How to Become a Speech-Language Pathologist in North Carolina

Speech-language pathologists are uniquely equipped to assist patients with various communication handicaps. Through your education, practicum, and clinical experience, you’ll learn how to best serve a variety of patient populations.

You’ll have a diverse array of educational offerings open to you—in addition to numerous accredited online programs, there are six universities in North Carolina accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) that offer SLP graduate degrees. You’ll need to complete an accredited program in order to become licensed by the North Carolina SLP board. Three of the accredited universities, The University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, the University of North Carolina—Greensboro, and East Carolina University were ranked among the top graduate SLP programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.

NYU Steinhardt's online MS in Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Speech@NYU, offers a comprehensive curriculum that combines research and evidence-based clinical practice in a flexible online format. Speech@NYU prepares students across the country to become creative, collaborative, and effective speech-language pathologists. Students of this program will gain the experience needed to provide care to diverse populations across the life span. Request information.

One of North Carolina’s in-state accredited universities, Appalachian State University, offers its students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working in its on-campus clinic, the Charles E. and Geneva S. Scott Communication Disorders Clinic. The speech and language clinic is both a training facility and a clinic open to the general public of all ages, serving the Western North Carolina area.

Many SLP students in the state join the North Carolina Speech Hearing & Language Association (NCSHLA) to boost their professional development. Through the NCSHLA, you might learn about how to use toys to enhance speech therapy practices with children, how to treat motor speech disorders, establishing vocal-verbal skills for children with childhood apraxia of speech, how to enhance feeding therapy through a sensory-motor approach, and how parents of patients can learn to facilitate their children’s therapy.

You’ll receive your license through the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Follow the steps in the guide below to begin your path to licensure as an SLP:

Earn a Master’s Degree from an ASHA-Accredited Program in New Jersey
Apply for a Temporary License and Complete a Supervised Experience Year (SEY)
Pass the National SLP Exam and Consider Earning the CCC-SLP Credential
Apply for Licensing and Begin Practicing as a Speech-Language Pathologist
Renew Your License Annually and Complete Yearly Supervised Training

 


 

Step 1. Earn a Master’s Degree from an ASHA-Accredited Program in New Jersey

The first step towards your career as an SLP is to earn a master’s degree (or higher). You’ll need to graduate from a program accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in order to become a licensed SLP.

You may choose from online accredited options, or you may earn your degree from one of six ASHA accredited institutions in the state.

While some SLPs choose online options because of the flexibility of the programs and the ability to complete clinical hours close to home, in-state options often offer reduced tuition or state-sponsored scholarship opportunities.

You’ll need to be prepared to present an excellent academic record when applying to an SLP program in the state. SLP graduate programs usually only admit students who have an excellent academic history, including an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, GRE scores in the 30th percentile, and several academic references.

You won’t need an undergraduate degree in speech-language pathology to be accepted into a graduate program, but you will need to complete prerequisites if you haven’t already completed basic speech therapy fundamentals in your undergraduate courses.

Prerequisites include courses in the biological and physical sciences as well as social and behavioral sciences, usually including:

  • Phonetics
  • Anatomy of Speech and Hearing
  • Neurology of Speech
  • Language Development Across the Lifespan
  • Acquisition of Development of Articulation
  • Aural Rehabilitation
  • Speech Science

Core courses will move into more advanced topics in speech-language pathology, often including:

  • Language Disorders
  • Voice Disorders
  • Articulation Disorders
  • Multicultural Communication Disorders
  • Methods in SLP
  • Language and Learning Disabilities
  • Dysphagia
  • Brain, Language & Aphasia
  • Linguistic/Cognitive Disorders

Electives often narrow in on special patient populations or communication disorders. They may include:

  • Craniofacial Anomalies
  • Alaryngeal Rehabilitation
  • Professional Issues in SLP
  • Stuttering
  • Motor Speech Disorders
  • Research in SLP

You’ll also need to complete a practicum of at least 400 clock hours during your graduate study to be eligible for licensure in North Carolina. At least eighty hours of your practicum must involve treating adults with speech disorders, and eighty hours must involve treating children with speech disorders. You’ll complete these hours under the supervision of a licensed professional.

 


 

Step 2. Apply for a Temporary License and Complete a Supervised Experience Year (SEY)

Once you’ve graduated, you may apply for temporary licensure and begin a supervised experience year (SEY). Although the North Carolina SLP board refers to this period as a supervised experience year, it must be nine months long at minimum and may take up to 18 months to complete.

You’ll be supervised by a licensed SLP in North Carolina in a clinical setting and learn to complete the clinical and diagnostic procedures required of an SLP in day-to-day practice.

The director of your university’s communicative sciences and disorders program may be able to help you find a clinic where you can gain your supervised experience, or you can browse opportunities here.

