New York Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: New York Speech Therapy Licensure

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2024

Do you love working with children who can’t stop stuttering? How about adults who have trouble communicating? Or perhaps, patients who have trouble swallowing? This, and more, is the job of a speech-language pathologist. Known as SLPs for short, these professionals work with people of all ages who have trouble speaking, communicating, forming language, or swallowing. Depending on a patient’s therapeutic needs, the goal is to improve their function in these areas or even to ameliorate the condition permanently.

Unsurprisingly, the State of New York requires these highly-qualified professionals to have a license and registration. Not only does this protect the public from potential imposters, but it also ensures high-quality medical treatment for everyone who needs it. And like many other things in medicine, unqualified care can significantly harm the patient in addition to costing them money.

With that said, being a speech-language pathologist is a very satisfying career where you can help a lot of people. You can have a patient start out barely being able to speak or struggling to eat and leave them functioning at their best. If this sounds like your cup of tea, read on. We’ll discuss the process to become licensed in New York State, both for people who have never held an SLP license and those who want to move their practice to New York.

New York Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Process

New York has strict laws on who can practice as an SLP. While some regulations surrounding licensure and professional practice are found in other places, the biggest blocks of regulation are found in New York’s education laws. Specifically, Article 159 of the Licensed Professions Code and Section 75 of the Education Code spell out the need for a license and the criteria to obtain one. Later on, we’ll also talk about the licensure process itself.

In New York, regulations talk about a speech-language pathologist license and also about registration. Except for provisional licenses granted to SLP students completing their experience hours, you only obtain a professional SLP New York State license once. However, you renew the registration every three years. For the purposes of this guide, we will talk about renewing a license. The two appear to be different only administratively.

Speech-Language Pathology Assistants

Many states have a practice category called a speech-language pathology assistant. Generally, these assistants help SLPs with service delivery to help boost patient capacity and reduce the cost of care. However, this profession is not allowed in New York State. Only licensed SLPs can deliver therapy services, although they have receptionists and other support staff.

Education Requirements

Like most other states, New York requires that a speech-language pathologist have a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology. Sometimes, you will hear this referred to as a degree in communication disorders, though this is less common. The administrative code specifies that the degree program must either be approved by the Board of Education or be accredited by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA).

As part of your Master’s degree, there are many requirements for specific classes, curriculum components, and practical experience. You will need to meet each of these not only to graduate, but to obtain your license.


The first coursework category is what the State calls “human communication processes and sciences”. This consists of 12 semester hours which must include anatomy and physiology courses, the cognitive and linguistic aspects of language, and the neurology behind speech, language, hearing, and swallowing. In other words, you have to study how these functions normally take place in the human population.

Next, you need 36 semester hours of coursework on professional practice areas. Here, you learn how to treat the different disorders that occur within the context of speech-language pathology. Note that even if you don’t want to be an audiologist, you still need to cover hearing issues. Remember, people who have trouble hearing can also struggle in other areas of language.

Finally, you take another 27 semester hours of distribution requirements. You can take extra courses in the categories mentioned above, but also in related fields. For instance, you might study the intersection between psychology and language difficulties, research methods, certain head and neck abnormalities, and professional issues. The variety of approved topics lets you get a well-rounded education and explore the areas of speech pathology that you’re most interested in.

When you add up the credit hours required, you’ll get 75. Not all of those credit hours must be completed at the graduate level. Only 36 semester hours must be post-bachelor degree. Practically speaking, this means that you can take a lot of those classes with a major in communications disorders during your college years. However, you can still take most of these classes at a higher level, especially if you majored in something else.


Besides the plethora of coursework, you also need some practicum hours both for graduation and for licensure. Specifically, New York requires a minimum of 400 clock hours of experience before graduation. At least 375 of these hours must be spent in direct contact with people who suffer from communications or swallowing disorders. Another 25 hours are spent observing SLPs in the clinical environment. Finally, if you have any undergraduate-level practicum time, you can only transfer 75 of them to your master’s.

As you can see, there’s a lot of coursework required to become a speech-language pathologist. However, the distribution of courses lets you learn about different areas of your chosen profession and prepares you for the clinical experience segment of training.

When you look for the right SLP program, be sure to look at the prerequisites. Especially if you have a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders, you may be able to get advanced standing. In addition, you should choose a program that best suits your lifestyle, such as those offering night classes for busy professionals.

Experience Requirements

Besides your Master’s degree in speech-language pathology, the State of New York has extensive experience requirements. In most cases, you must finish your degree before you can start gaining clinical experience. Fortunately, you will get experience by working for an employer under the supervision of a licensed SLP. Let’s look into this requirement more closely.

Perhaps the most important point to mention here is that you are not required to have a license while earning these clinical hours. In fact, there’s a carveout in Article 159 that exempts both pre-degree practicum students and post-graduate trainees from having a license. However, in some situations, your employer might ask you to get a temporary license. These are normally used for insurance billing purposes, and they’re only good for one year at a time.

Whether you get a temporary license or not, you’ll need the same amount of experience before you can get a permanent license.

Part 75 of the Department of Education regulations lays out the experience requirements for full licensure as an SLP. Briefly, the state requires 36 weeks of supervised experience. The experience must be accrued over four years and cannot start until you’ve graduated from your SLP program. Each week must be at least 35 clock hours long. Part-time work is allowed, but for a longer period of time and with a minimum of 12 hours a week.

Job hopping isn’t allowed. That’s because you are limited to two employers during this timeframe, and you must work for at least six months at a time. The state helpfully points out that 35 weeks is roughly a school year, and 12 weeks is about a semester. Also, any breaks such as maternity leave or vacation do not count toward your total.

Finally, you’ll need an authorized supervisor. These include anyone with a valid New York license, an out-of-state license, or board certification from ASHA. Your supervisor will review everything that you do in clinic, including treat medical plans and case management.

When you apply for your license, the Office of Licensed Professions will review your experience carefully to ensure that you have adequate experience and understanding of the profession.

Testing Requirements

The standardized test for SLP is the Praxis Examination 5331, also known as a Praxis II exam in SLP. Scores range from 100 to 200, and you’ll need a score of 162 to get your license.

This licensure test is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), but it is designed and revised by ASHA. Therefore, ASHA has records of Praxis long after ETS has destroyed theirs.

You can get information about the praxis exam from ASHA here, and from ETS on their website.

Background Checks

New York does not require a background check to get an SLP license. However, you are expected to abide by the principles of practice and ethical standards. You may also have employer-based background requirements to consider Later.

Application Process

Applying for your license in New York is relatively straightforward. To begin, you’ll need the contact information for your practicum sites, supervised experience employers, and educational institutions. When you have that information, you will navigate to the Office of Professions’ online SLP license application. Fill out the form, and then upload any documentation that they can receive from you. However, most SLP-specific forms must be sent directly from their sources. For instance, your school will need to send your transcript, ETS your Praxis scores, and your supervisor an attestation of the experience.

Most documentation must be sent directly to the Office of Licensed Professions. You can find a copy of all the needed forms on the licensure page linked above.

When you submit your application, you’ll pay $294 by credit card. This covers both your license and initial registration fees.

Unfortunately, it’s unclear how long it takes to process a license application. However, the board advises applicants to wait at least six weeks from the receipt of all licensure materials before contacting them to check up on your application. If you feel the need to contact them, you’ll have to fill out the contact web form.