West Virginia Speech-Language Pathologist Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: West Virginia Speech Therapist Certification

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 19th, 2024

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have rewarding careers as they help those with speech and communication disorders lead fulfilling lives. If this is an occupation you’re considering, you may wonder what steps need to be taken to get started. Fortunately, this article will guide you through the entire process so you can join other professionals in the field who are making a difference.

SLPs play a direct role in improving and enhancing a client’s communication abilities. Because the impact they make is so huge there are plenty of educational requirements that must be met as you take the path to licensure. As an SLP you’ll be expected to provide assessments, diagnoses, and treatments tailored to your patient. You will need a great deal of patience, compassion, and creativity to ensure you’re delivering high-quality services.

Choose a setting you prefer to work in. That may be a university, private practice, government agency, residential health care facility, or rehabilitation clinic. You can also specialize in several areas including pediatric speech, adult speech, motor speech disorders, fluency disorders, and feeding and swallowing. Your career choices are plentiful and you’re sure to find your niche in no time.

If you’re a resident of West Virginia or have plans to move to the state and pursue a career in speech-language pathology, continue reading for more information on how to attain a license to practice.

West Virginia Initial Speech Pathology Licensure Process

West Virginia’s Board of Examiners of Speech and Language Pathology and Audiology sets the rules and regulations for obtaining a professional license in the field. Licensees must meet specific requirements before the two-year renewal cycle is over. Those requirements and more will be covered below.

Education Requirements

A master’s degree in speech-language pathology is necessary for licensure. The degree must be earned from a program accredited through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA).

ASHA is the national scientific and professional credentialing agency for SLPs. The organization sets the standards for education in the United States and internationally. Whether taking the master’s level courses in person or online, verify that the SLP program is CAA-accredited.

To be accepted into a master’s program you’ll need to complete a few prerequisite courses like the following:

  • Phonetic
  • Language Acquisition
  • Diagnostic Audiology
  • Anatomy of Physiology of the Speech Mechanism
  • Introduction to Communication Disorders

If your bachelor’s degree was in communicative sciences and disorders, then you’ve already taken these courses. However, if the degree was in an unrelated field, you’ll need to pass the prerequisites before entering a master’s-level program. Once you begin graduate school, you’ll take core courses such as:

  • Principles of Intervention
  • Acquired Language Disorders
  • Dysphagia
  • Neurological Bases of Speech and Language
  • Fluency
  • Development of Language Disorders: Early Stages

Most graduate programs require a 3.0-grade point average (GPA) for admission. Once you’re enrolled, you’ll be able to choose electives based on the specialty area you’d like to pursue. Clinical practicums are also a major part of your graduate education, and they are covered in the section below.

Experience Required

Toward the end of the SLP program, you’ll complete clinical practicums designed to give you hands-on experience in work settings. Four hundred clinical practicum hours are required for licensure. All clinical work is done under the supervision of a licensed and trained SLP.

Of the 400 hours, 375 must be spent in direct patient contact. Up to 20 hours can be spent on related disorders and another 20 is spent in audiology.

After graduation, you’ll begin your clinical fellowship (CF). This is a paid work experience where you’ll interact with patients directly. You’ll start to work independently in settings that permit you to focus on the specialized area that interests you.

The total number of hours needed to complete the fellowship is 1,260. Full-time workers complete the fellowship in 36 weeks. Part-time workers can work one of the following schedules:

  • 18 months working 15-19 hours per week
  • 15 months working 20-24 hours per week
  • 12 months working 25-29 hours per week.

Eighty percent of the fellowship is spent in direct clinical contact with patients. That includes treatment, writing reports, conducting assessments and diagnostic evaluations, and family or client counseling. Supervisors must report the name of each assistant working with them to the Board. Throughout the experience, the licensee’s quality of service will be observed and graded.

The setting you work in should provide a wide range of services so you can develop each competency required to be successful in the field. The supervisor will serve as a mentor during the experience, providing guidance to improve your clinical effectiveness.

