Iowa Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Iowa Speech Therapy Licensure

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 19th, 2024

Are you interested in becoming a speech therapist but aren’t sure where to start? Speech-language pathology (SLP) is an occupational area that many have heard of but don’t really know all it entails. The discipline studies speech and language problems and different methods and techniques to treat the conditions.

For example, speech sounds are how we say sounds and put them together to form words. When someone has trouble in this area, it’s referred to as an issue with articulation or a phonological disorder. Language is how well we comprehend what is being said or read. It’s also how we use words to communicate how we feel and what we think.

There are also conditions tied to literacy, social communication, how our voice sounds, how fluently we speak, cognitive-communication, and feeding or swallowing disorders. Speech-Language Pathologists treat individuals with these conditions and help them learn to form sounds, speak clearly and easily, strengthen the muscles used when speaking and swallowing and educate individuals and families on how to overcome communication issues.

A Speech Pathologist can improve one’s vocabulary by increasing the number of words they use and understand. That helps them put sentences together much easier, which in turn boosts their confidence and makes communicating with others a less daunting task.

For these reasons and more, Speech Pathologists are needed in Iowa to assist the population affected by speech-language conditions. The Iowa Board of Speech Pathology and Audiology serves as the liaison between the public and licensed Speech Pathologists. It is the state institution responsible for establishing the rules and regulations for SLPs.

So, if you’re looking for more information on exactly what the state of Iowa requires for licensure as far as education, experience, and documentation, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll cover what you need to become a licensed SLP and what to expect during the application process.

Initial Speech Pathology Licensure Process

The Iowa Board of Speech Pathology and Audiology issues Speech Pathologist licenses that must be renewed every two years. You can review the laws and administrative rules for licensure on their website. Keep reading for more information regarding the requirements to become an SLP in Iowa.

Education Requirements

Applicants must possess a master’s degree in speech pathology from an accredited institution. You can expect to take courses such as:

  • Cognition and Neural Bases – The focus in this class is how the brain processes language.
  • Aphasia – You’ll learn about the disorder and how to evaluate and diagnose the condition in patients, as well as the treatment methods available.
  • School-Age Language Disorder – In this course, you’ll be taught how language disorders affect learning on different grade levels

Anyone trained overseas needs to have an equivalency evaluation of their educational credentials. The evaluation can be completed by the International Education Research Foundation (IERF) or the International Credentialing Associates (ICA).

Experience Requirements

In Iowa, applicants for speech pathology licensure must complete a minimum of 400 hours of supervised clinical experience. The experience is needed before you can be issued a permanent license. The Supervised Experience Plan form has to be submitted to the Board for approval before you can begin practice.

The plan must include the following:

  • A minimum of nine months of clinical experience on a full-time schedule (30 hours per week) or equivalent
  • The supervising Speech Pathologist must be licensed in Iowa, and a separate form must be used for each supervisor if your experience is being overseen by more than one. Any changes to the plan have to be approved by the Board before being implemented.

You will then be issued a temporary clinical license and can begin earning the hours needed for a permanent license.

Testing Requirements

Applicants are required to pass the Praxis Examination in speech pathology given by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and approved by ASHA. The test measures your knowledge and skill competency to be sure you are ready to begin seeing patients on your own. You are responsible for making the arrangements to take the exam and for all costs associated with the test.

There are more than 90 different exams given by Praxis, and the one you need to take is number 5331. Each exam is taken on a computer and can be taken at a local test center or from home. The at-home exams are completed using ProctorU and have a live person monitoring you online. If you choose to take it at home, make sure your equipment meets the technical requirements and the testing space is appropriately prepared. View a list of guidelines on the Praxis website.

In Iowa, you need a score of 162 to pass the exam before you can complete the certification process for SLP licensure. Once you’ve been approved to sit for the exam, you can schedule a test date online. As you await the big day, you should keep the knowledge you’ve gained fresh in your mind. Fortunately, there are plenty of test prep materials to keep you on track.

Take a look at the content and go over sample questions with the Study Companion. Or, get a feel for what the exam will be like by taking the timed Interactive Practice Test for a fee of $19.95. Watch the videos and webinars for more insight into what you can expect when it’s time to take the exam. Learn other strategies and tips to help you pass the first time.

Should you happen to fail the test, you have two years from the application submission date to earn a passing score. Otherwise, your application will be closed. The test is 2.5 hours, with a registration fee of $146.

After the exam, your results are sent directly to ASHA from ETS. The score will also be posted to your Praxis account, and you’ll be notified by email when it’s ready to access. You’ll then receive your Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from ASHA and can apply for an SLP license.

Background Checks

After completing your online application, you will have to be fingerprinted for a state and national background check. It is required for all initial professional licenses in Iowa. The background check costs are your responsibility and can be paid with the application fee.

Many universities offer fingerprinting services, and the University of Iowa Department of Public Safety, allows you to be fingerprinted at their facility. Graduates within the last year, students, faculty, and their immediate family members can be fingerprinted for $10, while members of the public will pay $20.

You can also visit a police department; just give them advance notice so they are ready when you arrive. For more information on the process, visit the Department of Public Safety.

Application Process

Before you can apply for a permanent Speech Pathologist license, you have to first apply for a temporary clinical license in speech pathology. The license is valid for one year and is a prerequisite obtained for the purpose of gaining clinical experience. The following items are required to be submitted to the Board before the temporary license is issued:

  • The official application issued by the Board
  • Official copy of ASHA certificate of clinical competence; or
    • Official transcript copy showing proof of a master’s degree in speech pathology or equivalent
    • Verification of completing at least 400 supervised clinical training hours
    • Verification that nine months of full-time post-secondary clinical experience was completed or equivalent
  • Praxis exam results with a passing score of 162
  • $120 application fee
  • Copy of your Supervised Clinical Experience (SCE) Plan

Create an account and pay online, or download and print the document to fax to (515) 281-3121. Any information that needs to be emailed should be sent to Should you need to get your temporary license renewed, the fee is $60.

Once you complete the clinical experience, you can apply for licensure online. Documentation that should be submitted along with the completed application includes the following:

  • Proof of competency, which can be a copy of your official ASHA certificate; or all of the following
    • Copies of official academic transcripts to show you earned a master’s degree in speech pathology and completed a minimum of 400 hours of clinical training under the supervision of a licensed Speech Pathologist
    • Verification that nine months of full-time supervised clinical experience has been completed post-master degree
    • Praxis Exam results of 162 or higher
  • Verification of any licenses you have or have ever held in any profession
  • Submit your Supervised Clinical Experience (SCE) Report signed by you and the supervisor
  • $120 nonrefundable application fee

The Board typically takes five business days to review the application and issue a license. You’ll be emailed if any additional documents are required, and once approved, the Board will notify you via email as well.

If you need help filling out the application, call (515) 281-0254. For assistance with your username and password, contact the State of Iowa Service Desk at (800) 532-1174 or (515) 281-5703.