Washington Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Washington SLPA Licensure

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 19th, 2024

Imagine a child in elementary school having trouble using their words because of a fluency disorder like stuttering. Or an adult struggling to understand others and express themselves after experiencing a stroke. Both of these situations gravely affect a person’s ability to communicate, which can lead to difficulties in other areas of life.

Now imagine that same child or adult visiting a speech-language pathologist’s office and being greeted by a warm and efficient assistant. Imagine those individuals receiving an assessment and other treatment from a skilled speech-language pathology assistant (SLPA) as they work toward improving their communication skills.

As an SLPA your role is extremely vital to a speech-language pathologist (SLP). Many SLPs are overworked and suffer from burnout, so the addition of an SLPA to their team or practice is more than welcome. Much of the heavy lifting is divided amongst the team to lighten the workload. Some common employment sites include hospitals, nursing homes, research facilities, and corporate settings.

If you live in Washington State or plan to relocate soon and are considering starting a career in speech-language pathology, becoming an assistant is a great introduction to the profession. You can decide if you want to go on to graduate school or continue in the assistant role. Whatever you decide, this article will give you the foundation needed to start on your journey. So, continue reading to find out how to attain SLPA certification in Washington.

Washington Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Licensure Process

Washington’s Board of Hearing and Speech is the governing body for the practice of speech-language pathology in the state. They recertify SLPAs annually and set the rules and regulations regarding other licensure eligibility requirements.

Education Requirements

Applicants for SLPA certification must hold an associate of arts or sciences degree or a certificate of proficiency. Academic transcripts must show 45 quarter hours, or 30 semester hours of coursework completed in speech-language pathology. Also, 45 quarter hours or 30 semester hours of credit in general education are required from a Board-approved institution of higher education.

A bachelor of arts or a bachelor of sciences degree is also accepted for SLPA certification. Your baccalaureate transcript must show you have completed clinical practicum experience, which is covered in the next section.

Some of the core courses you can expect to take are:

  • Speech Intervention with Children, Adolescents, and Adults
  • Communication Disorders in Low-Incidence Populations
  • Language Therapy
  • Phonetics for Language
  • Intervention Strategies for SLP Assistants

Experience Required

At least 100 hours of clinical experience must be earned before you can apply for certification. You must be supervised by a licensed SLP during this experience, and they are required to directly monitor you for at least 50 hours. At the end of the clinical practicum, a Work Experience Verification form will be submitted to the Board.

Testing Requirement

The only testing requirement for SLPAs is the Jurisprudence Exam required for initial certification. This open-book exam requires a score of 100% to pass. For your convenience, the reference materials will appear in a separate browser when you log on to take the exam. Once you’re finished with the test, the credentialing office is notified of your successful completion.

The exam assesses your knowledge of the state laws and rules surrounding the speech-language pathology profession. It’s a measure taken by the state to ensure the public is protected and SLPs are aware of the regulations governing their occupation.

Background Checks

Background checks are completed by the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Choose to complete the process online, by mail, or in person. Regardless of which processing method you select, you will have to be fingerprinted. Visit one of the approved locations listed on the WSP website.

If you submit the information online using the Washington Access to Criminal History (WATCH) system, view the fees and instructions here. Use a Request for Conviction Criminal History Form if sending the form by mail. The same form is used when completing the process in person. Take the request with you to the Olympia office located at:

Washington State Patrol
106 11th Ave. S.W.
Suite 1300
Olympia, WA 98501

Results are submitted to the Board once they are available.

Applicants from other states will need to visit the FBI’s website for a national fingerprint-based background check. The cost is $18 per person. Online requests are typically processed in 3-5 business days, while mail-in requests take up to two months, or longer. Follow the online instructions to complete the process at a law enforcement agency office near you.

Application Process

SLPAs can apply for certification online and with a paper form. Online applications are submitted through the Department of Health Online Application Portal which is accessed through SecureAccess Washington (SAW).

Register with SAW to sign into the Application Portal. Once your account has been created, you’ll have to answer a series of questions based on existing public record information about yourself. If you do not supply the answers based on the information on file, you will be required to fill out a paper application.

Applicants have 14 days to complete the application if any supplemental documents are required by the Board. There is a $2.50 convenience fee for using a credit or debit card to make a payment. If you experience any issues using the system, contact (360) 236-4700.

The certification application can be downloaded and printed, along with the following forms that must also be submitted to the Board:

The Board also has a list of approved schools for SLP certification.

The application fee is $55, and all paperwork is mailed to:

Department of Health
P.O. Box 1099
Olympia, WA 98507-1099

If the Board requests additional documents be sent to complete your application, send them to:

Hearing and Speech Credentialing
P.O. Box 47877
Olympia, WA 98504-7877