Virginia Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Virginia Speech Therapist Certification

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 19th, 2024

Speech-language pathology is a field dedicated to diagnosing and treating speech and communication difficulties in patients of all ages. Speech-language pathologists (SLP) work with patients with voice disorders, language comprehension, inappropriate pitch, and other communication barriers. They also handle administrative duties such as billing and record-keeping of patient evaluations, diagnoses, and treatment plans.

SLPs can work in various educational, research, and healthcare settings, with different responsibilities and client populations. They often collaborate in interdisciplinary teams with other professionals, such as therapists, teachers, and physicians. If you aspire to help people overcome speech, language, or swallowing issues, speech-language pathology can be a rewarding career.

To obtain a license as a speech-language pathologist in the Commonwealth of¬†Virginia, you need to meet the specific requirement set by the Virgin Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Licensure provides several benefits, such as identifying essential qualifications for nursing practice, ensuring a standard of competence, and establishing legal authorization for the profession’s scope of practice. It also protects the use of specific titles and assures the public of the nurse’s qualifications.

Obtaining a speech therapy license in Virginia doesn’t have to be a challenging task. We’ve gathered all the necessary resources and information to help you in your journey. Consider this Virginia speech-language licensure guide for a smooth path to licensure.

Virginia Initial Speech Pathology Licensure Process

The Virginia Board of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology typically takes less than two months to approve applications for speech-language pathology licenses, provided all requirements discussed below have been met. To obtain a speech-language pathologist license in Virginia, you need to fulfill the following requirements:

Education Requirements

In Virginia, obtaining a license as a speech-language pathologist requires finishing a master’s degree program in speech-language pathology from an accredited institution. The Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is the leading accrediting organization for graduate programs in this field. CAA accredits both traditional on-campus programs and online programs. Many students often prefer online speech-language pathology master’s degrees because of their flexibility, which is particularly advantageous for busy professionals with hectic schedules.

Undergraduate Requirements

In order to qualify for admission to a master’s program in speech-language pathology, it is necessary to have obtained a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While some students may have already completed a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders, others may require additional coursework if their undergraduate degree is in a different field of study. This coursework, known as prerequisite courses, may include:

  • Anatomy and physiology of speech, hearing, and swallowing
  • Language development
  • Phonetics
  • Speech science

Coursework Requirements and Clinical Practicum for Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Students

Master’s programs in speech-language pathology typically take 2-3 years to complete and consist of approximately 48 credits at the graduate level. The customary coursework for SLP master’s degrees usually includes the following classes:

  • Disorders of Voice and Resonance
  • Dysphagia
  • Fluency Disorders
  • Linguistic and Cognitive Development
  • Neurogenic Communication Disorders

As a part of your master’s degree program, you must complete a 400-hour clinical practicum to equip you with the necessary skills for your clinical fellowship. For students enrolled in online programs, practicum advisors assist in finding suitable placements with supervising SLPs who can provide hands-on learning opportunities in various settings close to their location.

For people who prefer a campus-based program, there are presently six master’s degree programs in speech-language pathology in Virginia that the CAA accredits.

  • Hampton University: Master of Arts in Communicative Sciences and Disorders
  • James Madison University: Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology
  • Longwood University: Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders
  • Old Dominion University: Master of Education in Speech-Language Pathology
  • Radford University: Master of Arts or Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders
  • University of Virginia: Master of Education in Speech Communication Disorders

Experience Requirements

Once you have successfully cleared the SLP exam, you must complete a clinical fellowship program under the supervision of a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist. Your supervisor should possess at least 3 years of experience as an SLP and have held a valid Virginia license for at least 3 years. Virginia’s clinical fellowship program requirements align with ASHA’s requirements, which entails completing 1,260 full-time work (35 hours per week) over 36 weeks. You have the option of fulfilling the required hours through part-time studying.

In order to commence your clinical fellowship, you will need to obtain a provisional SLP license in Virginia. This entails filling out an Application for a Provisional License and providing the Board with the accompanying documents:

  • Proof of your current enrollment in a graduate program that reflects that you have completed all necessary didactic coursework
  • SLP exam score

As a speech-language pathologist during your clinical practicum, you’ll have the chance to acquire crucial hands-on experience in real-world settings and get compensated for your services. Your experience will cover a range of scenarios, such as research, advocating for clients, and implementing treatment methods. To learn more about the responsibilities and duties of speech-language pathologists, you can refer to the Scope of Practice for SLPs.

