Outreach and telepractice programs are just a couple examples of why speech-language therapy services are becoming more accessible to those that need it most. As accessibility increases, so does demand. In fact, Maine’s Center for Workforce Research and Information projects a 5.6 percent increase in the number of SLP licenses issued in the state during the years leading up to 2024 as demand continues to rise.
- Calvin University - Calvin University's Online Speech and Hearing Foundations Certificate - Helps You Gain a Strong Foundation for Your Speech-Language Pathology Career.
- Emerson College - Master's in Speech-Language Pathology online - Prepare to become an SLP in as few as 20 months. No GRE required. Scholarships available.
- NYU Steinhardt - NYU Steinhardt's Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders online - ASHA-accredited. Bachelor's degree required. Graduate prepared to pursue licensure.
- Arizona State University - Online Bachelor of Science in Speech and Hearing Science - Designed to prepare graduates to work in behavioral health settings or transition to graduate programs in speech-language pathology and audiology.
To become a speech therapist in Maine, you must earn licensure through the Board of Speech, Audiology, and Hearing, which requires completing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology, completing a 36-week clinical fellowship, and passing the national SLP exam.
Follow these steps to become a licensed speech-language pathologist in Maine:
Step 1. Complete a Qualifying Master’s Degree Program in Speech-Language Pathology
To earn SLP licensure in Maine, you must complete a master’s or higher degree in speech-language pathology through a program that is accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA).
CAA-accredited online speech-language pathology graduate programs are a popular option for students in Maine. The many online SLP programs across the country have allowed more students than ever to pursue their graduate education in the communicative sciences and disorders, thanks to their flexible scheduling options and web-based delivery methods.
Online CAA-accredited SLP programs are particularly beneficial for students in Maine, as there is just one campus-based master’s degree located here: The Master of Arts in Communicative Disorders and Sciences from the University of Maine in Orono.
While a bachelor’s degree in the field of communication sciences and disorders will facilitate the quickest path into an SLP master’s program, you may still pursue a master’s degree if your undergraduate degree is in another field.
Most SLP master’s programs will actually help facilitate the completion of prerequisite and foundational courses online before you begin your graduate studies.
These courses would typically include:
- Speech and Language Development
- Speech Science
- Diagnostic Audiology
- Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech MechanismPhonetics
Graduate Level Curriculum
Master’s degree programs consist of approximately 48 credits and take between 2 to 3 years to complete. Some of the core courses in a master’s degree in SLP include:
- Articulation and Phonology Disorders
- Voice Disorders
- Language Disorders in Children
- Seminar in Clinical Procedures
- Diagnostic Process in Speech-Language Pathology
- Neurocognitive Disorders in Adults
Your graduate program would include a clinical practicum of at least 400 hours—25 of which must be spent in client observation and 375 of which must be spent in direct client contact in order to meet Maine’s licensing requirements.
Step 2. Complete a 36-Week Clinical Fellowship Program
After completing your master’s degree, you would transition to a clinical fellowship program that consists of 36 weeks of supervised professional experience under the guidance and mentorship of licensed speech-language pathologists.
While completing your required professional experience (RPE), you must hold a temporary SLP license. To apply for a temporary license, you would fill out an application and the Supervision Form for Temporary Licensees (located at the end of the application document) and send them to the Board, along with the official transcripts from your graduate program.
During your clinical fellowship, you’ll encounter a wide variety of scenarios that demand different solutions. ASHA has drafted a Scope of Practice for SLPs that details some of the tasks you’ll become familiar with, such as how to assess and diagnose disorders, suggest treatment plans, and help clients with advocacy issues in the State Legislature.
You would pursue and secure a fellowship opportunity much the same way you would a job. As you look for employers interested in taking on a fellow, consider your own career goals and interests since this is your first opportunity to gain real world experience in a practice setting that interests you, and your fellowship could lead to full time employment once you are licensed.
Just some of the employers in Maine that may be looking to take on a fellow include:
- Soliant Health, Togus
- Aureus Medical Group, Belfast
- Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick
- Southern Maine Speech and Language Services, Windham
Step 3. Pass the Speech-Language Pathologist Praxis Examination
A passing score on the national SLP exam, administered by Praxis, is the final requirement for state licensure as an SLP in Maine. Start by registering for the exam on the Praxis website at any time during or after your fellowship.
You’ll be able to select from test centers in:
- Fort Kent
- Presque Isle
- South Portland
The exam consists of 132 questions that must be completed in 150 minutes. The exam is divided into three different categories, which you can study using the preparation materials. Here’s an overview of the test content:
- Foundations and Professional Practice – 1/3 of the exam
- Factors that influence communication, feeding, and swallowing
- Wellness and prevention
- Counseling, collaboration, and teaming
- Research methodology and evidence-based practice
- Screening, Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis – 1/3 of the exam
- Causes of genetic and developmental diseases
- Assessment of fluency, hearing, feeding, and swallowing issues
- Assessing factors that influence communication and swallowing disorders
- Developing case histories
- Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Treatment – 1/3 of the exam
- Treatment of fluency, hearing, feeding, and swallowing disorders
- Communication impairments related to cognition
- Generating a prognosis
- Developing treatment plans and recommendations
A passing score on the exam is 162 on a scale of 100-200.
