Massachusetts Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Massachusetts SLPA Licensure

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2024

Speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs) are crucial to the healthcare field. Speech-language pathologists (SLP) often have a heavy caseload, and without a trained assistant, burnout is often waiting for them right around the corner. The work performed by SLPAs allows SLPs to focus on treating and caring for the patient.

As an SLPA, some of your job duties include speech-language screening, scoring a patient’s progress, implementing documented care plans, and coaching caregivers. SLPAs also provide support in settings like hospitals and private practices.

If you believe you have the compassion and patience to work in the healthcare field, and speech-language pathology in particular, becoming an SLPA is the perfect way to test the waters. The requirements for Massachusetts aren’t difficult to navigate, so if you’re considering becoming licensed, you’ve come to the right place.

This article will cover the education, experience, testing requirements, and other qualifications for licensure. With healthcare worker shortages throughout the nation, now is as good a time as any to begin your journey to becoming a speech-language pathology assistant.

Massachusetts Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Licensure Process

The Board of Registration for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology issues licenses for speech-language pathologist assistants in Massachusetts. These licenses must be renewed every two years and while practicing, it is important to understand and follow the rules and regulations set by the state for SLPAs.

Education Requirements

Speech-language pathologist assistants need to hold an associate’s degree in the discipline. The training program they obtained the degree from should be a nationally approved certifying body like the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Individuals with a bachelor’s degree showing speech-language pathology as their major are also eligible to apply for licensure. Those with bachelor’s degrees in another discipline and a certificate from an approved SLPA program can also submit an application.

The other accepted educational requirement is an associate, bachelor, or higher degree in any major with at least 18 hours of coursework in speech-language pathology. Six of the hours should be in speech, language, or hearing disorders, or any Board-approved courses.

A few of the classes you can expect to take are:

  • Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Anatomy and Physiology of Speech Mechanism I
  • Normal Language Development
  • Observation Methods and Techniques
  • Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders

Experience Requirements

Clinical experiences are where you begin to utilize the knowledge you gain while in the SLPA program. Massachusetts requires applicants for licensure to complete a minimum of 20 hours of observing a licensed SLP in clinical practice. The supervising SLP must have been in practice for two years and each month they need to directly observe 10% of the SLPA’s services. Another 10% of the time can be spent on indirect supervision.

The application packet includes an area for you to list the agency, supervisor and contact information of the facility where you earned the observation hours. Be sure to send in the Observation Log which includes the dates and lengths of each session.

Testing Requirements

Massachusetts does not require SLPAs to pass a national exam before they can begin assisting SLPs. However, it would be a good idea to take the ASHA Assistants Certification Exam. It consists of 100 questions and assesses your understanding of the scope of practice, how assistants should be supervised, and the basic tasks performed by SLPAs.

Once you are approved to sit for the exam, you can register and select an exam date and location. You’ll be sent a unique Exam Eligibility ID to use when signing up for the test. A score of 162 is needed to pass.

If you fail the exam, the retest fee is $99. You are only allowed to take the test two more times, so utilize the online resources, like the SLPA blueprint and sample questions, to help you study.

Background Checks

A name-based criminal record check (CORI) is used to identify anyone who may not be eligible to work in the healthcare field. The application packet contains a CORI Acknowledgement Form which gives the state consent to check your name in their database for a criminal record. Your name is not run against any federal databases.

It can take up to ten business days to process the CORI, after which the Board will determine whether or not to issue a license.

Application Process

Once you’ve graduated and completed all the clinical experiences needed for licensure, it’s time to fill out the application. Here is a list of the items you need to send along with the application:

  • Show evidence that you observed an SLP during clinical practice for at least 20 hours
  • Request your academic institution send the Board a copy of your transcripts
  • A signed CORI Acknowledgement Form
  • 2×2 passport-size photo
  • A signed and notarized copy of the application
  • $68 application fee

If you’re mailing the form, send it to:

Board of Registration for Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology
1000 Washington Street
Suite 710
Boston, MA 02118-6100

Applying online requires you to create an account on the Division of Professional Licensure’s online portal, ePLACE. Once your account is active, you can visit it when you want to update your personal information, renew the license, or make payments.