Rhode Island Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Rhode Island SLPA Certification

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2024

Speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs) are crucial in helping certified speech-language pathologists (SLPs) treat individuals of all ages who experience communication disorders. Communication disorders can impact anyone, regardless of age, and may arise from birth or due to accidents or illnesses.

These professionals work in various settings such as schools, hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities, and homes. SLPAs work under the supervision of SLPs to improve the quality of life of those they serve by minimizing the impact of communication disorders, enhancing functional communication, and improving cognitive skills, leading to increased independence in daily activities.

For those interested in pursuing a career in speech-language pathology in Rhode Island, it is important to note that licensure is required to practice in the state. This guide equips you with essential details you need to know about getting licensure for speech-language pathology assistants in Rhode Island.

Initial Speech Pathology Assistant Licensure Process

The Rhode Island Department of Health is responsible for issuing licenses for speech pathologists and audiologist assistants in the state. Below is the process for obtaining an initial speech pathology assistant licensure.

Education Requirements

Before you can practice as a speech-language pathology assistant in Rhode Island, you must meet certain educational requirements. These requirements include holding a bachelor’s degree and completing at least 18 hours of specified graduate credits. Speech-language pathology assistants are required to complete 25% of the practicum hours that ASHA requires for professional personnel. In addition, they must register with the State Board of Examiners for Speech Pathology and Audiology within 30 days of starting work.

Experience Requirements

The SLPA must have a certain level of experience in addition to meeting the education requirement. Specifically, the initial 10 hours of direct client contact must be observed on-site for speech-language pathology assistants, along with 10% of clinical sessions after the first 10 hours for every 40 consecutive hours worked. In addition, it is required that 10% of every 40 consecutive hours worked by speech-language support personnel be supervised indirectly.

It should be emphasized that licensed speech-language pathologists direct and supervise such personnel. The supervising speech-language pathologist must have actively worked in the field for at least 24 months after completing their postgraduate professional experience and must take responsibility for the performance and actions of the speech-language pathology assistant.

Moreover, supervising speech-language pathologists must adhere to all provisions of the ASHA policy related to SLPAs unless they are specifically addressed in these provisions.

Testing Requirements

Upon completing education and training, you must apply for the Speech-Language Pathology Assistants Certification (C-SLPA) offered by ASHA to establish competency and knowledge standards for speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs) assistants. The exam evaluates their understanding of the scope of their role, supervision requirements, and fundamental tasks. Those who pass the exam are awarded the C-SLPA or C-AA credential, certifying them as ASHA-certified assistants in speech-language pathology.

To be eligible for the certification exam, applicants must submit their application and necessary documentation for approval and pay an initial certification fee of $249. This fee covers the assistant certification examination expenses and one year of affiliation fees. The Prometric administers the certification exam for speech-language pathology assistants on behalf of ASHA. It is available for testing at various centers across the United States or online with live proctoring. The exam comprises 100 multiple-choice questions developed by industry experts such as speech-language pathologists, audiologists, educators, and speech-language pathologist assistants.

To obtain the SLPA credential, candidates must achieve a minimum score of 162 on the certification exam. Applicants are recommended to review exam materials and use available exam resources for SLPAs to prepare for the exam and familiarize themselves with the content and format. Then, based on their knowledge of each topic area, they can create a study plan to increase their chances of success.

Application Process

All speech-language support assistants must register with the Board within thirty (30) days of starting work. Failure to do so will result in a late filing fee of fifty dollars ($50.00), which will be charged to the supervising audiologist or speech-language pathologist, as appropriate. Additionally, all currently employed speech-language support personnel must register with the Board within thirty (30) days of the effective date of these regulations.

To apply for registration, individuals must complete a form provided by the Board. This form is available at the Rhode Island Department of Health Health Professions Regulation, Room 104, Three Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908. Alternatively, you may call 401.222.2827 to request a copy of the form.

Endorsement for Speech-Language Pathologists to Work In School Settings

The Department of Education does not regulate speech-language pathology assistants in Rhode Island schools but must adhere to the Department of Health’s guidelines.

According to the Department of Health, an individual seeking certification in Speech and Language Pathology must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Hold a Bachelor’s and advanced degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Complete an approved program for speech and language pathologist support professionals.
  • Demonstrate competence in the Content Competencies specified by ASHA.
  • Achieve a score of at least 162 on the Praxis test for SLPAs
  • Applicants who did not receive English language instruction during their program must achieve a minimum score of 64 on the Versant language test.