Numerous options exist if you seek potential employers in Virginia for your clinical practicum. Some of the organizations that may be interested in accepting a fellow include:

  • Children’s Speech and Language Services: Falls Church
  • Children’s Speech Therapy Center: Fairfax
  • Interactions Speech and Language Pathology: McLean
  • Speech Beginnings: Alexandria
  • Speech Connections: Henrico
  • Washington Speech: Fairfax

Testing Requirements

In contrast to many other states, Virginia mandates that individuals seeking a license in speech-language pathology must complete the SLP exam before commencing their required post-graduate clinical fellowship. To register for the speech-language pathology exam, follow the instructions provided on the Praxis registration page. In addition, the exam can be taken at test centers in various Virginia cities.

  • Charlottesville
  • Centreville
  • Bristol
  • Annandale
  • Sterling
  • Roanoke
  • Richmond
  • Radford
  • Falls Church
  • Fairfax
  • Emory
  • Chesapeake
  • Norfolk
  • Midlothian
  • Lynchburg
  • Herndon
  • Harrisonburg
  • Glen Allen
  • Alexandria
  • Abingdon
  • Wise
  • Winchester
  • Virginia Beach

The Praxis Preparation Materials can be used to get ready for the exam. To successfully complete the exam, you will need to answer 132 questions within a strict time limit of 150 minutes. It can be classified into three categories of equal weight.

  • Foundations and Professional Practice
  • Characteristics of common disorders
  • Development of disorders
  • Research Methodology
  • Wellness and prevention
  • Screening, Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis
  • Evaluating Factors that influence disorders
  • Causes of Genetic and developmental disorders
  • Communication disorders
  • Swallowing and feeding disorders
  • Communication social aspects
  • Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Treatment
  • Communication impairments related to cognition
  • Creating means for monitoring treatment
  • Evaluating Factors that can affect treatment
  • Speech sound production treatment

To achieve a passing grade on the examination, a score of 162 must be obtained on a scale ranging from 100 to 200.

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

Upon completing your post-graduate clinical fellowship, applying for the CCC-SLP from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is mandatory to become licensed as an SLP in Virginia. To apply, you must complete the application and provide ASHA with the following:

  • The SLP Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form
  • Praxis exam score
  • Have an official transcript sent to the board.

Application Process

To obtain the Virginia SLP license, you must fill out an application form for speech-language pathology and submit it along with the required fee by postal mail. The application fee is $135.00, which should be paid via check or money order payable to the “Treasurer of Virginia.” However, if you’re a new graduate upgrading from Provisional to Full License, the application fee is reduced to $85.00.

In addition to your application form and fees, you are required to provide the following documents:

  • Obtain a digital self-query report from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) and submit it to¬†audbd@dhp.virginia.gov. Note that NPDB charges a processing fee for this service.
  • Provide proof of an active and unrestricted Certificate of Clinical Competence from the ASHA. Board staff will download documentation of ASHA certification.
  • Submit license verification for all licenses held, even expired licenses, from any other U.S. jurisdiction.
  • Demonstrate active practice by submitting relevant documentation.
  • Request that your qualifying national exam scores be electronically released to Virginia by contacting PRAXIS.

You are responsible for informing the source of the necessary documents to directly submit the information to the board office via email, fax, or postal mail. In addition, you need to give a 21-business day allowance from the date of initial mailing for the board to receive and handle the application. An initial email will confirm receipt and inform the applicant of any documentation required for the application.

Endorsement for Speech-Language Pathologists To Work In School Settings

People with a master’s degree in speech-language pathology may be licensed as school speech-language pathologists by the Virgin Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. The Board will issue licenses to such people without requiring them to take an examination as long as their credentials are reviewed and they pay the required application fee according to the Board’s regulations for school speech-language pathologists.

These licensed school speech-language pathologists are only permitted to practice within public school divisions and are not authorized to offer their services outside of this setting or in any other setting unless they hold a separate license from the Board of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology that authorizes them to do so.

For example, if a licensed school speech-language pathologist wants to provide services to the general public or work in private practice, they must obtain an additional license from the Board. Similarly, if a licensed school speech-language pathologist wants to provide their services in a non-public school setting, such as a private school or healthcare facility, they must also obtain a separate license from the Board.

An additional explanation is offered in the following case:

  • When a student in a public school receives speech-language pathology (SLP) services outside of the school, for example, in a home-based or preschool environment, they need to be treated by a speech-language pathologist who holds a provisional, school, or full speech-language pathology license.
  • If a public school district enrolls a student in a private institution and covers the cost of SLP services, the provider must have a provisional, school, or full SLP license.
  • If a private school student is enrolled in a private school by their parents but qualifies for a service plan and receives SLP services from a public school, they must be treated by an SLP licensed as a school, provisional, or full practitioner.
  • In the case where a private school student is placed in a private school by their parents without any public funding and receives SLP services from an SLP in the same private school, the provider must hold a provisional or full SLP license.

A license indicating the practice limitations specified in this subsection shall be granted by the Board to any individual licensed as a school speech-language pathologist. Those who possess licenses issued by the Board of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology that do not have these limitations will be excused from complying with the provisions of this subsection.