North Dakota Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: North Dakota Speech Therapy Licensure

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2024

Communication is a fundamental aspect of human connection that enables us to express ourselves, build relationships, and lead fulfilling lives. However, some people face communication challenges due to physical, mental, or developmental difficulties, injuries, or a combination thereof. For instance, patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s may struggle with speaking and swallowing, leading to insecurity and isolation.

Regardless of the cause, communication difficulties significantly impact how people interact with society. This is where speech-language pathologists (SLP) can help, and the demand for their services is growing rapidly. These professionals have been specially trained to diagnose, assess and treat speech, language, and communication disorders, working with people of all ages and abilities to help them find their voice.

For those interested in pursuing a career in speech-language pathology, it’s crucial to understand the necessary steps involved. In North Dakota, individuals can pursue various speech-language pathology positions. The state has the third-highest concentration of such jobs nationwide, including roles in clinics, hospitals, and schools.

However, to practice speech-language pathology in the state, you must be licensed by the North Dakota State Board of Examiners on Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (NDSLHA). If you’re seeking a speech pathology licensure in North Dakota, you must fulfill specific requirements. This guide offers information for individuals interested in becoming speech-language pathologists. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the licensure process for Speech-Language Pathology in North Dakota.

North Dakota Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Process

The objective of the Board is to ensure that the credentials and prerequisites necessary for practicing Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology in North Dakota are duly examined and approved.

Follow the steps below to obtain your SLP license through the North Dakota State Board of Examiners on Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology:

Education Requirements

To obtain a license in speech-language pathology, your first step is to complete a master’s degree in speech pathology from an accredited graduate program recognized by ASHA. Several options are available to you, including numerous online programs and two accredited in-state programs. Opting for a traditional in-state program may provide the chance to receive scholarships from state organizations like the NDSLHA. On the other hand, working students often prefer to pursue online master’s degrees in speech pathology as they tend to be more accommodating to their schedules. Here you will find all available North Dakota speech pathology degree programs.

Generally, to be admitted into a master’s program, you will require the following:

  • A 3.0 GPA or higher in your undergraduate studies
  • A resume detailing your experience
  • GRE scores
  • Two letters of academic reference

You must fulfill certain prerequisites if you do not possess a degree in communication sciences and disorders. These prerequisites are intended to provide a foundation for the field and generally encompass the following:

  • Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Language
  • Early Intervention & Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Intro to Audiology
  • Intro to Speech Language Pathology
  • Science of Language

Once you have finished the necessary prerequisites, you will commence with the core coursework.

  • Advanced Topics in Speech-Language Pathology
  • Fluency Disorders
  • Neurogenic Communication Disorders
  • Neurologically Based Speech Disorders
  • Applied Phonology
  • Assessment in Speech-Language Pathology
  • Voice and Resonance Disorders

As part of your SLP program, you will also take elective courses that typically focus on a specific area of specialization, such as working with children, adults, or patients with special needs, or in areas like fluency or the treatment of individuals with brain injuries. Some examples of these courses may include:

  • Adolescent Communication
  • Audiology for the SLP
  • Dysphagia Treatment
  • Language and Literacy
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Public Schools Methods in SLP
  • Supervision and Professional Issues in SLP

To earn your degree, you must fulfill a practicum requirement, which typically lasts around 400 clock hours. Initially, you will observe a licensed SLP in a clinical environment and, eventually, progress to carrying out tasks with clients while being supervised. This hands-on experience will teach you how to assess, evaluate, and diagnose patients and familiarize you with SLP treatment methods.

If you’re a graduate student studying in North Dakota, it’s advisable to establish a connection with NDSLHA. This organization provides scholarship opportunities to graduate students, keeps SLPs updated on legislative matters, and arranges ongoing educational programs. In the past, the NDSLHA has conducted several educational activities, such as identifying social skill/pragmatic weaknesses in patients and addressing them, analyzing reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension as part of language comprehension, and treating speech sound disorders in toddlers and infants.

Experience Requirement

You don’t need professional experience and clinical fellowship to obtain licensure in Speech-Language Pathology in North Dakota. Instead, the state requires individuals to have completed a master’s or doctoral degree in the field from an accredited institution, as well as pass a national examination. This allows individuals to enter the field of Speech-Language Pathology without prior professional experience but with the necessary education and training to provide effective patient care.

