Arizona Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Arizona Speech Therapy Licensure

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 19th, 2024

The healthcare field offers a variety of exciting and fulfilling occupational roles. One of those professions is a speech-language pathologist (SLP). They evaluate and treat speech and language disorders, and much more.

SLPs also treat swallowing disorders, hearing issues, and impaired cognitive abilities. Patients with communication handicaps depend on SLPs to teach them alternative communication methods such as hand gestures, sign language, or using talking computers to convey their thoughts. The service they provide to those living with communication handicaps is invaluable.

Communication is such an integral part of our personal and professional interactions, and if executed poorly the results can have a disastrous effect on all parties involved. That’s why it’s necessary for SLPs to complete a rigorous training program and become licensed before beginning to practice.

While training to become an SLP, you’ll also be introduced to the many career paths offered by the profession. Work with a select population or treat patients of all ages and backgrounds. Specialize in a specific disorder or assist with a variety of handicaps throughout the day; the choice is yours.

If you reside in the state of Arizona or are looking to relocate soon, you should know that the median annual wage for SLPs in-state is $91,990 (Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2022). With such a lucrative yearly salary SLPs can live comfortably in Arizona. Continue reading to discover the eligibility requirements for attaining an SLP license.

Initial Speech Pathology Licensure Process

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) mandates that all speech-language pathologists obtain licenses that must be renewed biennially. SLPs follow the Arizona Administrative Code and statutes implemented by the state and local boards and Departments of Health.

Education Requirements

To be licensed as a speech-language pathologist in Arizona, a master’s, doctoral, or equivalent postgraduate degree accepted by the Department is required. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) organization, the Council of Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) must be the program’s accrediting agency.

ASHA is the nation’s professional, scientific credentialing association for SLPs. They set the standards for the occupation and help move the field forward. Also, the university you attend should be a regionally accredited post-secondary institution.

The Department expects you to demonstrate specific knowledge in the following categories:

  • Fluency
  • Communication modalities
  • Social aspects of communication
  • Cognitive aspects of communication
  • Articulation
  • Voice and resonance
  • Receptive and expressive language
  • Swallowing

You must also show that you know the principles and methods related to assessment, prevention, and intervention for those with communication handicaps. Having an understanding of how culture impacts speech-language disorders and the physiological and psychological components SLPs must consider is also required.

While enrolled in the SLP program, you will take classes such as these:

  • Motor-Speech Disorders
  • Assessment and Evaluation
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in SLP
  • Neurobiology
  • Aphasia and Right Hemisphere Damage
  • Fluency: Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Clinical and Educational Methods in SLP

Your education will also include a clinical practicum where you will gain hands-on experience working with patients, which is covered in the next section.

Experience Requirements

Arizona applicants for SLP licensure need to acquire 300 clock hours of clinical experience. You’ll need a minimum of 20 hours in each category listed below:

  • Audiology
  • Evaluation of language disorders in children
  • Evaluation of language disorders in adults
  • Treatment of language disorders in children
  • Treatment of language disorders in adults
  • Evaluation of speech disorders in children
  • Evaluation of speech disorders in adults
  • Treatment of speech disorders in children
  • Treatment of speech disorders in adults

While these are enough hours to attain an SLP license, they are not enough for ASHA certification. If you want to take the extra step and show your colleagues and clients that you’re willing to go above and beyond what the state requires for licensure, complete an additional 100 clock hours.

ASHA certification requires 400 clock hours of supervised experience, with 375 hours spent in direct patient contact, and 25 hours spent in observation. To give you a full scope of the work you’ll be performing, the clinical practicum needs to include varied patient populations with a wide-ranging mix and severity of communication-related disorders and disabilities.

Once the academic portion of your journey has concluded, the next step is to complete a Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Fellowship (SLPCF). The SLPCF provides a mentor who will guide you through the experience, offering feedback along the way. You will transition from a student to an independent practitioner during the course of the experience.