Optional CCC-SLP Certification
After passing the Praxis exam, you can also apply for CCC-SLP (Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology) certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Although CCC-SLP certification is not a requirement for state licensure, you may choose to earn this designation because of the professional opportunities it presents.
You can also submit proof of your CCC-SLP certification in lieu of providing other documents when applying for your Maine SLP license.
Step 4. Become Licensed and Begin Your Career as a Speech-Language Pathologist
To apply for your Maine SLP license, fill out the Application for Licensure and submit it to the Board, along with your graduate transcripts. Praxis will furnish the Maine Board of Speech, Audiology, and Hearing with your exam score.
With a license in hand, a number of professional opportunities are available to you:
- You may secure full time employment with the clinic, school, hospital, rehab center or long-term care facility where you completed your clinical fellowship to begin your career. If you’re interested in exploring other opportunities, you can also peruse the jobs posted through the Maine Speech-Language-Hearing Association. You must become a member to view job postings and enjoy other professional benefits.
- Many SLPs choose to be their own boss, starting their own independent practice and traveling to see their clients. Telepractice is also a common pursuit, allowing SLPs to work from home while providing distance-based speech and language services to their clients.
ASHA offers four different specialty certifications that highlight your specific SLP skillset and complement the CCC-SLP you may now hold. These include:
- Swallowing and swallowing disorders
- Intraoperative monitoring
- Fluency and fluency disorders
- Child language and language disorders
Specialty certification is especially important if you are offering specialized services as an independent practitioner. Learn more about Clinical Specialty Certification through ASHA.
Step 5. Maintain SLP Licensure and Complete Continuing Education Requirements
To keep your license up to date, you’ll need to renew once yearly. You would renew your license online upon receiving notification from the Board.
You also need to keep your skills up to date through the completion of 10 continuing education hours each year.
The Maine Speech-Language-Hearing Association offers continuing education opportunities in the form of a yearly conference course, conventional courses, and other programs. They also offer a connection to a statewide professional network, career advancement assistance, and professional advocacy.
Speech-Language Pathology Salary in Maine
Maine’s most experienced speech-language pathologists earned an average salary of $87,970 ($36.04/hr) as of 2015 according to the state’s Center for Workforce Research and Information. That year, the overall statewide average SLP salary was $63,900 ($30.72/hr)
As the demand grows in Maine for speech-language pathology services, Center for Workforce Research estimates suggest that an average of 22 jobs a year will become available between 2014 and 2024.
An unusually large number of SLPs practice in the nonmetropolitan area of Southwest Maine. This area had the 3rd highest number of licensed SLPs of any nonmetropolitan area in the country in 2015 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Detailed Salary Analysis for Speech-Language Pathologists in Urban and Rural Maine
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides an analysis of the hourly wages and annual salaries for speech-language pathologists in Maine’s major cities and nonmetropolitan areas (2015):
Salaries of Speech-Language Pathologists in Maine’s Counties
The average salary for SLPs varied by more than $18,000 in Maine’s counties. Shown below is the range of salaries from the average to the 75th percentile as published by the Maine Center for Workforce Research and Information in 2015:
- Annual: $68,678 – $77,707
- Hourly: $33.02 – $37.36
- Annual: $60,505 – $71,309
- Hourly: $29.09 – $34.28
- Annual: $67,239 – $78,970
- Hourly: $32.33 – $37.97
- Annual: $50,444 – $62,796
- Hourly: $24.25 – $30.19
- Annual: $61,490 – $73,346
- Hourly: $29.56 – $35.36
- Annual: $58,206 – $76,963
- Hourly: $27.98 – $37.00
- Annual: $59,824 – $72,140
- Hourly: $28.76 – $34.68
- Annual: $63,158 – $72,435
- Hourly: $30.36 – $34.82
- Annual: $67,848 – $83618
- Hourly: $32.62 – $40.20
- Annual: $59,371 – $70,563
- Hourly: $28.54 – $33.92
- Annual: $64,413 – $72,763
- Hourly: $30.97 – $34.98
Videoconferencing Helps Seniors and Students Obtain Speech Therapy in Rural Maine
With the baby boomer population growing older, the number of people in need of speech therapy due to stroke and hearing loss increased dramatically in recent years. Obtaining such specialized help is a particular problem for the residents of rural Maine. In addition, providing specialized help to schoolchildren with conditions such as autism proves prohibitively expensive in rural parts of the state.
The Portland Press Herald described how professor Judy Walker helps to solve these problems with a videoconferencing program that she developed at the University of Maine. Speech-language pathologists use online video technology to provide help to people in distant parts of the state.
Walker funded the program with a $174,000 grant from the Next Generation Foundation of Maine, and as of August 2016, served 40 clients. She is working to expand the program which provides critical speech therapy to people who would otherwise lack access to these services.