Louisiana Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Louisiana Speech Therapy Licensure

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2024

As human beings, clear communication is one of the most important abilities to possess. Any difficulties one encounters in this area have a major effect on the individual’s confidence, personal relationships, education, and job opportunities. The issues vary greatly from being completely unable to understand or produce speech to more common issues such as incorrectly pronouncing sounds.

That makes the job of a speech-language pathologist (SLP) extremely essential. They have the ability to assess the patient, provide a diagnosis, and develop a rehabilitation strategy to implement during therapy sessions. During the treatment sessions, SLPs Address the patient’s difficulties with literacy, articulation, social communication, fluency, voice, and cognition. Feeding and swallowing disorders are also treated.

SLPs don’t just deal with their patients but very often are seen by the client’s family members as a resource for information. Most clients who need the assistance of an SLP often have a family member or caretaker close by to help them communicate. SLPs educate these individuals on ways to support the client throughout the day.

If there is a specific population you’d like to work with, you can choose to specialize in that area. If you have the soft skills to work with children, a school setting will probably be the best place to work. If assisting older adults is an area you’re interested in, elder care facilities will benefit greatly from your presence. There are a variety of specializations and settings in which you can thrive as an SLP.

Not only will you be on a gratifying career path, but a lucrative one as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual pay for SPLs in Louisiana ranges between $48,480 and $102,120, with the average SLP earning $70,590 (Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2022). Now is a great time to enroll in a program and get the education needed to begin helping those with speech-language disorders lead a fulfilling life.

Initial Speech Pathology Licensure Process

The Speech-Language Pathologist designation is awarded by the Louisiana Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (LBESPA) and renewed annually. Click here for the list of Rules and Regulations for the occupation set forth by the state.

Education Requirements

Louisiana offers a speech-language pathology license and a provisional or temporary speech-language pathology license. Both require a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. Students need to complete 75 semester credit hours, with 36 hours at the graduate level. The program must be regionally accredited and contain the following coursework requirements.

  • A minimum of six credit hours in biological/physical sciences
  • A minimum of six credit hours in mathematics
  • A minimum of six credit hours and behavioral or social sciences
  • Fifteen credit hours in human communication processes, including anatomic and physiologic bases, physical and psychophysical bases, and linguistic and psycholinguistic aspects

Experience Requirements

Completing clinical practicums is an important component of your learning used to assess your readiness for fieldwork. Once your practicum hour requirements are completed, you’ll need to submit the proper paperwork to show you gained the experience necessary to work directly with patients.

Louisiana requires SLPs to gain 400 clinical practicum hours if their graduate program begins after January 1, 2004. If the program started between January 1, 1994, and January 1, 2004, 375 clinical hours are needed. Programs that began before January 1, 1994, require 300 clinical hours to be completed. Provisional SLP licenses follow the same criteria.

Another requirement for permanent licensure is supervised postgraduate professional work experience. After graduating from the speech-language pathology program, you will need to work at least 36 weeks as a full-time, employed professional.

Before you can begin the nine-month clinical fellowship, you will have to submit your graduate transcripts showing that you completed the clinical practicum hours. The university you attend may have partnerships with organizations and the area and can assist you in finding a clinical fellowship. Once you find a suitable employer, a Supervision Agreement Form must be submitted to verify that you have begun the experience.

It’s during this experience that you will hone your skills in the areas of assessment, treatment, leadership, patient advocacy, counseling, and applying new technologies. You may work in a hospital, school, or private practice during this time.

Testing Requirements

The Speech-Language Pathology Praxis Exam is the national test all SLPs licensed in Louisiana must pass. They are testing locations located throughout the states in cities including but not limited to Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Metairie, and Alexandria. Finding a center near you should not be difficult.

The test consists of 132 multiple-choice questions, and you are given 150 minutes to complete the exam. It is divided into three sections, each of which holds equal weight in the grading process. The exam sections test your knowledge in the following three categories:

  • Foundations and Professional Practice: This area focuses on how disorders develop, the characteristics of common disorders, and research methods.
  • Screening, Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis: This portion of the test will assess your knowledge of communication, feeding, and swallowing disorders, what causes genetic and developmental disorders, and the social aspects of communication.
  • Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Treatment: This is the portion of the test that assesses your evaluation of factors that affect treatment and how well you establish methods to monitor treatment.

The exam is graded on a scale of 100 to 200, and 162 is considered a passing score. Once you pass the exam, you will gain the ASHA Certification of Clinical Competency (CCC). Although the certification is not required for licensure, it is a great credential to have as it shows you went beyond what the state deems necessary to obtain an SLP license.

To have the credential added to your title, simply submit the SLP Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form to ASHA:

American Speech Language Hearing Association
2200 Research Blvd. # 313
Rockville, Maryland 20850

If you plan on working in the school system, taking your test in Louisiana means it will automatically be sent to the state’s Department of Education. Those taking the exam out of state will have to add the Louisiana Department of Education as a score recipient upon registration.

Registration can be completed online with a credit or debit card, eCheck, or Paypal. If you choose to register by mail, download the form from the Praxis Tests Information Bulletin and mail it to:

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

After your application is reviewed, you will receive a unique ID number to use when scheduling your exam date. The cost of the test is $146.

You have up to two years from the application date to pass the exam. If you need to retake it, you can do so twenty-eight days after the last exam date. You can take the test as many times as needed during that period as long as you continue to pay the fee.

Take advantage of the online prep materials to help you study for the national exam. You’ll find study companions, study plans, and online practice tests to give you an idea of what to expect on the big day.

Background Checks

Applicants for licensure must have a criminal background check (CBC) performed by the Louisiana State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). These checks are valid up to 90 days from the date they were received by the Board. If all of the required documents for licensure are not received during that 90-day period, you will be required to submit another CBC. The CBC Must be conducted by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and the FBI to be considered valid. Any other agency’s background reports will not be accepted.

Depending on the findings of the CBC, the application may be delayed. It may also be delayed if the fingerprints are not adequate or the payment submits it was incorrect. It typically takes between one to eight weeks to receive the CBC results.

You can complete the background check by visiting the Louisiana State Police Headquarters or mailing the information to their address:

Louisiana State Police
Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information
P.O. Box 66614
Baton Rouge, LA 70896

Be sure to include the following:

For more detailed instructions about completing a CBC in Louisiana, click here.

Application Process

When you first apply for your SLP license online, you’ll be given a grace period of 60 days while the Board reviews the application. Your grace period begins once the Board sends a notification via email that they have received your application and any supporting documents required for licensure. You may then begin working as a speech-language pathologist as you wait for the Board to approve your application.

It typically takes three to four weeks to process an application, but during the waiting period, you can apply for a provisional SLP license. You can also apply for this license after graduation if you have not yet completed your clinical fellowship. The license is valid for three years after the initial date of issuance.

The requirements for a provisional SLP license are as follows:

  • Transcripts showing you graduated with a master’s degree in speech-language pathology
  • Proof you completed the required clinical practicum hours (dependent on the graduate program start date)
  • A completed CBC

The application for permanent licensure should include the items listed below:

  • A CBC from the Louisiana State Police headquarters
  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • A copy of your ASHA Membership card
  • $125 licensing fee

The Board will process the application once all of the documents are received, and you’ll be sent an email when a license is granted.