North Carolina Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: North Carolina Speech Therapy Licensure

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2024

Effective communication is crucial to living a fulfilling life, but unfortunately, some individuals struggle with speaking and processing language. These language obstacles can impede their ability to achieve their full potential and live their desired life. Fortunately, speech-language pathologists (SLP) work to address a range of these issues, including speech impediments, language comprehension difficulties, social skills development for those with developmental disabilities, cognitive disorders, and swallowing difficulties.

A career in speech-language pathology can be highly rewarding for those who enjoy working with people to help them improve their quality of life. First, however, you must obtain a state license or registration to practice as a speech-language pathologist. Like every other state, South Carolina has its regulations and requirement. Firstly, applicants must have a master’s degree from an accredited program, complete a supervised clinical fellowship, and pass an exam before they can apply for speech-language pathology licensure.

The licensing process ensures that speech-language pathologists meet high education, experience, and competency standards and assures the public that speech-language pathologists have undergone rigorous vetting. This North Carolina speech-language pathology licensure guide provides detailed information about the state’s requirements and process.

North Carolina Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Process

The North Carolina Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (NCBOESLPA) is responsible for issuing speech-language pathologist licenses in North Carolina. This Board is in charge of regulating the state’s rules and requirements and verifying licenses.

To become a speech-language pathologist in North Carolina, follow the guide below.

Education Requirements

To become a licensed SLP, the first step is to obtain a master’s degree in speech pathology or higher from an accredited program by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). While online programs offer flexibility and the convenience of completing clinical hours at home, in-state options often provide reduced tuition rates or state-sponsored scholarship opportunities. Here you will find listed all North Carolina speech pathology degree programs (you will need to sort by degree level to only list master’s programs).

You must have an outstanding academic record to be accepted into an SLP graduate program. Typically, meeting the admission requirements for speech-language pathology graduate programs requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, GRE scores at or above the 30th percentile, and submission of multiple academic references. Though having an undergraduate degree in speech-language pathology is not mandatory, completing certain prerequisites is necessary if you have not covered the basic fundamentals of speech therapy in your undergraduate courses.

These prerequisites generally include biological and physical sciences and social and behavioral sciences courses, and they usually include the following.

  • Acquisition of Development of Articulation
  • Anatomy of Speech and Hearing
  • Aural Rehabilitation
  • Language Development Across the Lifespan
  • Neurology of Speech
  • Phonetics
  • Speech Science

Advanced topics in speech-language pathology will be covered in the core courses, and they usually include the following:

  • Articulation Disorders
  • Brain, Language & Aphasia
  • Dysphagia
  • Language and Learning Disabilities
  • Language Disorders
  • Linguistic/Cognitive Disorders
  • Methods in SLP
  • Multicultural Communication Disorders
  • Voice Disorders

Elective courses typically focus on specific patient populations or communication disorders and may cover topics such as:

  • Alaryngeal Rehabilitation
  • Craniofacial Anomalies
  • Motor Speech Disorders
  • Professional Issues in SLP
  • Research in SLP
  • Stuttering

In North Carolina, as a graduate student, you must complete a minimum of 400 clock hours of practicum to qualify for speech-language pathology licensure. During this practicum, you must allocate at least 80 hours to treat adult patients with speech disorders and another 80 hours to treat children with speech disorders. Your practicum will be overseen by a licensed professional.

Experience Requirements

Upon completing your graduate programs, you must gain experience working in clinical settings under the guidance of a licensed and experienced speech therapist. This stage of professional development, which is focused on supervised clinical experience, is commonly referred to as a clinical fellowship. Upon graduation, one may apply for temporary licensure and embark on a supervised experience year (SEY).

The board terms this phase a supervised experience year. It must last at least nine months and can take up to 18 months. During this time, a licensed SLP in North Carolina will supervise you in a clinical setting, allowing you to learn the clinical and diagnostic procedures necessary for SLP practice. To fulfill your SEY, you can work full-time for nine months at 30 hours per week or part-time for 18 months with a minimum of 20 hours per week.

Your supervisor will assist you in creating a SEY plan that will outline the expected hours dedicated to diagnosis, assessment, evaluations, habilitation, screening, therapy, and rehabilitation, as well as staff meetings, counseling, and record keeping. It is important to note that you can only practice with a temporary license, which requires completing an application, including a $70 fee, an official graduate transcript, a verified practicum hour clock sheet signed by your supervisor, and your SEY plan.

