Rhode Island Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Rhode Island Speech Therapist Certification

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2024

Speech-language pathologists (SLP), also known as speech therapists, evaluate, diagnose, treat, and prevent speech, language, voice, cognitive communication, swallowing, and fluency disorders in individuals of all ages. They work with people with difficulties producing speech sounds or clearly and those with speech rhythm and fluency issues such as stuttering or slurred speech.

They also work with people with voice disorders, language comprehension, and expression issues, and cognitive communication impairments resulting from stroke, brain injury, memory, attention, and problem-solving difficulties. They may work in various research, education, and healthcare settings, collaborating with other professionals like teachers, social workers, audiologists, physicians, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and rehabilitation counselors.

In Rhode Island, practicing speech-language pathology without a license is illegal. To become a speech-language pathologist in Rhode Island, you must obtain a license in the state, which involves meeting education and supervised experience requirements and passing an examination. The licensure process helps to establish and maintain high standards for speech-language pathology practice and assures the public that these professionals have undergone a thorough vetting process.

To pursue a career as a speech-language pathologist in Rhode Island, knowing the educational and work experience prerequisites, application procedure, fees, and other relevant information and resources is crucial. This guide offers comprehensive information about the licensure process for Speech-Language Pathology in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Initial Speech Pathology Licensure Process

The Rhode Island Department of Health oversees licensures for speech-language pathology in the state. Becoming licensed as a speech-language pathologist requires you to fulfill several requirements, including earning a master’s degree in the field, passing a national SLP examination, and completing a clinical fellowship. Once these requirements are met, you can apply for an SLP licensure in Rhode Island. Generally, this process takes approximately four to six weeks to complete.

Education Requirements

To ensure accreditation by the American Speech-Hearing-Language Association (ASHA), it is necessary to select a graduate program (learn about Master’s degree programs in speech pathology). This can be accomplished through various online offerings or by selecting an accredited institution in your state.

Choosing an online program has benefits, including greater flexibility and a more extensive array of options. For instance, if you enroll in an online master’s program, you can take advantage of interactive problem modules, participate in instructor-led discussions, and watch filmed lectures while gaining practical clinical experience at nearby clinics.

Whether you choose an online or traditional program, admission to speech-language pathology graduate programs is highly competitive and selective. Admissions departments generally seek applicants who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the field of speech-language pathology. Among the key factors that they look for are the following:

  • Academic references
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • GRE scores in the 30th percentile

To be eligible, you must finish prerequisite courses covering communicative science and disorders unless you hold a bachelor’s degree.

  • Anatomy & Physiology of Speech
  • Intro to Audiology
  • Intro to Clinical Methods
  • Language Development Across the Lifespan
  • Neuroanatomy of Speech
  • Speech Science

Certain graduate programs provide prerequisite courses that can be completed before starting graduate-level coursework. However, possessing a bachelor’s degree in the relevant field allows you to commence the core coursework without taking the bridge courses. The core curriculum will cover the following subjects:

  • Audiology for Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Communicative Disorders
  • Disorders of Fluency
  • Dysphagia
  • Language Disorders in Developmentally Young Children
  • Language Disorders in School-Aged Children
  • Phonological Disorders
  • Research in Communicative Disorders
  • Tests and Measurement in Speech Pathology
  • Voice Disorders

You must also take elective courses as part of your program requirements. These courses may cover a range of topics, such as:

  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders
  • Counseling in Communicative Disorders
  • Instrumentation and Computer Use in Communicative Disorders
  • Language Disorders in Infants and Toddlers
  • Medical Speech-Language Pathology
  • Multisensory Instruction in Language and Literacy
  • Special Problems in SLP

You will also need to undertake a clinical practicum with at least 400 clock hours during your final year of study. The practicum will start by observing clinical work and shadowing for 25 hours. After that, the remaining hours will be devoted to direct client interaction under supervision.

The objectives of the practicum include the following:

  • Complete administrative tasks
  • Diagnose and treat clients
  • Acquire hands-on experience by working with diverse patient groups.
  • Screen and assess clients

Experience Requirements

Once you have graduated, you must obtain a provisional license from the board. This will involve printing and completing the application for the provisional license. Along with the application, you will need to provide the following:

In addition, the following documents must accompany the application:

  • A fee of $65
  • An official transcript of your graduate studies
  • Evidence of your practicum hours

Once you have gathered all the necessary paperwork, you must send the application to the Board of Examiners of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the Rhode Island Department of Health. The mailing address is Room 104, 3 Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908-5097.

Generally, the Board takes one to two weeks to respond, after which you may commence your clinical internship. Make sure to renew your provisional license yearly, as it will expire within 90 days after completing your clinical internship. Afterward, you can approach your university’s program director or search online for clinical internship opportunities.

