Missouri Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Missouri SLPA License/Registration

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2024

Many people love the idea of working with people who struggle with speech, language, or swallowing disorders, but don’t want to get a master’s degree. For them, becoming a speech-language pathologist assistant (SLP-A) may be the answer.

In Missouri, like many other states, this job is regulated. The State of Missouri wants to protect the public, both from incompetent care and from bad actors. For this reason, the State requires anyone who works as an SLP-A to be registered.

Registration is less demanding than SLP licensure. Not only is the position itself less responsible for patient care, but there are fewer requirements. At the same time, an aide can only practice alongside a fully-licensed SLP.

Let’s look at how to get registered.

Missouri Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Initial Registration

In Missouri, it’s much easier to become an SLP-A  than a full-fledged SLP. While you still get to make a difference in the lives of others, you can do it with just a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, the application process itself is more streamlined. And finally, you don’t have as many requirements to keep your license or registration current.

Education Requirements

To become an SLP assistant, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. This is significantly less than the master’s degree required to become an SLP, and it only takes four years. Here you can find all Missouri speech pathology degree programs (all levels that can be filtered down to only bachelor’s programs).

For a Missouri registration, there are two ways to meet the requirements. If you already know you want to work in the field before going to college, then get your degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders or equivalent. This option is the easiest because you know that your degree checks all the boxes.

Your other option is to get an “equivalent” to the bachelor’s degree in communication disorders. This means you take 21 college-level credit hours in five topics: anatomy and physiology, phonetics, speech-language disorders, development, and clinical methods. Those are the same courses that you’d take as part of your college major. You still need to get practicum hours, but the program will typically arrange this.

If you don’t want to take extra undergraduate courses, some schools like Missouri State also offer a graduate certificate in SLP assisting. These programs meet the coursework requirements for registration, but you’ll need to get the practicum hours another way. In other words, this isn’t an all-in-one solution.

Experience Requirements

Getting your bachelor’s degree isn’t quite enough to get licensed as an SLP aide in Missouri. Rather, you need some formal experience. For most people, this is a clinical practicum taken as part of your bachelor’s degree, where it earns academic credits.

In total, you’ll need 50 hours of clinical practicum to get your license. This requirement is divided into two parts: 25 hours of observation, and another 25 hours assisting an SLP with service delivery. When it’s time to apply for your license, you’ll need to document these hours through a form sent to the Board by your supervisor. The form is part of your application packet.

Background Requirements

Although Missouri doesn’t have a separate step for background checks, you do have to declare all criminal convictions to the Board when you apply for the license. This requirement also includes court diversion and similar program participation that doesn’t result in conviction, but not situations where charges were dropped for lack of evidence.

In Missouri, the standard is “good moral character.” However, just because you have a felony doesn’t mean you can be denied a license. Instead, Missouri law requires that the Board consider a variety of factors, including the circumstances of your arrest, time since last conviction, and the relevance of your offense to someone who wants to work as an SLP-A.

Testing Requirements

There isn’t a formal exam for the SLP-A in Missouri. The only exception is a brief law quiz in the application packet, which they say is mostly to familiarize professionals with regulations.

However, after licensure you might want to get a certification from ASHA. This is similar to the Certificate of Clinical Competence, and requires additional clinical hours. You’ll take a few other courses and pass an exam, too.

Application Process

When you have your bachelor’s degree and practicum hours, it’s time to apply for a license. You won’t be allowed to practice between graduation, when you qualified for student status, and the end of your application process.

To apply, you’ll fill out the application form, and include a $25 fee as a money order or certified check. As part of the application, you’ll include all of your documentation.

Documentation includes:

  • Academic transcripts of bachelor’s degree or other evidence of educational requirements
  • Sworn statement from your practicum supervisor or the practicum office at your school
  • Statement of activities, including employment, school, and other occupations for the last ten years or since high school
  • Information on any professional licenses you’ve ever had, even if not related to your current field
  • Practice supervision agreement from the SLP who will be your supervisor
  • Statements of circumstances for anything negative in your background, such as a criminal conviction or professional license discipline
  • Your law quiz
  • Proof of Social Security number

You’ll send the completed application form to the Board, at the address listed on the application. Any documents that need to be provided by third parties must be mailed to the Board by those parties, not by you.

Finally, the Board says that it’ll take a month or more to completely process your application. If you haven’t heard from them in a couple of months, it’s worth reaching out. Also, if the Board has questions, they’ll ask you.