Maryland Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Maryland SLPA Licensure

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2024

Speech-language pathologist assistants (SLPAs) work under licensed speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to treat communication disorders. a few of the disorders include speech impediments, developmental delays, and swallowing disorders.

SLPAs are usually the first face a patient or their family sees when arriving for an appointment. The assistants are the ones who check patients in, set up screening equipment, and keep a record of the SLP’s observations when evaluating clients. They also keep the paperwork filed as one of their many administrative duties.

Although Maryland requires SLPAs to be licensed, they cannot work autonomously. In order for SLPAs to administer treatments, assessments, and evaluations to a patient or their family a licensed SLP must be present. The SLP serves as the assistant’s guide and helps them sharpen their skill set and academic knowledge.

The speech-language pathologist assistant role is also a great way to find out if you are truly suited for the profession. It will give you the opportunity to engage with patients directly as an SLP oversees the interaction. Working with a wide range of clients we’ll help you determine if you want to continue working with a broad population, or one more specific, like children or older adults.

It would also give you the opportunity to see the different types of disorders and the way they impact lives. You may choose to specialize in one particular disorder and become an expert in that field.

Another benefit to the SLPA role is the pressure they take off of SLPs by allowing the practice to extend its services. With an assistant, practices can increase the frequency in which they service clients, and increase patient access to the program.

Maryland is also a state in which SPLA’s can earn a nice living. SLPA’s typically earn around 65% less than Speech-Language Pathologists. This would suggest an SLPA in Maryland should earn $92,790 (Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2022) annually, with the bottom 10% to top 90% range falling between $59,270 and $128,430 per year respectively. If you want to know more continue reading to find out the eligibility requirements for speech-language pathology assistant licensure in Maryland.

Maryland Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Licensure Process

Speech-language pathologist assistants are granted licensure by Maryland’s Board of Examiners for Audiologists, Hearing Aid Dispensers, Speech-Language Pathologists & Music Therapists. These licenses are renewed biennially and you can read more about the profession’s governing statutes and codes here.

Education Requirements

To be eligible for SLPA licensure, applicants must have completed one of the following degrees within the past five years:

Here you can find all Maryland speech pathology degree programs.

The courses will broaden your knowledge of voice, language fluency, swallowing, speech, and hearing disorders. It will also prepare you for the rigor of the masters level courses with a curriculum that focuses on the:

  • Communication sciences and disorders
  • General education
  • General electives

Experience Requirements

If you attended an SLP assistant program you will not have to complete any clinical hours for licensure. If you did not attend an SLPA program, 100 hours of clinical experience is needed. Clinical observations are required for 25 of those hours and the remaining 75 are spent in clinical assistance experience.

Clinical experiences are typically incorporated into your coursework. But, if you don’t believe you’ll achieve the required 100 hours in your undergraduate program, contact the program coordinator or other faculty as the school likely has a speech clinic where you can gain the remaining hours. If there is no such clinic, the school has relationships with community sites they can place you.

The experience must be supervised by a speech-language pathologist licensed in Maryland or one who holds a CCC from ASHA. During this experience, you’ll be working under a Limited License. The experience is nine months, and when it’s over your supervisor will give you a competency checklist to send to the Board.

Testing Requirements

Maryland does not require you to pass a national exam to become a licensed SLPA. However, you will have to take the Law and Regulation Examination before being granted an SLPA license. This exam is designed to ensure you have a complete understanding of the laws and ethics associated with your profession.

The 60 multiple choice question test is open book and calculators are allowed. You’re given two hours to complete the exam. A score of 75% is considered passing.

Although ASHA certification isn’t required for licensure, it’s still a great credential to add to your resume. The initial certification fee is $249 and includes one year of affiliation with ASHA. you’ll also need to submit your official transcript along with certificates of completion at least 60 days after sending in your application.

It can take up to six weeks to review the application once all required documents have been received. After being approved to sit for the exam you’ll be sent an Exam Eligibility ID. To register for the Assistants Certification Exam you’ll need to use that ID number within one year.

The exam was created by ASHA and the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC) approved the test. You’ll be tested on your knowledge and competency as an SLPA. How well you understand the scope of practice, how you need to be supervised, and the tasks of your role are assessed.

You’ll need a score of 162 to pass the exam. Scores are automatically sent to ASHA and you will also receive the results. If you don’t pass you can take the test two more times within the same year of your initial approval. The retest fee is $99, and if you don’t pass during that year your application will be closed. You can reapply as a new applicant under the standards for assistant certification in effect at the time.

Fortunately, you can find exam resources online to help you Pass the test and become certified. Sample questions are available for review as well as an SLPA Exam Blueprint. A few other resources include:

After passing you will be issued an ASHA affiliate card. An award letter will also be sent out. While you should congratulate yourself on achieving the certification, you will still have to work if you want to maintain this special credential. Every three years you’ll be required to participate in the following activities:

  • Complete the certification maintenance assessment module
  • Adhere to ASHA’s Assistants Code of Conduct
  • Pay the annual certification fees of $125 due December 31st of every year

Background Checks

In order to be licensed as an SLPA Maryland requires each applicant to complete a full Criminal History Records Check (CHRC). The Board recommends that you have your fingerprints taken in the state of Maryland. Fingerprints are captured electronically and locations are available at Criminal Justice Information System-approved providers. That includes Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) locations and local law enforcement offices.

The CHRCs Are overseen by the Department of Public safety and correctional services (DPSCS) and the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS). If you are a resident of the state or reside in a state near Maryland, you can have your fingerprints taken before mailing your application to the Board.

You’ll receive a receipt with a tracking number after having your fingerprints taken. Be sure to submit this receipt with your application with a handwritten note of which license you’re applying for; full or limited.

Applicants are asked not to call the Board concerning updates on the background check. The CHRC is completed by a third-party state agency and the Board has no control over how long it takes for the results to come back. If it has been more than 30 days then you can contact CJIS directly at (410) 764-4501.

Out-of-state applicants can use a local fingerprinting location as long as they use the preprinted Board-specific fingerprint card available on the website. After completing the fingerprinting process mail the card along with a check to cover the $31.25 fee to the following address:

CJIS Central Repository
P.O. Box 32708
Pikesville, MD 21282-2708

Next, mail a copy of the receipt to:

Maryland Board of AHSM
Attn: Background Check
4201 Patterson Ave, 3rd Fl
Baltimore, MD 21215

Once the board has received all of your background information and other supporting documents, the application is ready to be evaluated. For further instructions, view the Board’s in-state and out-of-state instructions.

Application Process

Attaining a Limited License is the first step to full SLPA licensure. It is required before you can begin the supervised practice experience under a licensed SLP. Applications are available online and need a physical or e-signature for the Board to consider it complete. Upload the signed document and include the following:

  • $100 fee
  • 2×2 passport-size photo
  • A passing score (75%) on the Law and Regulations Examination
  • Official transcripts showing the degree conferred date
    • New graduates can submit a letter from the department chair indicating all coursework and clinical experience has been completed. The applicant will then have 60 days from the date the Limited License was issued to have the educational institution they attended to submit their official transcripts.
  • Completed Privacy Act Form
  • Criminal History Records Check

Once you meet all the requirements, you will be able to transfer your Limited License to a full license. Your supervisor is required to submit a form showing you completed nine months of supervised work experience. This form must be submitted at least 60 days before the Limited License expires.

You will not have to complete another application, but you are required to pay the $100 fee for the full license.

Please note that the Board meets once a month and posts its schedule on its website. It is during these times that applications are reviewed for licensure. Results are available three to five days after the Board’s last meeting.