During your clinical internship, you’ll acquire hands-on experience working with various types of patients, including children, adults, and individuals with special needs who have a range of disorders. With guidance from your supervisor, you’ll carry out supervised activities that involve evaluating, screening, diagnosing, rehabilitating, and habilitating patients based on the treatment plans you develop.

Your clinical internship must consist of at least 1,026 hours. After finishing, you must work with your supervisor to finalize the Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form. Subsequently, you must mail the form to:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard #313, Rockville
Maryland, 20850

Testing Requirements

After finishing your clinical internship, you must enroll for the National Examination in Speech and Language Pathology administered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. To be eligible for registration, you must provide evidence of completing a clinical practicum, a clinical internship, and a graduate program.

The Speech-Language Pathology Study Companion provides an overview of the exam’s subject matter and sample questions. To pass the test, you must score at least 162 out of 200.

The exam consists of three segments:

  • Foundations and Professional Practice
  • Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Treatment
  • Screening, Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis

In these sections, you will respond to inquiries about the subsequent subjects:

  • Augmentative and alternative communication
  • Cognitive aspects of communication
  • Feeding and swallowing
  • Fluency
  • Hearing
  • Receptive and expressive language
  • Social aspects of communication, including pragmatics
  • Speech sound production
  • Voice, resonance, and motor speech

One of the following cities in Rhode Island will have a Praxis test center where you can take the exam.

  • Cumberland
  • Providence
  • Warwick

Passing the exam successfully is mandatory to acquire the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) from ASHA. This will entail completing the application process, which involves providing an official graduate transcript and filling out the Application for the CCC-SLP. Additionally, the application requires the clinical practicum director’s signature to verify that you have completed a clinical practicum as part of your graduate program. Finally, you will need to submit some additional documentation.

  • Passing score from the Praxis exam
  • CF Rating and Report Form

The application and accompanying documents can be sent by mail to the following address:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard #313, Rockville
Maryland, 20850

ASHA typically takes approximately six weeks to respond to your application. Once you have obtained certification, you may proceed to the next phase.

Application Process

Once you have successfully passed the Praxis exam and obtained your CCC-SLP credential, you meet the requirements to apply for an SLP license. To apply for licensure as a speech-language pathologist, you must use the form provided by the Board.

To obtain licensure in speech-language pathology in Rhode Island, you must submit all supporting documents and a non-refundable fee of $145 when you apply for the license. The prerequisites for obtaining licensure are as follows:

  • Demonstrate good moral character
  • Submit an application form provided by the department
  • Provide an official transcript that confirms you have a master’s or doctoral degree in speech-language pathology from an educational institution that is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) or another board-approved national accrediting association.
  • Successfully fulfill supervised clinical practicum requirements through an accredited educational institution or its affiliated programs.
  • Meet the national examination standards in speech-language pathology, as mandated by ASHA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency.
  • Provide proof of a clinical competence certificate issued by ASHA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency.

To apply for a speech and language therapy license in Rhode Island, you may send your application to the Board of Examiners of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the following address:

Rhode Island Department of Health Board of Examiners of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Room 104
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908-5097

Once you submit your application, it usually takes four to six weeks to receive your license. This waiting time is similar to other speech and language therapy licenses issued in the United States.

Endorsement For Speech-Language Pathologists To Work In School Settings

A speech-language pathologist based in schools specializes in treating speech and language disorders in children. Speech-language pathologists evaluate students for speech, language, and swallowing difficulties and create personalized treatment plans for those in need. Collaboration with teachers, staff, and parents is an integral part of their work to support the student.

SLPs work with individual students or small groups, assisting with speech impediments, including dyslexia, stuttering, or a lisp. They also assist students in adjusting their speech patterns after dental work or overcoming challenges caused by an overbite or underbite.

Speech-language pathologists play a crucial role in helping students achieve academic success. ASHA highlights the importance of preventing academic failure in students with communication disorders. SLPs collect and analyze data to make informed decisions regarding treatment plans.

However, most states, like Rhode Island, require speech-language pathologists to meet certain requirements before working in a school environment. In order to obtain a certificate in SLP and be able to work in school settings, all of the following requirements must be fulfilled by the applicant:

  • Obtaining a Bachelor’s and an advanced degree from an institution accredited by the regional authority
  • Showing expertise in fulfilling the Content Competencies outlined by ASHA.
  • Achieving a minimum score of 162 on the Praxis exam for speech-language pathologists.
  • If the language used for instruction by the applicant was not English, they need to obtain a minimum score of 64 in the Versant Pro Speaking and Writing English tests to pass.

If you do not meet the requirements for professional certification but wish to work in a particular school district in Rhode Island. In that case, they may be issued a one-year emergency permit. The local school superintendent can request this permit, provided they can provide proof that only partially certified educators are available for the job.