Georgia Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Georgia Speech Therapy Licensure

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 19th, 2024

Are you an analytical but creative thinker? Do you have great communication and problem-solving skills? Has speech pathology always been an area of interest to you? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then you should consider becoming a licensed speech language pathologist (SLP) in Georgia.

SLP’s make a significant impact in the lives of their patients as they compassionately work to help clients with communicative disorders. Communication is vital to our interaction with fellow human beings, and when it’s ineffective we can be left feeling frustrated. Social, work, and family lives can become difficult overtime for those with communication disabilities.

Fortunately, a qualified and experienced SLP can drastically improve a patient’s quality of life. SLPs identify and diagnose speech and language disorders and develop individualized treatment plans. They can work with individuals of all ages from infants to older adults, or they can choose to work with a special population, specific disorder, or a combination of both.

You’ll also find SLPs in a variety of work settings including schools, hospitals, residential care facilities, and more. The profession is dynamic and fast-paced oftentimes with no two days being the same. Once you are licensed you can even choose to go into occupational therapy or become an interpreter or translator.

The Peach State is a wonderful place to begin your career as an SLP. The in-state universities offer highly ranked SLP programs, as well as top-notch facilities where you’ll gain clinical experience. If you already live in Georgia or plan or moving to the area soon, keep reading to find out the steps you need to take to become a licensed SLP.

Georgia Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Process

The Georgia State Board of Speech Language Pathology/Audiology grants licensure for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) within the state. One of the rules and regulations set by the Board is that these licenses are to be renewed biennially.

Education Requirements

SLPs need at least a master’s degree from an accredited speech-language pathology program to qualify for licensure. Before entering the master’s level program, you should have taken foundational courses during your undergraduate experience if your bachelor’s degree is in Communicative Sciences and Disorders.

If your degree is in another discipline, you’ll need to take the foundational courses before applying to an SLP program in order to meet the prerequisite requirements. Once in the program you will cover the following subjects:

  • Language Disorders
  • Swallowing Disorders
  • Motor Speech Disorders
  • Communication Neuroscience
  • Clinical Practice
  • Medical and Clinical Internships

The program should be accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA’s) accrediting organization, the Council of Academic Accreditation (CAA). This will ensure the education you receive meets the standards set forth by ASHA, the national scientific and credentialing agency for SLPs. Here you will find listed all Georgia speech pathology degree programs.

Experience Required

During your graduate program you’ll gain 300 hours of hands-on experience at clinical sites via practicums. If you earned a bachelor’s degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders, you would enter the master’s program having already completed some practicum hours.

However, if you majored in another field, you’ll need to complete all 300 hours while in the graduate program. The time is broken down as follows:

  • At least 25 hours spent with adults (18 years old and up)
  • At least 25 hours spent with children under (under the age of 18)

After the clinical practicum is over and you’ve graduated, a Paid Clinical Experience (PCE) is the next step to licensure. The experience is nine months of full-time clinical experience. To be considered full-time you must work a minimum of 30 hours each week. You’ll have up to 24 months to finish after submitting the application.

The half-time experience is at least 15 hours weekly to be completed in 18 months, but you are given 36 months to from the initial application date to finish.

During the PCE your performance is monitored by a licensed SLP supervisor. They will observe, evaluate, write reports, and discuss your clinical work on a regular and structured basis. Fourteen calendar days after the completion of the PCE you and the supervisor must notify the Board by sending the appropriate notarized form.

Testing Requirement

To meet the testing requirement for licensure you will have to pass Praxis Exam 5331 for Speech-Language Pathology. The test is made up of 132 multiple-choice questions and graded on a scale of 100-200. A score of 162 is needed to pass.

The test is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) on behalf of ASHA. The exam assesses your knowledge and skills to ensure you are ready for active practice. Registration can be completed one of three ways: by phone, by mail, and online. Online registration is recommended for an easy and quick turnaround time.

Call (800) 772-9476 to register to take the test at a U.S. test center. There is a $35 surcharge that must be paid at least four days before your scheduled test date. When mailing the registration first fill out the Test Authorization Voucher Request Form and send it to ETS:

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

A voucher number will then be sent three weeks later with registration instructions.

Should you need to reschedule after registering you can do so through your Praxis account or by calling ETS Customer Service at least three days before the test. Cancelling within that timeframe may make you eligible for 50% of your test fees. The remaining payment is kept to cover processing expenses and for holding your space at the test center.

If you don’t cancel using the above steps and cannot take the test due to an absence or lateness, you are not eligible for a refund. To retake the test, you will have to pay the standard exam fee of $146 fee again. You will have to wait 28 days from the last date before you can reschedule.

Online you will find prep materials to study and prepare for the big day:

Because this is a computer-based test you also have the option of taking it at home. You’ll be monitored by a live proctor for the duration of the exam. Be sure your equipment and environment meet the requirements outlined by the exam administrators.

Your score is sent to your Praxis account and any institutions you requested receive the information during the registration process, bringing you one step closer to licensure.

Background Checks

SLPs work with some of the most vulnerable members of our population. Many of their patients lack the ability to communicate and therefore anyone working with them must consent to a background check to keep the patients safe and protected.

After submitting your application for licensure to the Board you can register for the fingerprint background check. Fingerprints can be captured electronically or manually depending on your preference.

If using a manual fingerprint card, first visit Cogent Systems online and select the Applicant Registration tab. Choose the Secretary of State tab and then the GA Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology tab. Continue to follow the instructions and make the required payment. Print and take a coy of the receipt with you to the fingerprinting location.

To have your fingerprints captured electronically enter the Helpful Links header and select Find a Fingerprint Location. Visit the site location with the following documents:

  • Registration receipt with confirmation number
  • Valid picture ID

The results are then transferred to the Board for review.

There is also a Name-Based Criminal History Record Information Consent/Inquiry Form that is part of your application packet. Signing the form gives entities like the Board, permission to periodically perform a criminal history background check for the duration of your SLP licensure.

Application Process

Before applying for a permanent license, you’ll first need a Paid Clinical Experience temporary permit. You are given 14 calendar days after your PCE begins to apply for this permit to the Board. It allows you to begin the post-graduate work experience required for licensure.

The temporary permit is valid for one year and can only be renewed once if the PCE period is extended.

After completing the PCE you are eligible to apply for a permanent SLP license by examination.

Here is a list of documents that should be submitted for licensure:

Send the application packets with the document pages unfolded in a 9×12 envelope to:

Georgia State Board of Speech Language Pathology/Audiology
237 Coliseum Drive
Macon, GA 31217

Answer each question on the form as if any information is missing or incorrect your application will not be reviewed. If the incomplete application is not corrected within 60 days, the application is withdrawn and a new one must be submitted. Enter your current email address on the form as it is how the Board will communicate the acknowledgement of the application. If further documentation is required a notification will be sent to the same email address.

It takes the Board about 20 business days to process applications. Keep up with your application’s status by checking online. Completed applications should be received by the Board 15 days prior to its scheduled meeting to be added to the agenda. If not, the application won’t be reviewed until the next meeting convenes. View the Board’s meeting schedule on their website.