Texas Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Texas Speech Therapist Certification

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 19th, 2024

A speech-language pathologist (SLP), also known as a speech therapist or speech pathologist, helps people overcome various speech, communication, and swallowing difficulties. These issues may arise from developmental delays, physical impairments like cleft palates, or medical conditions such as strokes, brain injuries, or hearing loss.

SLPs work with patients to diagnose, treat, and prevent issues hindering communication and swallowing. They work in various environments, including local, state, or federal educational institutions and medical facilities. The tasks assigned to speech pathologists may vary depending on the organization they work for and their level of education and specialization. For example, those with a master’s degree and expertise in swallowing disorders may perform different tasks than those focused on speech and language delays.

However, people who wish to work as speech-language pathologists in Texas must obtain an SLP license. Professional licensure aims to safeguard the public by mandating minimum requirements and competencies for entry-level practitioners. Speech-language pathology is regulated because it poses a potential risk of harm to the public if practiced by unprepared or incompetent individuals. The public may need adequate information and experience to identify unqualified SLP, rendering them vulnerable to unsafe and inept speech therapists.

A license issued by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) assures the public that the speech-language pathologist has met established standards. This guide on Texas Speech-Language Pathology Licensure is based on the state’s rules and regulations governing the licensure of speech-language pathologists.

Texas Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Process

Speech-language pathologists in Texas must follow licensing regulations set by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. In order to be licensed as a speech-language pathologist in Texas, you must meet the following requirements:

Education Requirements

To qualify for an SLP license, one must first possess a master’s degree or higher in speech-language pathology from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for Speech-Language Pathology, and Audiology recognized program that has received national accreditation. In the United States, the majority of master’s degree programs in speech-language pathology receive accreditation from the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

While Texas doesn’t require completion of a CAA-accredited program, if you opt for a non-accredited program, you will need to provide a letter from ASHA to the Board verifying that CAA has approved the coursework and clinical experience in your master’s program. Furthermore, the CAA grants accreditation to SLP master’s degree programs offered both on campus and online, thus expanding your range of program choices and allowing you to complete your graduate studies from the convenience of your home.

Undergraduate Requirements

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders is a straightforward path to pursue a graduate degree in SLP. But it’s worth noting that several graduate programs in this area consider applicants without bachelor’s degrees in communication sciences and disorders.

Completion of a pre-professional program at the university may be necessary before commencing your graduate studies if you do not possess a bachelor’s degree in SLP. Some of the prerequisite courses usually include general coursework, such as:

  • Introduction to Audiology
  • Introduction to Clinical Methods and Observation
  • Language Acquisition
  • Phonetics

Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Degree Components

It often takes 2-3 years to finish a master’s degree in SLP, and the program usually comprises 40-60 credits. Some of the courses covered in a Speech-language pathology master’s degree program include the following:

  • Adult Dysphagia
  • Counseling and Professional Communication
  • Clinical and Ethics Settings
  • Communication’s Neuronal Pathways
  • Research in Communication Sciences
  • Voice and Resonance Disorders

To fulfill the requirements of your graduate program, you are expected to undertake a clinical practicum totaling 400 hours. A licensed speech-language pathologist will supervise your practicum. However, before starting any direct client interaction, you will need to finish a minimum of 25 clock hours of supervised observation.

Experience Requirements

Upon completion of your graduate degree, it is mandatory to undertake a clinical fellowship, as per ASHA recommendations. The Board mandates a minimum of 1,260 hours of supervised clinical practice over 36 weeks, with a requirement of 35 hours per week. You can work part-time, but at least 5 hours per week.

A clinical fellowship provides practical experience in a clinical setting under supervision. It is your responsibility to find a prospective employer who would be interested in accepting a fellow. It’s advisable to carefully assess the work environment and any particular areas of interest, as a fellowship opportunity may ultimately result in a permanent employment position.

Some potential employers in Texas who may be interested in taking on a clinical fellow include:

  • Austin Area Speech and Language Therapy Services, Austin
  • Capital Area Speech, Austin
  • Central Texas Speech Pathology Services, Austin
  • Health Bridge Children’s Hospital, Houston
  • Kingwood Speech Pathology Services, Kingwood
  • Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston
  • Texas Women’s University, Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic, Denton

You must obtain an Intern SLP license to begin your clinical fellowship program. This requires completing an application for an Intern in SLP and submitting it to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation Board along with the following documents:

To comply with the Board’s regulations, you must dedicate at least 80% of your workweek to interacting with clients directly. This includes conducting assessments, diagnoses, evaluations, screenings, and providing habilitation or rehabilitation services.

Once you finish your clinical fellowship, you and your supervising speech-language pathologist must fill out the Report of Completed Internship. This report, along with your licensure application, will be submitted for review.

