Online speech-language pathology graduate programs have allowed more individuals than ever to pursue advanced education in communication sciences and disorders. This is ideal, given that the growing demand for therapeutic interventions to address speech, language and swallowing disorders is creating tremendous opportunities for SLPs in schools, clinical practice, telepractice and home health services. Statistics from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development tell the story, with the ten-year job growth projection for SLPs in the state at an impressive 27.7 percent.
The wide array of speech-language service providers in Indiana are working hard to meet the growing demand, opening up internship opportunities for grad students and creating new jobs.
To keep up with demand and reach the projected need for 3,303 total SLP licensees by 2024, some 1,370 positions must be filled in the state during that time frame. Some of the top employers of SLPs in Indiana include research, education, and services institutions. Public health programs like the United Health Services – Hearing and Speech Center through the Indiana State Department of Health are also major employers.
To qualify for licensure as a speech-language pathologist in Indiana, you must meet the requirements set forth by the Speech-Language Pathology Audiology Board, which include earning a master’s degree in speech-language pathology, completing a nine-month clinical fellowship, and passing the national SLP Praxis exam.
Follow these steps to become a licensed speech-language pathologist in Indiana:
Step 1. Complete a Qualifying Master’s Degree Program in Speech-Language Pathology
To meet Board requirements for licensure, you must earn a master’s degree in speech-language pathology or its equivalent from an institution recognized by the Board with a program that holds accreditation through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA).
The CAA accredits many online SLP master’s degree programs across the nation. Working professionals with demanding schedules prefer online speech-language pathology graduate programs thanks to the flexibility they offer.
As of 2016, there were also 5 CAA-accredited speech-language pathology master’s degree programs in Indiana:
- Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology at Ball State University
- Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at Indiana State University
- Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology at Indiana University, Bloomington
- Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at Purdue University
- Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at St. Mary’s College
Admission and Undergraduate Requirements
Many graduate programs offer a pre-professional program or an expanded master’s curriculum for students that haven’t completed a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology or communicative sciences and disorders. If you have an undergraduate degree in another field, you may need to complete a number of prerequisites before commencing your graduate coursework:
- Speech Science
- Language Development
- Introduction to Communication Disorders
Graduate Courses and Clinical Practicum
Master’s degree programs in SLP consist of between 45-60 credits and take between 2-3 years to complete.
You can expect to complete coursework that includes:
- Neurological and Physiological Foundations of Speech-Language Pathology
- Phonological Disorders
- Voice Disorders
- Methods in Speech & Hearing Therapy
- Motor Speech Disorders
- Cognitive-Communication Disorders in Brain Injury and Disease
You’ll also complete a clinical practicum as a part of your graduate program requirements. The State of Indiana requires the clinical practicum to consist of at least 400 hours of clinical experience supervised by a licensed speech-language pathologist.
Step 2. Earn Post-Graduate Experience Through the Completion of a Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY)
After graduating from your master’s program, you would begin a Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) supervised by a licensed speech-language pathologist in order to qualify for an Indiana SLP license.
The CFY must be at least 9 months, at 30 hours a week. You may also complete your CFY on a part-time basis, provided you finish it within 18 months.
Before you begin work on your CFY, you will need to apply for a temporary license, referred to as an initial license. This license lasts for 18 months or until you earn your permanent SLP license. To apply for your license, download the application for a Clinical Fellowship Year. Refer to the instructions for specific rules and processes.
Once you begin your CFY, you’ll receive unparalleled real world experience as a full-time professional SLP. Each practice has different clients and requirements, but the way you determine the specific needs of your patients is universally based on a framework outlined in the Scope of Practice for SLPs, drafted by ASHA. SLPs in training practice a wide variety of skills, including prevention methods and wellness, screening and assessment, and leadership and research skills.
Step 3. Pass the Speech-Language Pathologist Praxis Examination
You may take the national SLP exam, developed by ASHA and administered by Praxis at any time during or after your clinical fellowship year. This is the last major requirement for earning your license.
Start by registering for the exam. You’ll be able to select from test centers in the following Indiana cities:
- Fort Wayne
- New Albany
- Terre Haute
After registering for the exam, you can start studying. Praxis has provided a study companion and other test preparation materials. The exam has a time limit of 150 minutes and is 132 questions long. There are three main categories to the exam:
- Foundations and Professional Practice – 1/3 of the exam
- Factors that influence communication, feeding, and swallowing
- Counseling, collaboration, and teaming
- Legislation and client advocacy
- Screening, Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis – 1/3 of the exam
- Screening for disorders
- Developing case histories
- Assessing communication, feeding, and swallowing
- Causes of genetic and developmental disorders
- Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Treatment – 1/3 of the exam
- Determining appropriate treatment details
- Communicating recommendations and follow-ups
- Treatment of fluency disorders
- Hearing and aural rehabilitation
To pass the exam, you need to score 162 on a scale of 100 to 200.
Optional CCC-SLP Certification
Once you pass the exam, you can apply for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) credential through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), if desired. Although the CCC-SLP is not a requirement for licensure in Indiana, it the gold standard for professionalism in the field and can be helpful when seeking employment or starting an independent practice.
You can also submit your CCC-SLP certification in lieu of documentation when applying for your Indiana license if you elect to earn the credential.
Step 4. Become Licensed and Begin Your Career as a Speech-Language Pathologist
You can now apply for your SLP license in Indiana. Start by downloading the application. Send in your application with your graduate program transcripts, proof of your 400-hour clinical practicum during your graduate program, proof of your CFY, and proof of your passing score on the Praxis exam.
After your SLP license is approved, the Board will notify you of the approval, at which time you must take and pass the Indiana Jurisprudence Exam with a score of at least 75 percent. The jurisprudence exam covers the Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Statute, Administrative Rules, and the Health Professions Standards of Practice, all of which are detailed in the examination packet.
After passing the jurisprudence exam and receiving your Indiana SLP license, you can ready to begin your career:
- Many SLPs land a job with the employer that facilitated their CFY. You can also look for job postings listed by the Indiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association. They have a dedicated page, updated frequently with new job postings in Indiana.
- The State of Indiana hires a large number of SLPs in the public school system. There are additional licensure requirements for SLPs working in public schools. ASHA has summarized Indiana’s public school requirements for easy reference.
- Armed with your SLP license, you may consider starting an independent practice. You can travel to your clients or provide telepractice services from the comfort of your home.
Step 5. Maintain SLP Licensure and Complete Continuing Education Requirements
After earning your license, you must keep it up to date by renewing it every two years. You’ll receive an alert in the mail 90 days before the deadline. You can renew online or with paper documents. View the Renewal Information page for more information.
You also need to complete 36 hours of continuing education every two years to qualify for renewal. The Indiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ISHA) offers continuing education credits in the form of annual conventions and classes.
ISHA also accepts applications for membership in the association. Membership brings many professional benefits, including a statewide professional network, public education opportunities, and legislative support.