At the end of the experience, a report verifying the CF completion must be sent to the Board within 90 days. Clinical fellows need to earn a 2 in each competency in order to qualify for licensure.

Testing Requirement

There are two examinations that must be passed by each applicant. One is the Jurisprudence Exam approved by the Board. The quiz comprises 55 questions about the rules and laws governing the speech-language pathology profession in West Virginia.

The Jurisprudence Exam is taken online. Simply sign up and once you’re done with the test your score is automatically transmitted to the Board.

The other test you must complete is the national Praxis Speech-Language Pathology Examination, 5331. Praxis tests are ASHA-approved and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Scored on a scale of 100-200, you need to achieve 162 points to pass. The fee to sit for the test is $146.

Complete the exam registration online, by phone, or by mail. Phone registration requires creating a Praxis account and paying an additional $35 surcharge. Call ETS at (800) 772-9476 and pay using a credit or debit card, eCheck, or PayPal.

Registration by mail requires you to first complete a Test Authorization Voucher Request Form. You’ll receive a voucher number after three weeks, which will allow you to finish the registration process. Schedule any day of the week to take the test at home or locate a test center and call to find out its hours of operation. Wherever you decide to sit for the computer-based exam, be prepared to show an acceptable form of ID.

Review The Praxis Tests Information Bulletin to have an idea of what to expect on the day of the exam. Once the test is graded the score is posted to your Praxis account and transmitted to the Board.

Background Checks

An electronic state and federal background check is run on each applicant. West Virginia applicants need to visit IdentoGo to get started. Use the state Service code 228NJX and you’ll be able to schedule an appointment at a fingerprinting site in your area. Write down the confirmation number to take with you to the fingerprint appointment. Results are received and sent to the Board in 2-3 business days.

Applicants living outside of West Virginia may need to mail their fingerprint cards. The proper form must be used to capture your prints, which is the Federal Bureau of Investigations FD-258 card. Pre-enroll on the IdentoGo website and pay all the processing fees during this process. Once the fees are paid a pre-enrollment confirmation page will appear indicating your registration has been completed.

Print and sign the confirmation page and visit a law enforcement agency or other approved fingerprinting service in your area. Send the pre-enrollment confirmation page to:

Attn: Card Scan
340 Seven Springs Way, Suite 220
Brentwood, TN 37072

The Board will receive the results once they are made available.

Application Process

Before you can begin your clinical fellowship you’ll need to apply for a provisional license. A Postgraduate Professional Experience (PPE) Agreement Form must be sent to the Board within 30 days of your employment. The items you need to submit for the provisional license are:

  • Verification of passing the national exam
  • Official academic transcripts

You’ll also need to answer “Yes” or “No” to the following questions and submit paperwork to explain any “Yes” answers.

  • Have you held a professional license that’s been revoked or suspended?
  • Have you been convicted or pleaded guilty to a felony?
  • Have you been found guilty of unethical conduct?
  • Are you being treated for a disease or addiction?

After completing the postgraduate experience, you will be ready to apply for a full license. Here are the eligibility requirements for licensure:

  • Master’s or equivalent degree in speech-language pathology from a Board-approved institution
  • Praxis exam score
  • Proof of completing clinical practicum experiences
  • Proof of completing the clinical fellowship
  • Passing the Jurisprudence Exam

All applications and supporting documents should be sent to:

WV Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
99 Edmiston Way
Box 11, Suite 214
Buckhannon, WV 26201

The application fee for provisional and full licenses is $100 and nonrefundable. The provisional license fee is $50, and full licensure fees are prorated to follow the schedule below:

  • Licensed between January-June of the first year in the licensing period – $200
  • Licensed between July-December of the first year in the licensing period – $150
  • Licensed between January-June of the second year in the licensing period – $100
  • Licensed between July-December of the second year in the licensing period – $50

Military and low-income families can apply to have the initial license fees waived. Fill out the appropriate application and mail it to the Buckhannon address listed above.

Low-Income Family Initial Licensing Fee Waiver Application

Military Family Initial Licensing Fee Waiver Application