How to Become a Speech Therapist in Louisiana

To become licensed as a speech-language pathologist in Louisiana, you need to meet qualifications set by the Louisiana Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.

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To become a speech therapist, the Board requires a master’s degree in speech-language pathology or communication sciences and disorders, a 9-month clinical fellowship, and a passing score on the SLP Praxis exam.


Complete a Qualifying Graduate Degree Program in Speech-Language Pathology
Gain Required Professional Experience (RPE) Through a Clinical Fellowship Program
Pass the National Examination and Consider Pursuing the CCC-SLP Credential
Become Licensed and Begin Your Career as a Speech-Language Pathologist in Louisiana
Maintain SLP Licensure and Complete Continuing Education Requirements



Step 1. Complete a Qualifying Master’s Degree Program in Speech-Language Pathology

To qualify for licensure as a speech-language pathologist in Louisiana you must hold a graduate degree from an accredited university in speech-language pathology. Your total educational preparation must consist of at least 75 semester hours specific to SLP courses, 36 of which must be at the graduate level.

Online programs offer a greater degree of flexibility in terms of course scheduling and program pacing, allowing you take an extra year or more to complete the requirements for graduation.

Foundational Course Requirements

Many master’s programs in the field of communication sciences and disorders do not require that you have a bachelor’s degree in the same field. If you do have such a degree, many of your undergraduate classes will count towards the state semester-hour requirement for SLP courses.

If you hold an undergraduate degree in an unrelated area, you will find most institutions give you an opportunity to satisfy prerequisite foundational courses online at the beginning of your program.


Graduate Courses and Clinical Practicum 

In any communicative disorders and sciences program, the classes offered will share similarities. Here’s a sample of classes offered at University of Louisiana, Monroe:

  • Research in Speech-Language Pathology
  • Seminar in Articulation
  • Language Disorders in Children
  • Augmentative/Alternative Communication
  • Audiology for the Speech-Language Pathologist

As a part of your graduate program, you’ll also be completing a clinical practicum. The State of Louisiana requires a 400-hour practicum as a part of the licensing requirements, completed under the supervision of a licensed speech-language pathologist.

There are five different graduate programs in Louisiana that meet the state requirements:

  • Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology at Louisiana State University
  • Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology at Louisiana Technical University
  • Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Southeastern Louisiana University
  • Master of Science in Communicative Disorders at University of Louisiana, Lafayette
  • Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at University of Louisiana, Monroe

These traditional programs meet on campus and include the 36 graduate-level credits required for licensure, along with additional electives.


Step 2. Gain Required Professional Experience (RPE) Through a Clinical Fellowship Program

The Louisiana Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology requires 9 months or 36 weeks of full time postgraduate professional experience, supervised by a licensed speech-language pathologist.

To complete your RPE, you need to apply for a Provisional SLP License. Start by filling out the SLP application and checking the box on the 6th page indicating you are applying for a provisional license. You’ll need to send in a transcript from your graduate program indicating you’ve graduated and completed a 400-hour clinical practicum.

You also need to pass the national SLP exam within a year of receiving your provisional license, whether or not you complete your RPE in that period of time. Your provisional license can be renewed each year, for up to three years. You have to complete your RPE in those three years.

After you find employment, you need to submit the Supervision Agreement Form to verify that you are beginning your RPE with a provisional license.

During your RPE, you’ll be gaining first hand experience as a speech-language pathologist. To help with the learning process, ASHA has developed the Scope of Practice for SLPs to outline many of the basic concepts you will be expected to master during your supervised RPE, including assessment and treatment, counseling, leadership, client advocacy, and application of new technologies.



Step 3. Pass the National Examination and Consider Pursuing the CCC-SLP Credential

You can register for the Speech-Language Pathology Praxis Exam using the instructions on the registration page. You’ll able to choose from test centers in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Bossier City, Hammond, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Metairie, Monroe, Natchitoches, New Orleans, Slidell, and West Monroe.

The exam has a 150-minute limit, and there are 132 questions. The test is divided into three equal categories. You can study for the exam using the Praxis Preparation Materials.

Overview of exam content:

  • Foundations and Professional Practice – 1/3 of the exam
    • Wellness and prevention
    • Development of disorders
    • Characteristics of common disorders
    • Research methodology
  • Screening, Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis – 1/3 of the exam
    • Communication disorders
    • Feeding and swallowing disorders
    • Assessing factors that influence disorders
    • Social aspects of communication
    • Causes of genetic and developmental disorders
  • Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Treatment – 1/3 of the exam
    • Evaluating factors that can affect treatment
    • Establishing methods for monitoring treatment
    • Treatment of speech sound production issues
    • Communication impairments related to cognition

To pass the exam, you need to score 162 on a scale of 100-200.

Certification of Clinical Competency in Speech-Language Pathology through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

One path to licensure as an SLP in Louisiana is to earn the CCC-SLP (Certification of Clinical Competency in Speech-Language Pathology through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), which would also involve passing the Praxis exam.

Earning the credential is not a requirement for becoming licensed in Louisiana, but is worth considering for the respect it garners and the increased level of mobility it offers since the credential is recognized nationally.

Once you complete your RPE, be sure to fill out the ASHA SLP Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form. This is used to verify your RPE to ASHA when you apply for your CCC-SLP.

