South Carolina Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: South Carolina Speech Therapist Certification

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2024

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) is a clinical therapist who specializes in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating disorders that impact linguistic behavior, communication, or swallowing. In addition, they provide preventative therapies for language impairments in early childhood and corrective techniques to address communication problems related to physical, social, or cognitive health.

These professionals can be found in various settings, including hospitals, private practice, college/university speech pathology clinics, public school systems, and nursing homes. While each setting may have professional guidelines, most speech-language pathologists have similar daily responsibilities.

However, you must get a SLP license in South Carolina to practice as a speech-language pathologist in the state. Licensure is crucial for speech-language pathologists for various reasons. To begin with, licensure guarantees that SLPs have completed the necessary education and training and have the abilities and knowledge to practice safely and effectively. Licensure also guarantees the protection of the public by ensuring that SLPs comply with professional practice standards and established ethics,  thus ensuring that clients receive exceptional care and are shielded from unqualified or unscrupulous professionals.

Moreover, licensure can benefit SLPs with greater professional recognition and mobility. By obtaining a license, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) can prove to potential employers and clients that they have attained a certain level of competence and met particular standards set by regulatory bodies and professional organizations.

This guide provides detailed information about South Carolina’s speech-language pathology licensure requirements and process.

Initial South Carolina Speech Pathologist Licensure Process

The SC Board of Examiners in South Carolina is responsible for licensing, overseeing, regulating, and educating speech-language pathologists and audiologists to guarantee their competence and safety in their professional practice. To obtain a license as a speech-language pathologist in South Carolina, you must comply with these guidelines outlined by the board.

Education Requirements

To obtain a license as an SLP in South Carolina, you must hold a minimum of a master’s degree in speech-language pathology or communication sciences and disorders from a university accredited by ASHA. The CAA also accredits various online SLP programs, which provide an excellent alternative for working adults with family obligations, busy professional schedules, or scheduling conflicts in addition to traditional on-campus programs.

Undergraduate Requirements

A bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology or communication sciences and disorders is optional for prospective students applying to certain graduate programs. Even if you have a bachelor’s degree in a different field, you may still be eligible to enroll in such programs. In this case, you may be required to complete certain prerequisite courses online at the start of your program to ensure a solid foundation for graduate studies in speech-language pathology.

Generally, before progressing to graduate-level coursework, undergraduate students are usually required to fulfill prerequisites consisting of 14-18 credits in:

  • Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech Mechanism
  • Aural Rehabilitation
  • Diagnostic Audiology
  • Introduction to Communication Disorders
  • Language Acquisition
  • Phonetics

Graduate Courses and Clinical Practicum

An SLP master’s degree program will cover various topics, some of which are likely to include:

  • Articulation Disorders
  • Child Language Disorders
  • Communication Problems in Aging
  • Disorders of Phonation
  • Speech and Hearing Science
  • Stuttering

To fulfill your master’s program requirements, you must undertake a clinical practicum of no less than 400 hours while supervised by a speech-language pathologist.

Experience Requirements

After getting your master’s degree, you must fulfill a minimum of 9 months of supervised professional employment (SPE), also known as a clinical fellowship. During this period, you will work alongside a licensed speech-language pathologist and meet one of the following work criteria:

  • 30 hours a week for 9 months
  • 25-29 hours a week for 12 months
  • 20-24 hours a week for 15 months
  • 15-19 hours a week for 18 months
  • Working less than 15 hours a week will not count toward the total

A clinical fellowship is a period of paid training to offer extensive clinical experience in a specific field and practice environment that corresponds with your interests. So, it is advisable to allocate ample time to finding a suitable sponsor since this experience can result in full-time employment following your licensure.

To initiate your SPE, you must obtain an intern license from the Board. To complete this process, you must submit the Application for Speech Intern License along with proof of completing your graduate program. The intern license remains valid for a year and can be renewed once.

During your SPE, you will gain practical experience as a speech-language pathologist. ASHA has developed an SLP Scope of Practice that defines the duties of an SLP and the decision-making criteria they use. In addition, you will hone your management and leadership abilities, offer recommendations for preventive care and wellness, and perform treatment procedures. Complete the SLP Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form when your SPE concludes.

Testing Requirements

Upon finishing your clinical fellowship, you can sit for the national SLP exam, which Praxis administers. Successfully passing this exam marks the final stage in the licensing procedure to become a licensed SLP in South Carolina.

