The Kansas Department of Health and Environment offers early intervention services under the Individuals with Disabilities Act for residents of all kinds, including infants and toddlers, through a program known simply as “Plan C.” It is through Plan C that the State offers speech-language pathology services to families with developmentally challenged children. Kansas shows its commitment by continuing to monitor program participants and offering support to families if the developmental issues are not resolved through remedial intervention services.
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This focus on early intervention goes well beyond what is offered through State programs, with many local clinics, rehabilitation centers, and hospitals providing similar interventions and monitoring for patients and clients.
If you’re ready to join the growing number of speech-language pathologists improving the lives of children and adults suffering with inability to communicate effectively, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about becoming a licensed speech-language pathologist through the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.
To get licensed in Kansas, you’ll need to earn a master’s degree in speech-language pathology or its equivalent from an accredited university, complete a clinical fellowship program, and pass the national SLP exam. Follow these steps to learn how to become a speech therapist in Kansas.
Step 1. Complete a Qualifying Master’s Degree Program in Speech-Language Pathology or Its Equivalent
The State of Kansas requires a master’s degree or equivalent education in speech-language pathology from a program that is similar to those available through Kansas state universities, or otherwise one that has received accreditation through ASHA’s (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA).
Accredited graduate programs in communication sciences and disorders offered online provide an unmatched level of flexibility, allowing you to set your own pace and access course materials whenever and wherever you would like.
Foundational Course Requirements
Many graduate programs do not specifically require enrolling students to hold a bachelor’s degree in communicative sciences and disorders, but in fact welcome graduate students from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds.
Students who have not previously completed foundational courses at the undergraduate level are often given the opportunity to complete the requisite coursework online through the university before beginning the SLP graduate program.
Graduate Program Requirements
You can expect to study the following topics in-depth at the graduate level:
- Applied Phonology
- Fluency Disorders
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Motor Speech Disorders
- Voice Disorders
- Anatomy and Physiology of Speech Mechanisms
- Early Language Development
As a part of your program, you will also complete a 400-hour clinical practicum under the guidance of a licensed speech-language pathologist in a variety of settings. For online students, practicum advisors are available to help find placement with a local supervising SLP who will facilitate clinical experience rotations in clinics and other settings in the area.
For those that prefer a campus-based experience, there are a number of communicative sciences and speech-language pathology graduate programs available in Kansas.
- Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at Fort Hays State University
- Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders with an emphasis on Speech-Language Pathology at Kansas State University
- Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology at The University of Kansas
- Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology at Wichita State University
Step 2. Gain At Least 9-Months of Supervised Professional Experience Through a Clinical Fellowship Program
The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services requires 9 months of postgraduate professional experience supervised by a licensed speech-language pathologist that you can complete on a full-time or part-time basis:
- 35 hours a week or more for 9 months
- 25-34 hours a week for 12 months
- 20-24 hours a week for 15 months
- 15-19 hours a week for 18 months
- Working less than 15 hours a week will not count towards your RPE
Kansas regulations require you to spend 80% of the workweek in direct contact with clients if you are working full-time, or 100% of the workweek if following a part-time schedule.
A temporary license is required during your fellowship. Temporary licenses are issued for a period of 12-months and can be renewed once for those following a part-time schedule. To get the temporary license, you need to submit two forms:
- License application form (temporary license)
- Supervised Postgraduate Professional Experience Plan
Much of what you’ll be doing during your fellowship will be very similar to the work you’ll do after becoming licensed: administrating treatments to patients, helping develop treatment plans, learning about research methods and opportunities, and growing familiar with legislative and advocacy issues.
Be sure to fill out the Clinical Fellowship Report form (optional, if you choose to pursue the CCC-SLP credential through ASHA) and the Supervised Postgraduate Professional Experience Documentation Form (required for licensure in Kansas) at the end of your fellowship.
Step 3. Pass the National Praxis Examination
You can register for the national Speech-Language Pathology Exam through the Praxis registration page. You are able to select from test locations in Emporia, Hays, Lawrence, Manhattan, Overland Park, Pittsburg, Topeka, and Wichita.
The exam has a time limit of 150 minutes and has 132 multiple choice questions. The exam is broken up into three categories, which you can study at length using the study materials Praxis provides.
The exam will consist of three general categories:
- Foundations and Professional Practice – 1/3 of the exam
- Screening, Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis – 1/3 of the exam
- Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Treatment – 1/3 of the exam
To pass the exam, you need to score a 162 on a scale of 100-200.
Consider Applying for the CCC-SLP Credential
After you pass the exam, you can apply for the CCC-SLP (Certificate of Clinical Competency in Speech-Language Pathology) through the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). This is an optional step that is not a requirement for licensure in Kansas.
