Alaska Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Alaska Speech Therapy Licensure

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 19th, 2024

Do you enjoy collaborating with a team to help others improve their station in life? Are you interested in assisting individuals with communication disorders, but aren’t sure how to get the process started? If this sounds like you then a career as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) is the right profession for you.

You’ll be rewarded by seeing the impact your treatment has on those who have trouble communicating. Communication issues can be the result of a birth disorder or an accident that happens later in life. Whatever the cause, the inability to communicate effectively has a negative effect on an individual. It hinders them from pursuing careers they may love, having meaningful interactions with peers, and carrying out basic daily tasks.

An SLP consults with clients and assesses and treats their communication disorders so patients can lead productive lives. SLPs also work with family members to ensure clients are receiving the support they need outside of planned sessions.

When it comes to annual wages Alaska is one of the highest-paying states for SLPs. According to the United States (U.S.) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Alaska’s SLPs earn an annual mean wage of $90,590 (Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2022). That means you’ll not only have a fulfilling career, but you’ll also be able to live comfortably in one of the most beautiful states. Keep reading to discover how to become a licensed an SLP in Alaska.

Initial Speech Pathology Licensure Process

The Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development issues Alaskan SLP licenses through the Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing. Before you begin pursuing the profession, review the statutes and regulations for SLP licensing on the Department’s website. You’ll find you need to meet the following basic requirements to apply for licensure:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Use a Department-approved application
  • Pay the appropriate fee
  • No participation in activities that could be grounds for disciplinary sanctions
  • Holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) issued by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

In the sections below, we’ll dive deeper into everything you need to know to independently practice speech-language pathology in Alaska.

Education Requirements

A CCC from ASHA is needed for licensure, and to attain it you’ll need a master’s degree in communicative sciences and disorders. ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for SLPs and any program you enter should be accredited by their organization, the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA).

Entrance into an SLP program requires a bachelor’s degree, but it doesn’t have to be in communicative sciences and disorders. You can take prerequisite courses that will provide the fundamental education needed before starting the SLP program.

Most programs require a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 for admission. A few of the courses you can expect to take are listed below:

  • Phonetics
  • Anatomy of Physiology of Speech and Hearing
  • Foundations of Communication Disorders
  • Principles of Intervention with Speech-Language Disorders
  • Multi-Cultural Issues in Communicative Sciences and Disorders
  • Language Development Across the Lifespan

You’ll learn all about the physical, biological, and behavioral components of speech pathology while exploring the nature of communication disorders. Direct patient contact will also be part of your education, which is covered in the next section

Experience Requirements

Hands-on experience is crucial to developing your skills, especially when treating patients. That’s why it’s necessary to complete at least two different types of experience before becoming a licensed SLP in Alaska.

The first experience is gained when you’re attending the SLP master’s program. Earn a minimum of 400 supervised practicum hours before graduating to be eligible for a CCC credential. If your bachelor’s degree is in communicative sciences and disorders, then 75 hours were completed during undergraduate school, and you’ll only need to earn 325 hours.

However, if you’re degree was not in communicative sciences and disorders, all 400 will be attained during graduate school. At least 375 hours are spent in direct patient contact, and the other 25 are spent in clinical observation. Also, 25% of your time with patients must be supervised. All supervisors are licensed SLPs who guide you through processes and provide feedback throughout the experience.

After graduating from the SLP program, you are ready for your CCC. The next step is to complete a clinical fellowship, the second type of experience. Your clinical fellowship year (CFY) consists of 1,260 hours of full or part-time work in a clinical setting. The CFY takes nine months to complete when attending full-time. Part-time attendees are not permitted to work less than five hours each week during the CFY.

During the CFY, 80% of your time is spent assessing, diagnosing, evaluating, screening, treating, consulting, and counseling patients. These actions are considered direct-contact activities. The remaining 20% of the time is spent in observation.