You may complete your SEY through full-time work, which is defined as nine months of 30 hours per week, or part time work, defined as 18 months of at least 20 hours per week.

Your SEY plan, which you will develop with your supervisor, will break down the number of hours you’ll be expected to spend in assessment, diagnosis and evaluations; screening; habilitation, rehabilitation, and therapy; and counseling, staff meetings, and record keeping.

You won’t be able to practice in any capacity without a temporary license. To apply, you’ll need to fill out a temporary license application.

You’ll also need to submit to the board:

  • $70 application fee
  • Official graduate transcript
  • Verified practicum hour clock sheet, signed by your supervisor (included in the application)
  • Supervised Experience Year Plan

You may mail the documents to:

State of North Carolina
Board of Examiners for Speech and Language Pathologists and Audiologists
PO Box 16885, Greensboro
North Carolina 27416

Your temporary license will expire at the end of your SEY.

 


 

Step 3. Pass the National SLP Exam and Consider Earning the CCC-SLP Credential

Next, you’ll need to register for the National Examination in Speech-Language Pathology, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s examination for licensure.

You can register online for the exam through Praxis.

The exam is made up of 132 questions and is scored on a 100-200 scale. (You’ll need a 162 to pass).

The test will cover topics that you studied in your core coursework, touching on foundations and professional practice, how to screen, assess, evaluate and diagnose patients, and how to properly develop treatment plans for patients.

The test will also cover:

  • Feeding and swallowing disorders
  • Developing case histories
  • Selecting appropriate assessment procedures
  • Assessment of anatomy and physiology
  • Speech sound production
  • Voice, resonance, and motor speech
  • Cognitive aspects of communication
  • The etiology of communicative disorders

If you feel that you need some extra preparation for the exam, you may browse the test’s topics and practice questions in the Praxis Study Companion, or you might consider purchasing an interactive practice test.

You’ll be able to take the exam at any Praxis test center in the following cities:

  • Asheville
  • Boone
  • Cary
  • Charlotte
  • Cullowhee
  • Durham
  • Fayetteville
  • Greensboro
  • Greenville
  • Raleigh
  • Wilmington

After taking the exam, it usually takes about two weeks to hear back from Praxis with your scores. With a passing score, you’re ready to become licensed in North Carolina.

At this point, you’ll be eligible to apply for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathologists (CCC-SLP). It’s not a requirement for licensure, but adds credibility to your resume, especially if you plan on practicing independently. You may apply through ASHA, provided you have an official graduate transcript, proof of completion of a supervised experience year, and passing scores on the National Examination in Speech-Language Pathology.

 


 

Step 4. Apply for Licensing and Begin Practicing as a Speech-Language Pathologist

Once you’ve received passing scores on the National Examination in Speech-Language Pathology, you may apply for licensing through the North Carolina SLP board.

You’ll need to fill out an application form and submit it with:

The SLP quiz consists of 12 multiple choice questions that cover the practice act for SLPs in North Carolina.

You can submit the license application and all supporting documents to:

State of North Carolina
Board of Examiners for Speech and Language Pathologists and Audiologists
PO Box 16885, Greensboro
North Carolina 27416

Now that you’re licensed, you have several options of how to launch your career:

Work for your Supervised Experience Year Provider

Your supervised experience year provider may be happy to provide you with a full-time opportunity after having first-hand experience with your clinical practice. This is often an excellent way to jump-start your career since you may have already built strong relationships with patients and patients’ families at this clinic.

Consider Starting an Independent Practice

If you want to work independently, you may open your own practice. You also have the option of starting a partnership with another qualified SLP.

Pursue Job Openings in North Carolina

You’ll also be able to pursue a variety of job opportunities in North Carolina, as the state is full of openings for qualified individuals. Just a few SLP employers in the state include:

  • Speech Center, Inc.
  • Therapy Playground
  • Venture Rehab Group
  • The People Link Corporation
  • Carolina Pediatric Dysphagia Group
  • Kinetic Physical Therapy and Wellness
  • Wake County Public Schools
  • Carolinas Public Health Care System
  • Therapeutic Outreach
  • Transitions Life Care
  • Liberty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Services
  • Centra Healthcare Solutions
  • Little Bug Speech Therapy
  • Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services

 


 

Step 5. Renew Your License Annually and Complete Yearly Supervised Training

You’ll need to renew your license annually for a $60.00 fee. You may renew online through the North Carolina SLP Board’s website.

You won’t need to complete traditional continuing education requirements that are regulated by the board—instead, you’ll work out an agreement with your employer that will include supervised training each year.

The supervised training at your place of employment will be documented by a written plan and include training with clinical equipment, the correct use of treatment procedures, receiving evaluations from supervisors and other licensed SLPs, and participating in educational activities as discussed with your employer.

You might take advantage of conferences and courses held by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or the North Carolina Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

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