Massachusetts Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Massachusetts Speech Therapy Licensure

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2024

Speech-language pathology is a field that may interest you if you are passionate about helping others improve how they communicate. Communication is vital to our interactions with others, and when an individual has trouble expressing themselves due to physical impediments, they will seek out the expertise of a speech-language pathologist (SLP).

As an SLP you will assess and treat communication disorders. Your work setting could be a school, hospital, nursing facility, elderly care facility, or private practice. No matter where you are, the work you do is essential to the people you are helping.

You’ll encounter people of all ages that have difficulty pronouncing words, producing speech sounds, speaking fluently, or have a problem with their resonance. You will be tasked with rehabilitating these individuals by providing successful treatments after evaluating the issue.

Your career choices are abundant, as there are numerous career paths you can take in this field. Become an educator and prepare future SLPs through preceptorships and mentorships. Or stay in the field and choose a specialty area as your focus. If you’re still on the fence and not sure how to get the process of becoming an SLP started, continue reading to find out just what is required in Massachusetts for licensure.

Massachusetts Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Process

The Massachusetts Board of Registration for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology is the licensing organization for speech-language pathologists (SLPs). Licenses are on a two-year renewal cycle and you can find more information regarding the rules and regulations for SLPs on the Board’s website.

Education Requirements

SLP licensure requires a master’s degree or higher in speech-language pathology issued by a program accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA ASHA). The same level of degree in communicative sciences is also acceptable for entry into an SLP program.

Most programs will require a grade point average of 3.0 or greater and exceptional academic references for admission. The school wants to be sure you are prepared for the rigorous coursework ahead of you.

Some of the core classes you’ll take are:

  • Aphasia in Adults
  • Diagnostic Methods and clinical Processes in Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Speech Sound Disorders in Children
  • Foundations of Cognition
  • Development and Disorders of Written and Spoken Language
  • Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology of Communication and Swallowing

Choosing electives will depend on which area of speech-language pathology you decide to make your specialty. Here you can find all Massachusetts speech-language pathology degree programs.

Experience Requirements

Clinical experience is an important aspect of your learning as it prepares you for one-on-one interactions with patients. You’ll have the opportunity to practice your knowledge and skills through direct contact with clients and their families. The experiences are supervised by a licensed and qualified SLP.

The supervisor will mentor you for the duration of the experience. Therefore, they are required to hold a current SLP license and CCC, have completed their CFY, and have completed two hours of professional training development.

While attending the master’s program you will engage in clinical practicum courses that will give you the direct contact hours needed for licensure. A total of 400 clinical hours upon graduation is the requirement for students.

Most universities have speech labs available for this training, and you won’t have to leave campus to acquire the hours. Other schools may encourage you to visit off-campus sites the university has a relationship with to gain experience in a different setting.

After completing the clinical practicum and graduating, the next experience will be your clinical fellowship year (CFY). The experience is designed to help you make the transition into a full-time, independent SLP. You will be in contact with a wide array of populations that have varying disorders.

You can enroll in the Clinical Fellowship full or part-time, depending on your scheduling needs. Part-timers work a minimum of 5 hours each week and full-timers work 35 hours weekly. The total required hours are 1,260.

There are three segments to the CFY experience, each lasting 12 weeks if you are a full-time attendee. At least 80% of your experience must be spent in direct contact with the patients. Here are a few examples of activities considered to be direct contact:

  • Assessment and diagnostic evaluations
  • Screening, Response to Intervention
  • Administering treatment
  • Writing reports
  • Billing
  • Client and family consultation
  • Client and family counseling sessions

The other 20% of your time is to be spent providing training and presentations, and in-services.

During and after each segment of your experience, mentors should provide you with written feedback regarding your progress. After completing the fellowship, you will log into your ASHA account and enter the Fellowship details. The system will then send an email to the supervisor prompting them to confirm the information through the mentoring portal. Supervisors have ninety days to complete this process.