Testing Requirements

To begin registration for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s licensure exam, the National Examination in Speech-Language Pathology is necessary. You can easily register for this exam through Praxis’ online platform. The test comprises 132 questions and is evaluated from 100 to 200, with a minimum passing score of 162. The exam will assess your knowledge of the topics covered in your core coursework, including foundations and professional practices, patient screening, assessment, evaluation, and diagnosis, as well as how to create effective treatment plans for patients.

Additionally, the exam will cover other relevant subject matter.

  • Feeding and swallowing disorders
  • Developing case histories
  • Selecting appropriate assessment procedures
  • Assessment of anatomy and physiology
  • Speech sound production
  • Voice, resonance, and motor speech
  • Cognitive aspects of communication
  • The etiology of communicative disorders

To better prepare for the exam, you can peruse the test topics and practice questions available in the Praxis Study Companion. Alternatively, you could purchase an interactive speech-language pathology practice test.

The exam is available at any Praxis test center located in the following cities:

  • Asheville
  • Boone
  • Cary
  • Charlotte
  • Cullowhee
  • Durham
  • Fayetteville
  • Greensboro
  • Greenville
  • Raleigh
  • Wilmington

Once you’ve completed the exam, the result usually takes approximately two weeks. You’re ready to become a licensed speech-language pathologist in North Carolina by meeting the required score.

Moreover, although not mandatory for licensure, you can opt for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathologists (CCC-SLP), which can boost your resume, especially if you plan to practice autonomously. To apply for the CCC-SLP, you must submit an official graduate transcript, evidence of completing a supervised experience year, and passing scores on the National Examination in Speech-Language Pathology.

Application Process

After passing the National SLP Exam, you can apply for an SLP licensure in North Carolina. To complete the process, you will be required to fill out an application form and provide the following documents:

  • Official graduate transcript
  • Verification of passing score on the Praxis exam.
  • Open book SLP quiz with 12 multiple choice questions covering the practice act for SLPs in North Carolina
  • Supervised Experience Year Report signed by your supervisor

To apply for the license, you must apply with all supporting documents and a non-refundable fee of $90. You can send the Application and documents to the board address: Greensboro, North Carolina 27416. P.O. Box 16885.

You can also apply online, which lets you upload the necessary documents and pay using a credit card or an electronic check.

Follow the steps below to apply for an SLP licensure online:

  • Go to the Board’s homepage
  • Select “Apply”
  • Choose “Initial Audiology/Speech Pathology Licensure.”
  • Click “Apply Online”
  • Enter the email address you want to use to set up your account
  • Set up three security questions and create a new password
  • Select the appropriate Application, fill it out, and follow the instructions
  • Choose your method of payment carefully, as it cannot be changed later
  • Check the box at the bottom of the payment page to create an account.
  • Click “Continue” to process your payment.

Keep in mind that submitting two applications with identical information may be perceived as fraudulent behavior by the board, which is prohibited under G.S. 90-302 Prohibited acts and practices (4) and (5). Once your license has been issued, you can view your information and access your license through the licensee portal.

To access a digital copy of your license, you can log in to your account and navigate to the “Certificate and Pocket Card” option on the left-hand menu. You can download the “Pocket Card,” your official license.

Endorsement for Speech-Language Pathologists to Work In School Settings

Schools provide a promising area of work for speech pathologists, given the increasing emphasis on early detection and diagnosis of speech, language, and swallowing disorders. This has led to a greater demand for speech pathologists in schools. Moreover, the rise in student enrollment will likely result in more demand for SLPs in schools. Nevertheless, most states, like North Carolina, require speech pathologists to hold a teaching certification in speech and language, ASHA, and state licensure to work in a school environment.

To work in a school setting in North Carolina, a speech-language pathologist must possess a State license from the board. Once you have obtained this license, you can apply to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Licensure Section.

The following documents must be provided to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Licensure Section:

  • Form V for degrees issued at the Advanced level or higher
  • Copy of your current NCBOESLPA license
  • All official transcripts showing the date of your bachelor’s degree
  • Form E if you have teaching experience credit
  • Form R.N. and N.E. if you have non-teaching experience credit and have been recommended by an employing N.C. public school system.

Furthermore, to comply with the regulations of NCBOESLPA, you must complete 30 hours of continuing education every three years. ASHA or the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction must sponsor these educational programs. Alternatively, you may opt for other courses deemed equivalent to those offered by either of these organizations, as approved by the Board.