Fill out the Application for the CCC-SLP and submit it with official transcripts of your graduate program and the Clinical Fellowship Report form. After reviewing your application, ASHA will send you your CCC-SLP.
After earning your CCC-SLP, you could also pursue specialty certifications through ASHA. These are completely voluntary, and they indicate exceptional skill in the respective specialty areas:
- Child language and language disorders
- Fluency and fluency disorders
- Swallowing and swallowing disorders
- Intraoperative monitoring
Learn more about your options at ASHA’s specialty certification page.
Step 4. Become Licensed and Begin Your Career as a Speech-Language Pathologist in Kansas
To apply for your Kansas SLP license, you need to fill out the application form and submit it with your Supervised Postgraduate Professional Experience Documentation form, and an official transcript from your graduate program. After reviewing your application, the State will issue your license.
After becoming licensed, many SLPs return to the clinic or hospital where they completed their fellowship.
You can also explore the “Positions Available” page on the Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. As of late 2016, there were a wide variety of positions available, including a faculty position in a university communicative sciences and disorders department, public school district openings, and clinical opportunities.
If you feel that you have something unique to offer the speech-language pathology community and the necessary capitol, starting a private clinic is something worth considering. This would allow you to create a practice that aligns with your personal vision, which could involve assembling a team of specialized SLPs and audiologists to serve your clients.
Step 5. Maintain SLP Licensure and Complete Continuing Education Requirements
Kansas SLP licenses need to be renewed every two years. You need to complete 20 hours of continuing education during each two year period in order to keep your license up to date.
You can meet those requirements by attending the annual conference hosted by the Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association (KSHA).
Speech-Language Pathology Salary in Kansas
Experienced speech-language pathologists in Kansas earned an average salary of $79,810 as of 2015 according to the state’s Department of Labor. The median salary among SLPs was $65,965 that year.The comparable hourly wages for these categories ranged from $31.71 to $38.37
The Kansas Department of Labor provided a summary of counties that had the highest average salary for speech-language pathologists:
- Shawnee County: $82,043
- Wyandotte County: $79,155
- Crawford County: $77,273
- Johnson County: $76,441
- Miami County: $73,056
- Sumner County: $59,605
- Douglas County: $55,872
- Sedgwick County: $54,567
- Reno County: $48,086
- Leavenworth County: $48,000
Salaries for Speech-Language Pathologists in the Major Cities and Rural Areas of Kansas
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a detailed analysis of the hourly wages and annual salaries for speech-language pathologists in Wichita, Topeka, Lawrence and two nonmetropolitan areas of northern Kansas (2015):
Salaries for Speech-Language Pathologists in the Most Populated Counties in Kansas
The range of SLP salaries for the most populated counties in Kansas as published by the state’s Department of Labor is shown below. Values range from the median salary among the counties’ SLPs to salaries for the most experienced professionals earning within the 70th percentile.
- Annual: $77,273 – $92,259
- Hourly: $37.15 – $44.36
- Annual: $55,872 – $64,819
- Hourly: $26.86 – $31.16
- Annual: $76,441 – $82,866
- Hourly: $36.75 – $39.84
- Annual: $48,000 – $59,402
- Hourly: $23.08 – $28.56
- Annual: $48,086 – $59,791
- Hourly: $23.12 – $28.75
- Annual: $68,481 – $82,723
- Hourly: $32.92 – $39.77
- Annual: $54,567 – $63,094
- Hourly: $26.23 – $30.33
- Annual: $82,043 – $92,753
- Hourly: $39.44 – $44.59
- Annual: $79,155 – $84,833
- Hourly: $38.06 – $40.79
Job Growth Projections for the Field of Speech-Language Pathology in Kansas
The number of jobs for speech-language pathologists in Kansas should increase by 15.3% between 2012 and 2022—an increase that is 27% greater than the average job growth rate in the state. This rate of growth should generate an average of 40 SLP positions a year during the ten-year period of these projections (Kansas Department of Labor).
Private clinics provide a source for satisfying work for speech-language pathologists, and Kansas is home to a number of clinics that specialize in the field:
- Fairway: Kansas Speech Language Hearing
- Junction City: Speech-Language Services of Geary
- Lawrence: Schiefelbusch Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic
- Lawrence: Trena T. Rausch, MA
- Leawood: Children’s Therapy Services, Inc.
- Overland Park: Billings Speech Pathology Services
- Overland Park: Bringing Therapy Home
- Overland Park: Jennie L. Bjorem, MA, CCC-SLP Speech-Language Pathologist
- Pittsburg: Southeast KS Speech Path Services
- Pittsburg: White Gentry
- Shawnee Mission: Deborah A. King & Associates