While professional experience can be valuable, it is not a mandatory requirement for SLP licensure in North Dakota. However, many employers may prefer candidates with some professional experience. Therefore, gaining practical experience through internships, volunteer work, or part-time positions is always beneficial to increase competitiveness in the job market.

Testing Requirements

Aspiring speech-language pathologists in North Dakota must pass the ASHA Examination in Speech-Language Pathology, which can be registered online via Praxis, a third-party administrator. The National Exam consists of 132 questions; a minimum score of 162 out of 200 is required to pass.

The exam assesses fundamental areas of speech-language pathology, including patient screening, professional practice foundations, assessment, diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment planning. Additional topics that will be covered on the exam include:

  • Communicating recommendations
  • Determining appropriate treatment details
  • Establishing methods for monitoring treatment profess and outcomes
  • Evaluating factors that can affect treatment
  • Fluency
  • General treatment principles and procedures
  • Generating a prognosis
  • Initiating and prioritizing treatment and developing goals
  • Receptive and expressive language
  • Social aspects of communication
  • Speech sound production
  • Voice, resonance, and motor speech

To prepare for the test, you may check the Praxis Study Companion. Additionally, Praxis test centers are available in various cities throughout North Dakota, including:

  • Bismarck
  • Dickinson
  • Fargo
  • Grand Forks
  • Minot

Upon passing the examination, obtaining the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) may be worth considering. The certificate is offered by the ASHA.  It is often required by many clinics for senior SLP positions or supervising SLP students during practicum hours. It can also be useful if you plan to establish an independent practice. To apply, you can go through ASHA.

To earn the CCC-SLP, you must complete a clinical fellowship that lasts at least nine months. This fellowship is intended to provide you with professional experience by working with different client populations. You can find opportunities to complete your clinical fellowship by partnering with an SLP clinic in your local area.

The CCC-SLP certification demonstrates to employers, clients, state-licensing boards, and colleagues that you possess the necessary skills and knowledge as an SLP.  In addition, the obligation to engage in continuous professional development initiatives as a prerequisite for retaining certification demonstrates your dedication to keeping abreast of the latest advancements in the industry.

Furthermore, the CCC-SLP certification assures your employer that Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurers will reimburse your services. These entities often base their reimbursement requirements for Clinical Competence on ASHA’s Standards.

Application Process

After passing the national exam, you can seek a North Dakota SLP license from the North Dakota State Board of Examiners on Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.

To apply for SLP licensing through the North Dakota SLP board, you need to provide the following documents and fees:

  • Official graduate and undergraduate transcripts are sent directly from your educational institution to the board office (by mail or email).
  • Proof of passing PRAXIS test score. Alternatively, you can upload proof of current ASHA certification if you need documentation of passing PRAXIS.
  • Payment of the current licensing fee of $250.00 and an application fee of $100.00, totaling $350.00.

To submit your application, send it by mail to the following address:

Beverly Solseng, Executive Secretary
North Dakota State Board of Examiners on Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
PO Box 5143
Grand Forks, ND 58206

Once you submit your completed application, along with the required supporting documents and payment, the North Dakota State Board of Examiners on Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology will initiate the process immediately. However, if your application still needs to be completed, it will be returned with a request to fill in any information that needs to be included. Similarly, if any supporting documents or payment is missing, the board will notify you and hold your application until completion.

Once a complete application is submitted, it undergoes a thorough review by the Board to determine whether your licensing request should be approved or denied. Following the review, a Board member will decide, and the support staff will contact you to inform you of the outcome.

Endorsement for Speech-Language Pathologists to Work In School Settings

The inability to communicate effectively during primary education can lead to lifelong learning difficulties. As a result, schools are a natural setting for Speech-Language Pathologists to play a crucial role in elementary and secondary school reform efforts by assisting students with various speech and language issues in achieving performance standards.

Their responsibilities include prevention, intervention, evaluation, and program development, all integrated within the school system. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 40% of SLPs work in schools, while ASHA estimates that over 50% of SLPs operate in educational environments.

However, to work as a speech-language pathologist in public schools in North Dakota, you must hold either a State Board of Examiners license or a Restricted Educator’s Professional license from the Education Standards and Practices Board. It’s also possible to hold both licenses.

People who possess a master’s degree in speech-language pathology or communication disorders, have completed one hundred hours of school-based practicum, and graduated from a program accredited by the council on academic accreditation of the American speech and hearing association, are eligible to receive a Restricted License in speech-language pathology. This license is valid for two years.