It is your responsibility to ensure the mentor chosen meets the supervisor qualifications outlined by ASHA, which are:

  • Hold a CCC
  • Completed a CFY
  • Completed at least two hours of supervisor training after earning the CCC

The work setting needs to provide a full range of services from evaluations to rehabilitations, for it to be considered an acceptable job site. Supervisors will hold regular feedback sessions to go over strengths and weaknesses to help you hone your skills and discover specialty areas that may be appealing.

You don’t have to wait for the fellowship to end before applying to ASHA for the CCC. Start the application process, and once you’ve attained the needed hours enter the details into your ASHA account. Your mentor will receive an email prompting them to verify the experience, and your certification will be issued.

Testing Requirement

ASHA requires all SLPs to pass the national Praxis 5331 exam before becoming licensed. There are three avenues of registration: online, by phone, and by mail. Registering online is simple as the application guides you through each step of the process.

Registering by phone requires a Praxis account and an additional $35 surcharge that must be paid at least four days before taking the test. Registering by mail takes longer as you must submit Test Authorization Voucher Request and then wait three weeks for the voucher to be delivered. Along with the voucher you’ll receive registration instructions to complete the process.

You can retake the test after waiting 28 days after the last test date and paying the $146 exam fee once again. You have two years from the original test date to pass before having to reapply.

The test consists of 132 multiple-choice questions which you are given 2.5 hours to complete. It is a computer-based test you can take at a testing center or at home through ProctorU. If you take the test at home, you’ll be assigned a virtual human proctor should you have any questions or need technical assistance.

A score of 162 is required to pass, and there are plenty of study materials to help you obtain that number. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) has a Study Companion and Interactive Practice Test to help set your expectations for exam day. Don’t hesitate to speak to school faculty members as they can also point you in the direction of a few excellent resources.

Once the test is graded your scores will be available to view after three days by logging into your Praxis account. Alaska is one of the states that automatically receives a copy of your score so you won’t need to submit any verification paperwork.

Background Checks

Background checks are performed on all SLP licensure applicants. Contact the Background Check Unit (BCU) to obtain your Provider Identification Number (PIN). The PIN allows the Division of Public Health to submit your fingerprints for the check.

Print the completed form and send it to:

State of Alaska/Dept of H&SS
Division of Public Health
Background Check Unit
619 E. Ship Creek Ave. Ste. 232
Anchorage, AK 99501

Or fax it to: (907) 269-3488.

Fingerprint-based checks cost $35 to process the information through the Alaska Criminal Justice Information database. Only a standard FBI fingerprinting form is accepted by the BCU. There are currently several approved businesses that provide fingerprinting services. Once the results are ready, they are sent to the Department for review.

Application Process

SLP applications are processed through the Department’s online portal or by printing and mailing the completed form to:

Audiologist and Speech-Language Pathologist Program
P.O. Box 110806
Juneau, AK 99811

The Department must receive the following information before reviewing your application:

  • Completed and signed application
  • Verification of Certificate of Clinical Competence
  • Answer all professional fitness questions
  • Signed Authorization Release of Records form
  • $200 application fee
  • $70 Speech-Language Pathologist License fee

The process is similar for temporary licenses, which are used in a few different situations, one of them being the clinical fellowship. To obtain the temporary license you need to submit the same information listed for the permanent license, except the CCC credential. Instead, you need to verify you are in the process of completing the supervised work experience, but all fees are the same.

No specific timeframe is given for application processing as it varies, but the Department asks that you give them several weeks to look over the information. Once all of the required documents are received along with the appropriate fees, the application is reviewed, and a determination is made.

If the Department contacts you for additional information that is not submitted within a year, the application is considered to be abandoned and closed.

SLPs who open a private practice will also need to apply for a business license through the State of Alaska Business License Section. You’ll need to provide your license number and Alaska entity number if applicable. Find more information regarding the business license on the Department’s website.

Hard copies of licenses are no longer issued by the state, so if you are approved you will have to download the certificate from the online portal. Licenses are to be displayed prominently in each place of business you practice.