After you pass the exam, you can apply for the CCC-SLP. Fill out the Application for the CCC-SLP and submit it with official transcripts from your graduate program and the Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form you filled out after your RPE.



Step 4. Become Licensed and Begin Your Career as a Speech-Language Pathologist in Louisiana

After taking the exam, you’ve completed the three major licensure requirements:

  • Earned a master’s degree in speech-language pathology that included a 400-hour clinical practicum
  • Worked 9 months with a licensed speech-language pathologists to complete your Required Professional Experience
  • Passed the national SLP exam

You can now apply for your Louisiana SLP license. Fill out the Application for License and submit it to the Board with an official transcript from your graduate program, proof of your RPE, and test scores from Praxis. After reviewing your application, the Board will send you your license.

The career options for licensed SLPs in Louisiana are vast. As a licensed SLP, you can get your career started by …

Pursuing Job Openings

Many SLPs have a job waiting for them at the clinic or hospital where they completed their RPE, making for an easy transition into a permanent career.

If you’re interested in pursuing different jobs in Louisiana, start by searching through the Louisiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association Career Center page. Here you will find local employers that have posted new job openings for SLPs and Audiologists, as well as search results from the web beyond what was posted here directly.

As a licensed SLP, you’ll be qualified to work in public schools, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and nursing homes. One of the largest clinics in Baton Rouge is the Emerge Center; an excellent clinic founded in the1960’s to help children who had gone deaf from Rubella. Now, they offer speech, hearing, and autism services, among many other specialized services.

Starting A Private Practice

Perhaps you have a different goal in mind for your career. Starting your own practice as an independent practitioner can be a great option for reaching that goal. You can hire your own specialized team of SLPs, audiologists, and autism experts, as well as create an inviting and supportive atmosphere for your patients and their caregivers.

Earning Specialty Certifications

You can pursue specialty certifications through ASHA on top of your CCC-SLP. These certifications demonstrate to employers and clients alike that you have exceptional skill in a particular area of communicative science.

ASHA offers four specialty certification options:

  • Intraoperative monitoring
  • Swallowing disorders
  • Fluency disorders
  • Child language and language disorders

You can read more about these on the Clinical Specialty Certification page.



Step 5. Maintain SLP Licensure and Complete Continuing Education Requirements

After you earn your license, you need to renew it every year. You’ll need to complete 10 hours of continuing education each year to be in compliance with license maintenance requirements through the Louisiana Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.

You can renew your license by logging onto the Board website.

The Louisiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association (LSHA) offers continuing education classes each year through their annual conference. If you become a member of the Association, various fees for attending the conference are waived. Additionally, there are benefits in the form of a national network to provide professional advocacy and client support.

Speech-Language Pathology Salary in Louisiana

Speech-language pathologists in Louisiana who earned salaries that fell within the top ten percent enjoyed an average income of $94,474 ($45.42 hourly) as of 2015 according to the state’s Workforce Commission. Overall, SLPs in the state earned an average salary of $63,414 ($30.49 hourly).

The Louisiana Workforce Commission predicts that the number of jobs for speech-language pathologists in the state will increase by 14.5% between 2014 and 2024. Ninety jobs should become available in Louisiana each year on average during this period. Growth rates are expected to be even higher in these three regions:

  • Lake Charles Region—18.8%
  • New Orleans Region—15.4%
  • Baton Rouge Region—15.0%

In addition to enjoying a rapid rate of job growth, the New Orleans and Baton Rouge Regions were home to nearly 50% of Louisiana’s 2,210 SLPs as of 2015.

Detailed Salary Analysis for Louisiana’s Speech-Language Pathologists

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a detailed analysis of the salaries for speech-language pathologists practicing throughout Louisiana as of 2015:

Area name
Annual mean wage
Alexandria LA
Baton Rouge LA
Hammond LA
Houma-Thibodaux LA
Lafayette LA
Lake Charles LA
Monroe LA
New Orleans-Metairie LA
Shreveport-Bossier City LA
Central Louisiana nonmetropolitan area
Northeast Louisiana nonmetropolitan area

Speech-Language Pathologist Salaries in Louisiana by Region

The values shown below are provided for comparative purposes. They represent the salary and hourly wage range (from the average to the 90th percentile average) for Louisiana’s SLPs as published by the Louisiana Workforce Commission in 2016:

Alexandria Region:

  • Annual: $72,774 – $114,379
  • Hourly: $34.99 – $54.99

Baton Rouge Region:

  • Annual: $64,645 – $100,776
  • Hourly: $31.08 – $48.85

Houma Region:

  • Annual: $54,676 – $62,733
  • Hourly: $26.29 – $30.16

Lafayette Region:

  • Annual: $57,561 – $77,771
  • Hourly: $27.67 – $37.39

Lake Charles Region:

  • Annual: $66,165 – $112,258
  • Hourly: $31.79 – $53.97

Monroe Region:  

  • Annual: $64,972 – $91,562
  • Hourly: $31.24 – $44.02

New Orleans Region:

  • Annual: $63,464 – $89,170
  • Hourly: $30.51 – $42.87

Shreveport Region:

  • Annual: $62,915 – $104,562
  • Hourly: $30.25 – $50.27

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