A minimum of 1,260 hours is needed to complete the SLPCF. As a full-timer, you can complete the SLPCF in nine months working at least 35 hours each week. Part-timers cannot work less than five hours per week if they want to successfully complete the experience. Eighty percent of the SLPCF will be spent in direct contact managing communication disorders, and 20% will be spent in observation, attending in-services, or providing training.

After obtaining all of the clinical experience requirements, you are eligible to receive a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from ASHA and may begin using the CCC-SLP credential when conducting business.

Testing Requirement

You must pass Praxis exam 5331 to attain an SLP license. It is the national exam given to all applicants in the U.S. The test is computer-based and can be taken at a testing center or in the comfort of your home.

To get started simply log on to the Educational Testing Services (ETS) website and sign up for a Praxis account. Once your account has been created, you can register online and review the Online Registration FAQ if you require assistance.

If you’re unable to register online you can do so over the phone or by mail. Call (800) 772-9476 and pay the $35 surcharge four days before your scheduled test date to register by phone. If you register by mail it will take about three weeks to receive the voucher number needed to register for the exam. Fill out the Test Authorization Voucher Request and send it to the following address for processing:

P.O. Box 382065
Pittsburgh, PA 15251-8065

Once you’re registered for the exam, it’s time to study for the big day. The Praxis website has prep materials, videos and webinars, and the practice exam to help you obtain a passing score. There’s also the Praxis Tests Information Bulletin which serves as a comprehensive guide for the entire exam process. You’ll know what to expect on the day of the test and how to view your scores once the exam is graded.

Arizona is not currently one of the states that automatically receives a report of your score so be sure to list them as a score report recipient when registering for the test.

Background Checks

Arizona’s Fingerprinting Division processes background checks for the Department of Public Safety. Because SLPs work closely with public citizens, many from vulnerable populations, the state wants to ensure the people hired for the job do not represent a danger to the public.

The get the process started call (602) 223-2279 or go to the online Public Service Portal (PSP) to request a Fingerprint Clearance Card from the Applicant Clearance Card Team (ACCT). After submitting your fingerprints, the ACCT then reviews your criminal history to determine whether you will be sent a fingerprint clearance card. Please note that you must be fingerprinted to have your clearance card application processed.

If the Fingerprinting Division decides not to issue a fingerprint clearance card, the applicant will be informed of the denial in writing. The denial notice will contain the criminal history information that led to the final determination.

When no information is found to prohibit an applicant from being sent a fingerprint clearance card, they will receive a Reference Number to use when being fingerprinted. Fingerprints can be gathered electronically for those in-state, or the applicant can be sent a paper fingerprint card. Applicants who choose electronic fingerprints will be redirected to the Electronic Fingerprinting Application Services website to continue the process.

Applicants who elect the paper option will be mailed a fingerprint card. Vendors will also have cards available for customers.  Fingerprints will be checked against the state and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) criminal databases. Once the Department receives the results, they can begin processing your application for licensure.

Any communication related to the process will appear in your online Public Service Portal (PSP), so continue to check it for updates.

Application Process

The path to SLP licensure begins with a temporary license issued during your clinical fellowship year (CFY). Fill out the application and sent it to the Department with your official transcript, clinical practicum summary, national exam scores, and a Postgraduate Professional Experience Agreement. The application fee and license fee are each $100, and the temporary license will allow you to work with clients as you complete the supervised work experience.

When you’re ready for your permanent license, download the application and complete all required fields before mailing it to:

Arizona Department of Health Services
Bureau of Special Licensing
150 North 18th Avenue, Suite 410
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

Be sure to include the following items:

  • Original official transcript
  • Proof of completing a clinical practicum
  • Verification of Praxis Exam score or ASHA CCC credential
  • Proof of completing a post-graduate supervised work experience in speech-language pathology or ASHA CCC credential
  • Nonrefundable application fee of $100
  • Initial license fee of $200

After a few weeks, the Department will notify you of its decision regarding your SLP license.