Testing Requirements

To be licensed as a speech-language pathologist in Texas, you must pass the national examination in speech-language pathology administered by Praxis. You can take this exam during or after your clinical fellowship. To take the exam, you must register on the Praxis registration page and then schedule your test at a Praxis testing center. Praxis has several testing centers located in various cities in Texas, including:

  • Abilene
  • Amarillo
  • Austin
  • Beaumont
  • Bedford
  • Brownsville
  • College Station
  • Corpus Christi
  • Dallas
  • Denton
  • Edinburg
  • El Paso
  • Houston
  • Lubbock
  • McAllen
  • Nacogdoches
  • Odessa
  • San Antonio
  • Tyler
  • Waco
  • Wichita Falls

To prepare for the speech-language pathology exam, you must answer 132 multiple-choice questions within a time limit of 150 minutes. Praxis offers study materials to help you properly prepare for the exam. The exam is divided into three fundamental categories that it covers.

  • Foundations and Professional Practice
  • Characteristics of common swallowing and communication disorders
  • Counseling, teaming, and collaboration
  • Legislation and client advocacy
  • Screening, Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis
  • Assessing factors that influence swallowing and communication disorders
  • Disease processes
  • Feeding and swallowing disorders
  • Fluency
  • Hearing
  • Social aspects of communication
  • Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Treatment
  • Creating development goals
  • Treatment principles and procedures
  • Treatment of fluency issues
  • Communication impairments related to cognition
  • Swallowing and feeding

To pass the exam, you must obtain a score of at least 162, graded on a scale ranging from 100 to 200.

Optional CCC-SLP Certification

After passing the SLP exam, you become eligible for the CCC-SLP certification, which is not required for licensure in Texas but is often beneficial for career advancement. Besides, deciding to get the CCC-SLP before licensure can simplify the procedure using the ASHA Waiver. This enables you to present your CCC-SLP credential as a substitute for other requirements while applying for your SLP license in Texas.

  • To apply for the CCC-SLP, you must submit the following
  • Application form
  • Official transcripts from your graduation program
  • Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form
  • Pass SLP exam score to ASHA.

Moreover, ASHA offers multiple specialized certifications that supplement the CCC-SLP and demonstrate expertise in diverse aspects of communication disorders and sciences. ASHA presently offers three different specialty certifications that may be relevant depending on your work environment or career aspirations:

  • Child language disorders
  • Fluency disorders
  • Swallowing disorders

Background Checks

New candidates must provide their fingerprints for a national criminal history check to apply for speech-language pathology licensure. Once the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation receives your application, you will be emailed instructions on arranging an appointment for fingerprinting. If you’ve previously provided fingerprints for a Texas speech-language pathology assistant or intern license, you won’t need to do so again.

Having a criminal conviction doesn’t automatically make you ineligible for a license. However, before submitting your application and paying non-refundable fees, you can request that your criminal history be reviewed in Texas.

Application Process

To obtain an SLP license in Texas, you must fill out the Speech-Language Pathology Application form, pay a $150 application fee (which covers the initial two-year license), and submit all necessary documents.

  • A Certificate of Completion of the Texas Jurisprudence Exam
  • Passing Score Report for SLP Exam
  • Background Check
  • Electronic Graduate Transcripts (request your university/college to send them to the Board at cs.transcript@tdlr.texas.gov instead of submitting a certified or original copy)
  • Completed Internship Report Form

If you need to submit additional documents, such as proof of fingerprint submission, scan and send them electronically to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation through the board’s Customer Service form.

Applicants can apply for new licenses online, and TDLR highly recommends using this application process as it is secure, user-friendly, and faster than submitting paper applications and supporting documents. Once TDLR receives all necessary documents, online applications may take up to 30 days to process, while mailed applications may face significant delays, taking up to 90 days to process.

You will have one year from the submission date of your application to fulfill all licensing requirements. Failure to meet these requirements within one year will result in the need to submit a new application, all necessary materials, and payment of a new application fee.

Endorsement for Speech-Language Pathologists to Work In School Settings

Speech-language pathologists working in public schools are typically contract employees and are not subject to the specific teacher requirements of the State Department of Education. However, they are generally required to hold a state license from TDLR to practice in the schools.

In order to work as a Speech-Language Pathologist in Texas and subsequently work in a school setting, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must hold a Master’s degree from a university or college accredited by a national accrediting organization approved by TDLR. If the institution is not accreditated by the CAA, then it is necessary to obtain a letter from ASHA indicating that the applicant’s coursework and clinical experience have been accepted by the Council for Clinical Certification.
  • You must have completed 400 hours of supervised clinical practicum.
  • You must have completed a minimum of 36 weeks of full-time or equivalent part-time supervised professional experience.
  • You must pass an examination to be eligible for licensure.
  • As a requirement for licensure application, you must submit evidence of passing the jurisprudence examination no more than six months before the application date.

It is important to understand that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has ceased issuing certificates in speech-language therapy. Nonetheless, those with a TEA lifetime certificate in speech and hearing therapy or speech-language therapy can provide SLP services in public schools without obtaining a license.