Testing Requirements

The National Praxis Examination in Speech-Language Pathology is hosted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Exam number 5331 is the test you need to register for and pass if you want to become a licensed SLP. After passing the exam, you will receive a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

To sit for the exam, you need to successfully complete the following actions:

Registration can be completed online, by phone, or by mail. The online process is deemed the quickest and simplest way to register.

To register over the phone you’ll first need to create an account on the Praxis website. There is a $35 for registering this way.

Registration by mail requires a completed Test Authorization Voucher Request Form to be mailed to ETS. Keep the list of codes nearby as you will need them as you fill out the form. Send the voucher request to:

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

After the request is processed you will receive a voucher number within three weeks to use when registering for the test. The exam is computer-based and can be taken at one of the many testing locations throughout the state, or in the comfort of your own home. If you are visiting a testing site, print the admission ticket to take with you. You’ll find sites in Boston, Worcester, Burlington, Springfield, and more.

Those who decide to take the exam at home will be monitored by an online proctor. ProctorU is the organization that will deliver the home test.

A score of 162 is needed to pass. Once your test is graded, you’ll receive an email notification that the score is available to view in your Praxis account. The agencies you requested the score be sent to during registration will also receive a copy.

If you don’t pass you have to wait 28 days before reregistering and paying the fee once again. You can take it as many times as needed in the two years following your original application. If you don’t pass within that time frame you will have to start the process from the beginning.

There are online resources available, provided by ETS, to help you prepare for exam day. Those resources include the following materials:

Check with your school as they will likely have their own resources to help you pass the Praxis exam. You will also find information on the websites of other SLP organizations like the Massachusetts Speech-Language-Hearing Association (MSHA).

Background Checks

One of the qualifications for licensure is the applicant must demonstrate that they are of good moral character. If the Board has been given any reason to question the moral character of a candidate, they will conduct an inquiry to discover the facts and circumstances of the situation.

One of the tools the Board uses to determine good moral character is a criminal record check (CORI). Most other states conduct a fingerprint check, but Massachusetts uses a name-based background check.

You simply submit a signed CORI Acknowledgment Form providing your name and date of birth. Massachusetts court records are then checked to determine whether a criminal record exists. The information is only checked against Massachusetts records and not federal criminal databases.

After about ten business days your results are submitted to the Board for review. Conduct that may prevent an individual from becoming licensed is not limited to, but includes the following actions:

  • Convicted of a criminal offense outside of a routine traffic violation
  • Disciplinary action against any professional licenses or certifications you currently hold
  • Discovery of deception or a lack of honesty
  • A failure to use proper judgment regarding another person’s health, safety, welfare, or legal rights

If the background check produces a criminal record, the Board will take the nature of the offense, date of conviction, age of the applicant, and any other relevant facts into consideration before issuing a ruling.

Application Process

Applications can be submitted through the Division of Professional Licensure’s online portal, ePlace. First-time users can use the Health Professions Licensing System User Guide to navigate the site.

It is here that you can make payments, submit renewal requests, and keep your personal information updated. Please note that all applications need to reach the Board within sixty days of your graduation date, or one week after beginning your clinical fellowship year (CFY).

Paper applications and supporting documents should be mailed to the following address:

Board of Registration for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
1000 Washington St.
Suite 710
Boston, MA 02118-6100

Include the following items with your application when applying by mail:

  • A Supervised Professional Practice Plan signed by you and the supervisor of your CFY
  • Praxis exam results
  • A verification letter from ASHA confirming your certification
  • Official master’s degree transcript
  • Evidence that 400 clock hours were earned in the graduate program
  • A completed CORI Acknowledgment Form
  • 2×2 passport-size photo
  • Verification of any professional licenses you’ve ever held
  • $68 application fee

If you are applying online you will still need to upload the documents mentioned above after creating an account with ePlace. You will also need to have the Speech-Language Pathologists Application For Licensure signed and notarized before uploading it to the online portal.

Applications typically take 2-3 weeks to process once all documents have been received. You will then receive a notification as to the status of your license.