You’re ready to apply for your first SLP license. There are three routes to licensure: New graduates, accredited professionals (typically from practicing in another state), and reciprocity. Reciprocity information can be found here.

Accredited professionals

If you have ASHA’s Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC), the application process is short. Simply fill out the application for licensure, and send in a copy of your certification. You can find the application here. Besides the proof of certification substituting for education and other documents, the application process is the same as for new graduates.

New graduates

Before you apply for a license, you’ll need to finish your clinical fellowship that we described above. There’s a registration fee for this of $200, and you can find the application here. Note that you’ll need to prove you’re in the US legally or are a US Citizen. Once you have proof of finishing your CF, you’ll be ready to apply.

Here are the steps:

  • Fill out the application form and get it notarized. Enclose the fee as indicated on the fee schedule ($200).
  • Enclose supporting documentation. These include academic transcripts with degree confirmation, PRAXIS scores (sent from ETS), notarized statement that you’ve finished your CF, and certification from the head of your certification program that you’ve completed enough hours of clinical experience with people who have communication disorders.
  • Prove you are a US Citizen or legally present. You’ll need to enclose one of the proofs listed on the form.

Initial applications must be paper-based due to the notary requirements. Mail them, along with required proofs, to:

Alabama Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
400 South Union Street, Suite 435
Montgomery, AL 36130

After the Board receives your application and supporting documentation, it will be reviewed by the Board. They meet at least quarterly, though in 2023 they will be held monthly. Also, your materials need to arrive a week in advance for consideration at any meeting.

If approved, you’ll pay the prorated license fee depending on the month. Then, you’ll receive your license.

As long as the Board meets monthly, you shouldn’t have to wait more than a couple of months to get an answer. However, if a meeting is canceled or they go back to the statutory minimum, it may take longer. To determine if it’s been long enough, check out the latest meeting dates. If more than one meeting has passed since they received all your materials, it’s worth contacting the Board.