With eight institutions in Michigan that offer graduate programs in speech-language pathology accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA), and more offered online, the state is home to a thriving community of clinical practitioners, academicians, researchers and policy advocates focused on communicative sciences and disorders.
And at the center of this network of SLPs is the Michigan Speech-Language-Hearing Association (MSHA). Through this professional association, SLPs have access to continuing education and networking opportunities through seminars and conferences. MSHA’s annual conferences highlight the latest advances in communication sciences and disorders and current research in the field, with topics that have included everything from autism treatment and aphasia to dysphagia and functional neuroanatomy.
MSHA also offers scholarships to students pursuing graduate degrees in the field and honors exemplary SLPs in the state who have made significant contributions to the field through both clinical practice and research.
Follow the steps in this guide to learn how you can earn your SLP license through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs – Board of Speech-Language Pathology:
Step 1. Complete a Master’s Degree Program in Communicative Sciences and Disorders
The Michigan Board of Speech-Language Pathology requires candidates for licensure to hold a master’s or doctorate degree in the field of communicative sciences and disorders. The program must be accredited by ASHA’s Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) or another accrediting agency recognized by the US Department of Education.
Accredited online programs offer:
- A flexible schedule, ideal for working students
- The ability to complete clinical hours in hospitals and private practices close to home
- A greater variety of program options
Admissions Requirements and Foundational Courses
Most SLP graduate programs don’t require a bachelor’s degree in communicative sciences and disorders, but all programs will require an excellent academic record.
Admissions departments look for GPAs of above 3.0, high GRE scores, and a resume that includes previous work experience or volunteer hours in the speech-language pathology field.
If you don’t already have a bachelor’s degree in communicative sciences and disorders, you’ll be required to complete prerequisite courses online through the university before beginning graduate studies. These can include:
- Introduction to Language Science
- Introduction to Clinical Procedures
- Introduction to Diagnostic Procedures
- Fundamentals of Audiology
- Common Speech Disorders
- Speech Sound Disorders
Graduate-Level Courses and Clinical Practicum
Core courses will cover more specific disorders and patient populations, including:
- Child Language Disorders/Preschool
- Child Language Disorders/ School Age
- Articulation & Phonological Issues
- SLP Diagnostics
- Neurocognitive Disorders
- Voice & Velopharyngeal Disorders
- Motor Speech & Treatment
- Fluency & Resonance
Electives may be selected based on your area of interest or the population you wish to serve. They can include:
- Counseling in SLP
- Educational Audiology
- Cleft and Craniofacial Disorders
- Autistic Spectrum Treatment
- Neurocognitive Disorders
- Voice Fluency & Resonance
Along with classroom courses, your program will also require a practicum. A practicum is completed in a clinic under the direct supervision of a licensed SLP. You’ll learn how to assess and diagnose patients, and you’ll work on treatment plans and therapeutic methods under the guidance of your supervisor.
Step 2. Complete a Supervised Postgraduate Clinical Experience
You’ll need to compete 1,260 hours of a clinical fellowship program before moving on to licensing. The clinical fellowship is completed after you’ve earned your master’s degree but before becoming fully licensed to practice—the idea is to help you gain experience with a variety of populations and patients so that you’ll be fully prepared to serve patients with a range of communicative disorders once you’ve started your career.
Your supervisor—who must be a licensed SLP in the state of Michigan—will help you develop a plan for your clinical experience, breaking it down in to sections and tasks to be completed. You’ll also participate in feedback sessions with your supervisor to be sure you’re meeting the expected outcomes.
At least 1,008 hours of the 1,260 hours must involve clinical contact, including direct client or client assessment, consultations, recordkeeping, and administrative duties.
You’ll also complete on-site observations, including screening, evaluation, assessment, and habilitation or rehabilitation activates.
Michigan also requires that you complete training in identifying victims of human trafficking before becoming licensed. The training is meant to help you:
- Understand the venues of human trafficking
- Identify victims in healthcare settings
- Identify the warning signs
- Have a knowledge of resources for reporting the suspected victims of human trafficking
The training must be completed through a nationally recognized or state-recognized health-related organization. This could include ASHA or the MSHA. It’s usually completed during your clinical fellowship period.
Step 3. Pass the National Examination in Speech-Language Pathology
The Michigan board requires that you receive a passing score of at least 162 on the National Speech-Language Pathology exam, hosted by Praxis.
You can register for the exam online, provided that you meet the requirements for examination. Requirements include:
- Official graduate transcript from an ASHA accredited university
- Proof of completion of a clinical fellowship
The Praxis SLP exam study companion will help you understand the topics covered by the exam and offers practice questions for self-review.
The test will cover topics such as:
- Feeding and Swallowing
- Therapeutic Measures
- Voice Resonance
- Speech and Production
- Motor Speech
- Variances in Language
- Social and Cognitive Aspects of Communication
- Hearing Processes
You’ll need to take the exam at a Praxis test center in Michigan, which are located in:
- Ann Arbor
- East Lansing
- Grand Rapids
- Mount Pleasant
- Sault STE Marie
At this point, when you have received your passing score on the national exam, you can choose whether you want to seek certification through ASHA or not. The Certification of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) is an additional credential that may help you in your search for employment, but it is not required by the Michigan SLP board. You can apply for it through ASHA.
Step 4. Apply for Licensing and Begin Practicing as a Speech-Language Pathologist
It may take a few weeks to receive your scores from the national exam, but once you receive them you may apply for licensing through the Michigan board.
You’ll need to submit:
- A completed application
- Official transcripts from your graduate program
- A Clinical Fellowship Rating and Report Form, signed and mailed by your supervisor
You can mail the forms to the board at:
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Bureau of Health Care Services
Board of Speech-Language Pathology
PO Box 30670
Lansing MI 48909
After a few weeks, your application will be processed and your license issued. Now you may begin seeking a career in SLP in Michigan.
Join the Clinic That Provided Postgraduate Clinical Experience
One option to begin your career is to join the clinic that provided you with your postgraduate clinical experience. You may already be familiar with the clinic’s procedures, staff, and patients, so this is often an easy way to transition into the career.
Consider Starting an Independent Practice
In Michigan, your SLP license allows you to practice independently. If you’d like the flexibility of setting your own schedule and taking on specific client populations, you may want to go this route. You can also start a partnership with another SLP.
Pursue Job Openings in Michigan
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in Michigan fill vital roles throughout the state in private practices, hospitals, and the school system.
Regardless of your career goals as an SLP, there are plenty of opportunities for you in Michigan. You might seek employment through the following providers or similar entities:
- Rehab Care
- Advantage Therapy Services
- Therapists Unlimited
- Education Support Services
- Detroit Premier Academy
- Botsford Hospital
- Encore Rehabilitation Services
- Peyton and Davenport
- Spectrum Health
- Beaumont Hospitals
- Mid-Michigan Health
- Custom Home Health
Step 5. Keep your License Current and Complete Continuing Education Requirements
You’ll have to renew your Michigan SLP license every two years with proof of twenty completed clock hours of continuing education.
You may renew by mailing the renewal form to the Michigan board with a $115.00 fee.
At least one clock hour of continuing education must be in pain and symptom management.
You’ll need to gain your continuing education hours through the ASHA, the MSHA, or another nationally or state recognized organization.