To take the SLP exam, you must first complete the registration process. Detailed instructions for registration can be found on the registration page. Additionally, you can locate test centers in:

  • Beaufort
  • Charleston
  • Columbia
  • Conway
  • Florence
  • Gaffney
  • Greenville
  • Rock Hill

The exam consists of 132 questions and has a time limit of 150 minutes. Praxis has created study materials that you can use to prepare for the exam. The following are some of the topics that the exam covers:

  • Foundations and Professional Practice
  • Characteristics of common communication and swallowing disorders
  • Culturally and linguistically appropriate service delivery
  • Factors that influence communication, swallowing, and feeding
  • Typical human development and performance across the lifespan
  • Screening, Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis
  • Factors influencing communication and swallowing disorders are assessed
  • Assessing fluency issues and sound speech production
  • Developing case histories
  • Screening for communication, feeding, and swallowing disorders
  • Social aspects of communication
  • Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Treatment
  • Determining proper treatment details
  • Establishing methods for monitoring treatment progress
  • Evaluating Factors that can affect treatment
  • Treatment of communication, feeding, and swallowing disorders

A score of 162 is required on a 100-200 scale to pass the exam.

Optional Certificate of Clinical Competency in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) National Certification

By obtaining a passing score, you have the option to pursue CCC-SLP, a national certification that is voluntary. The application process involves submitting the Application for the CCC-SLP, along with your graduate program transcript, test scores indicating your passing status, and the Clinical Fellowship Report form you completed during your clinical fellowship.

Even though CCC-SLP is not mandatory for state licensure, numerous SLPs in South Carolina benefit from it when looking for jobs or career advancement. Alternatively, consider ASHA’s specialty certification options, which showcase your proficiency in a specific area of speech-language pathology. The available certifications are:

  • Child language disorders
  • Fluency disorders
  • Swallowing disorders

For further information regarding these certifications, refer to ASHA’s page on Clinical Specialty Certification.

Application Process

You must complete the Application for Initial License to obtain your SLP license in South Dakota. You have two options for submitting it: either attach it to the online application under the “Uploads” section or mail it to the Board. If you are a first-time applicant, you can use the electronic application to upload the necessary documentation and pay using a credit card or electronic check.

If you currently possess the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence, you only need to submit and complete the 1-3 requirements listed below. However, individuals who do not currently possess this certificate must ensure that all items are completed and submitted:

  • To process your application as a speech-language pathologist, you must submit a fully completed and notarized application along with a $220 application fee (non-refundable). Only complete applications will be processed.
  • You must verify your current CCC-SLP certificate from ASHA. ASHA must send the verification to the SC Board of Examiners office directly through the mail, and photocopies will not be acknowledged.
  • Official transcripts must be submitted. The transcripts should have the institution’s seal and the Registrar’s signature.
  • Written verification is required to confirm completing 350 clock hours of supervised, direct clinical experience working with individuals with different communication disorders. The verification must be submitted with the initial application.
  • Obtain written confirmation from employers or supervisors verifying nine months of full-time professional employment relevant to the license sought under proper supervision.
  • Pass the Educational Testing Service Examination with a minimum score of 600.

To ensure your submission is complete, please send all required documents and payments to the following address:

South Carolina Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
South Carolina Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation
PO Box 11329
Columbia, South Carolina 29211-1329

Endorsement for Speech-Language Pathologists to Work In School Settings

One of the responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) in schools is to provide speech therapy and evaluations to students in special education programs and those referred by teachers, parents, or school district personnel. SLP job descriptions in schools may involve working with students individually or leading group speech therapy sessions.

Additionally, SLPs are responsible for creating and implementing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students in their caseload and maintaining all necessary documentation for students receiving speech therapy at the school. SLPs also collaborate with special education teachers, regular teachers, and school staff and advocate for students with communication difficulties. School SLP jobs are diverse and can vary regarding part-time or full-time work, virtual or on-site employment, and the size of their caseloads.

It is important to note that SLPs in public schools are contract employees and therefore are not subject to the same teacher requirements set by the state Department of Education. However, SLPs must hold appropriate licenses and registrations to work with school students, issued by the state Department of Education.

To become an educator speech-language therapist in South Carolina, the following requirements must be met:

  • Master’s degree.
  • Completion of a state Board of Education-approved advanced program for training in speech-language therapy.
  • Attainment of a minimum qualifying score on the state of South Carolina Board of Education-mandated examination.

In addition, speech-language pathologists who possess CCC-SLP national certification or have completed a master’s degree program that meets the ASHA CCC’s education and clinical requirements have achieved the minimum qualifying score on the certification examination(s) and are eligible for the Internship Certificate.

This certification is valid for one academic year and is obtainable only upon request by the employing school district. Following a successful performance evaluation during the first year of employment, the Internship Certificate can be upgraded to a Professional Certificate.