New Jersey Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: New Jersey Speech Therapy Licensure

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2024

If you’re reading this, chances are that you want to make a difference in other people’s lives. And that you’re detail-oriented, love science, and work well with people. Speech-language pathology is a career dedicated to helping people communicate to their fullest potential. When people have trouble hearing, learning to speak, or express themselves well, it can be a major challenge for them. Even minor speech impediments can drastically change a child’s outlook and their treatment by other kids at school.

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) may also work with people who have trouble swallowing, such as with a cleft palate or other anatomical abnormalities. In this case, trouble swallowing can also lead to other health problems.

No matter what area of speech-language pathology you choose, there are a lot of options. You might work in the schools, a hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare setting. Furthermore, you can specialize in people of any age, or be a generalist. The choice is yours.

Regardless of your choices within speech-language pathology, the state of New Jersey requires you to get a license. These are issued by the Division of Consumer Affairs, and its Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Committee. We’ll refer to the Board or the Committee instead.

How can you get a license to be a speech-language pathologist in New Jersey? Let’s find out.

New Jersey Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Requirements

Getting licensed as a speech-language pathologist for the first time is a lot of work. The state of New Jersey understands that unqualified people pretending to be an SLP can do a significant amount of damage to their patients. In addition, the health professions in general have very specific requirements for practice which both protect public health and ensure the best possible protection for patients.

Fortunately, getting an SLP license in New Jersey is relatively easy if you meet all the requirements. These include education, experience, and testing. Each of these make sure that a newly-minted SLP knows how to do their job properly and has enough experience to work autonomously.

In New Jersey, a speech-language pathologist license lasts for two years, renewable at the end of every other fiscal year. Regulations are from the Administrative Code, Title 13, Chapter 44.

Educational Requirements

As in most states, New Jersey requires a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology, or its equivalent. The program must be accredited by a nationally-recognized body, or by the State. It also must include both coursework and plenty of pre-graduation clinical hours. Especially ambitious candidates may pursue licensure after earning a doctorate in the same topic, but this is uncommon. We will limit our discussion to the Masters-level route, because testing and other requirements are the same.

While some states mandate specific courses or topics in a Master’s degree, and even specify the minimum number of credits, New Jersey has opted not to do this. Instead, New Jersey depends on accreditation agencies to ensure that the program is of sufficient quality.

Generally speaking, the coursework will take around three years full-time. Here is a basic breakdown of the coursework and other requirements for a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology, courtesy of Kean University:

  • Gain an understanding of children’s language disorders and how they affect school and everyday living.
  • Learn about speech disorders in adults, and how these can create problems in everyday life.
  • Learn how to identify and treat speech and language disorders in both adults and children.
  • Gain exposure to the clinical setting and acquire practical experience through a practicum or internships.

Programs accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) require 375 clock hours of clinical experience, plus 25 hours of observation. Most of these hours must be completed during the Master’s program. Overall, there are 57 credit hours of coursework.

These requirements are fairly standard for ASHA-accredited programs, and they are part of the administrative code in some states. New Jersey requires that your degree comes from an ASHA-accredited program, or its equivalent in audiology if you want a dual license.

Experience Requirements

In New Jersey, simply having a degree in speech-language pathology is not enough to get an unrestricted license. Rather, you will need a clinical internship after graduating from your master’s program. Before the internship begins, you will need to get a temporary license to practice which lasts for the duration of your internship.

While working on a temporary license, you will need to be supervised by a licensed SLP. This person will observe you in clinic, provide feedback, and be responsible for your treatment decisions. To qualify as a supervisor, they will have to be licensed as an SLP in a state with similar licensing requirements. Alternatively, they can have a Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA. Regulators and practitioners call this credential the CCC for short, or simply being “certified.” Becoming certified requires further work and more experience than an initial license.

Finally, there are some hours and timeline restrictions. Specifically, you must complete 1200 hours of clinical work and spend at least nine months accumulating those hours. The maximum time allowed to complete your clinical internship is 18 months.

Examination Requirements

Unsurprisingly, New Jersey requires people who want an SLP license to take a standardized exam. The test is called Praxis Speech-Language Pathology, and it’s published by Educational Testing Service (ETS). To get your license, you’ll need to pass this exam. However, the regulations do not indicate the minimum score required.

Taking this exam is relatively easy. You can get all the information on ASHA’s website, including study guides and the test-takers bulletin. To schedule the exam, you must apply through the ETS website. You may use any site in the country because the exam is the same regardless of location.

Besides the Praxis you’ll need to pass New Jersey’s Jurisprudence Orientation. This is a quick overview of practice-related laws in New Jersey. You’ll read the material, and then take a quick quiz at the end. The board will need to have on file that you have finished this before granting you a permanent license.

Background Checks

New Jersey requires that all applicants for a professional license be fingerprinted and pass a criminal record check. It’s unclear from the rules what specific arrests and convictions can result in license denial. Also, you can’t have the background check run in advance. That’s because the state won’t perform the check or the fingerprinting until after you’ve applied (see application phases and timelines). We’ll talk about that more in the next section.

SLP License Application Process

Unlike some states that ask you to hand over all the information and just wait, New Jersey has a handout regarding the phases of an SLP license application process. This helps to avoid confusion, and clarifies the various processing-related delays. However, the permanent licensure process, not the provisional one.

Phase 1

Phase 1 is simple — you fill out the application form to start the process. You can find a paper copy of the application and supporting documentation forms online, or you can sign up for the Department of Consumer Affairs online application portal. You should fill out the form, which includes questions about your criminal background and other regulatory questions regarding your ability to practice.

When you apply for the license, you must pay the licensing fees. Online applicants will pay through the portal using a debit or credit card. If you choose the paper route, you will write a check or money order to the State of New Jersey. The fees are $75 for the application, and $170 for the two-year licensing fee. Receipt of your application and fees starts phase 2.

Phase 2

During phase 2, you will be invited to complete the criminal background check process. This means getting fingerprinted and signing any necessary privacy disclosures. Then, you’ll wait up to three weeks to get the results. If you’re missing anything, the state will tell you at this point so that you can remedy the problem as quickly as possible. Also, any concerns from the criminal background check will be discussed at this point.

Phase 3

Finally, phase 3 is the review of your complete application materials. This typically takes just a few days, though you might not hear from the Board for a couple of weeks.

As part of your application process, you will submit supporting documentation that proves each of the licensing requirements have been met. That means you’ll have transcripts sent from your post-secondary schools, your Praxis results, and your experience documentation directly to the Board. They won’t accept any documentation directly from the applicant.

You will submit any supporting documentation for your license during phase 1. These include:

  • Transcripts from your educational programs, which go directly to the board.
  • Your Praxis scores are sent to the state by ETS.
  • Records of your clinical hours get reported by your supervisors or employers via paper copy and sent to the Board.

Ideally, you should arrange to have everything arrive at about the same time. That’s because evaluation of your application won’t happen until all supporting documents are received.