Louisiana Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Louisiana SLPA Licensure

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2024

Speech-language pathology may be an area that interests you, but you may not know exactly what duties or tasks are required for a role in the field. If you haven’t yet pursued the career for those reasons, this article will cover the requirements needed to become a licensed speech-language pathology assistant (SLPA) in Louisiana.

Starting out as an assistant, we’ll give you a preview of the profession so you can decide which specialty areas you’d like to pursue. You’ll gain hands-on experience as you perfect your interaction skills during clinical practicums. During the clinical experiences, you will work with a variety of patients of all ages from different backgrounds.

That will allow you to hone your craft and figure out if you are more interested in helping a specific population or working with a wider population. You’ll determine what setting you are most comfortable working in, also. Do you prefer a school, hospital, private practice, clinic, or elder care facility? These decisions will be easier to make once you become an SLPA.

In this role, you will help lighten the speech-language pathologist’s workload (SLP) to prevent them from experiencing burnout. You’ll be part of a team dedicated to improving patient care and obtaining successful outcomes. The entire time you’ll be under the mentorship of a licensed expert.

The SLP and SLPA careers are currently experiencing shortages, and positions are expected to grow 22.0% from 2020 to 2030 in Louisiana and to grow 28.7% from 2020 to 2030 nationally. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), speech pathologist assistant salaries in the state range between $31,512 and $66,378, with the average assistant earning $45,884 (Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2022)1.

Not only will you enjoy a rewarding career, but you’ll also be able to earn a comfortable living at the same time. That’s why now is the right time to enroll in a speech-language pathology assistant program and gain the knowledge and skills necessary to become licensed.

Initial Speech Pathology Licensure Process

The Louisiana Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology is the state agency that grants licenses for speech-language pathologist assistants. These licenses are renewed each year, and more information regarding the state’s rules and regulations can be found on the Board’s website.

Education Requirements

There are two types of licenses for this occupation in Louisiana. There are speech-language pathology assistance and provisional speech-language pathology assistant licenses. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology to gain either certification.

If you don’t have a bachelors in this specific discipline, you need to have completed at least 41 hours in a degree program that includes the following core coursework:

  • Six semester hours of biological or physical science
  • Six semester hours of mathematics or statistics
  • Six semester hours of multicultural studies, sociology, psychology, or a combination of each
  • Three semester hours in American phonetics
  • Three semester hours in anatomy and physiology of speech
  • Three semester hours of normal speech and language acquisition
  • Three semester hours of introduction to communication disorders
  • Three semester hours of articulation and language disorders
  • Two semester hours of a clinical practicum in communication disorders
  • Three semester hours of introduction to audiology

Experience Requirements

The experience requirements for provisional and permanent licenses differ slightly. To be granted a provisional SLPA license, you need to acquire at least 100 clinical practicum hours from a regionally accredited institution or a program. The first 75 hours of this experience are broken down as follows:

  • 20 hours in speech disorders
  • 20 hours in language disorders
  • 35 hours in speech, language, or hearing disorders

You’ll then have three years from the date your provisional license was issued to complete the remaining 125 hours needed for a permanent SLPA license. The remaining hours can be completed through employment or a regionally accredited program.

Of the 225 hours needed for a permanent speech-language pathology assistant license, 75 must be gained through direct patient contact. Simulation experiences are not accepted. Another 25 hours must be obtained through observing and assessing therapies. The initial 100 practicum hours for permanent SLPA licenses follow the same breakdown for provisional licenses.

The Board recommends that you attain the necessary clinical practicum hours at a minimum of two different sites. One of the suggested sites is a public school setting where you’ll engage with children of different ages and backgrounds. This experience will prepare you for the supporting role you will have once you begin practicing.

Applicants have thirty days to submit the Supervision Agreement Form following the application submission or becoming employed. The supervisor must hold a valid SLP license, have been practicing for one year, and be in good standing. They must also commit to the following supervision guidelines:

  • At least one clock hour each week of on-site supervision of SLPAs
  • At least one clock hour each week of alternative supervision of SLPAs
  • At least three clock hours each week of on-site supervision of provisional SLPAs
  • At least three clock hours each week of alternative supervision of provisional SLPAs

Testing Requ0irements

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has created a national exam that is also approved by the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC). The exam assesses how well an SLPA understands the scope of practice, how they should be supervised, and the tasks included and excluded from their roles.

Prometric is the organization administering the exam for ASHA. The initial certification fee is $249, which includes a year of ASHA affiliation. Once your application has been approved, you will be sent an Exam Eligibility ID to use when registering for the test.

The test is divided into three categories: Providing Services, Providing Administrative Support, and Participating in Prevention and Advocacy. There are 100 multiple-choice questions, and you’ll need a score of 162 in order to pass. The grading scale ranges between 100 and 200.

Scores are automatically transmitted to ASHA for review, and you will also be e-mailed the results. In the event that you do not pass the exam, you can retest a total of two more times within the year following the initial approval date and will have to pay the $99 retest fee. Individuals who don’t pass during the first year will have their applications closed and must reapply for certification.

Exam prep materials are available online to help you prepare for exam day. Visit the Practice Portal, or review the sample questions as you study. There are plenty of study materials available on ASHA’s website, and most universities also have a section of their sites dedicated to exam prep.

Background Checks

SLPAs in Louisiana are required to consent to a criminal background check (CBC). The Louisiana State Police is the agency that conducts the background check and transmits the results to the Board. Background checks from other agencies will not be accepted. Both state and federal databases are checked during this process.

An Authorization Form and RAP Disclosure Form must be submitted along with your digital fingerprints. You can complete the background check by making an in-person visit to the Louisiana State Police Headquarters or mailing the required documents to:

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

The CBC processing time depends on the results. It can take as little as one or as many as eight weeks for completion. Any mistakes, such as inadequate fingerprints or wrong payment amounts, will delay processing. The correct fee for licensure is $39.25.

Each background check is valid for 90 days, so you have extra time if you are required to send additional application information to the Board for approval. If the application is not complete before the 90 days are up, you’ll need to submit a new CBC and processing fee.

The dashboard in the online portal will be updated with your application status. Be sure to keep checking the dashboard for any supporting documents or updates the Board may request. Follow the instruction listed on the website here.

Application Process

Since this is your first time applying for a license, the board will give you a 60-day grace. In which you can work while your application is reviewed. Once the board has received all of the application documents, your grace period will begin, and you will be notified via e-mail. You can also check your dashboard in the online portal, where the application status is regularly updated.

Include the following information with your application for SLPA licensure:

  • Undergrad and graduate college transcripts submit it through e-script or mailed directly from the issuing institution
  • A completed criminal background check transmitted from the Louisiana State Police Headquarters
  • Proof of your clinical practicum hours sent directly from the program director
  • $125 application fee

As you wait for the SLPA license to be approved, you can apply for a provisional speech-language pathologist assistant license and begin practicing. Once your license is issued, you will see the update posted to your dashboard when you log into your online account.

1 – SLPA salaries are calculated as 65% of SLP salaries.