Beginning a graduate program in communicative sciences and disorders is the first step towards becoming a licensed SLP. There are five universities in Minnesota that offer SLP graduate programs accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation, and others available online. One of the accredited universities, St. Cloud State University, has its own Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic, which is both open to the public and used for students to gain clinical experience with patients.
Along with completing required clinical experience, your graduate study may lead you to connect with state organizations such as the Minnesota Speech-Language-Hearing Association (MSHA). MSHA advocates for SLPs in the state and acts as a hub of information related to legislative changes and insurance reforms that impact the practice of SLPs.
For instance, in 2015, Minnesota revised its telemedicine law to include Medicaid reimbursement for SLP services provided via tele practice. Telepractice has become a common practice model among SLPs, and has been shown to dramatically increase the number of patients who can access SLP services. With the new insurance reforms in place, it is expected that even more people in the state will gain access to vital SLP therapy as the services require fewer out of pocket expenses.
Two notable SLPs in the state are Maureen Ideker and Marsha Waind are recognized as pioneers of telehealth in the state:
- Ideker worked with the Minnesota Rural Health Association to ensure that clients in rural areas were able to receive speech-language pathology services
- Waind engaged in the state’s legislative processes leading up to the 2015 revision law
With a strong community of SLPs who are dedicated to reaching all individuals in the state who require speech therapy services, Minnesota is an excellent place to practice. You’ll receive your SLP license through the Minnesota Speech Language Pathology and Audiology Advisory Council. You may begin your journey by following the steps below:
Step 1. Earn a Master’s Degree from a CAA-Accredited Program
In order to practice as an SLP in Minnesota, you’ll need a master’s or higher degree in communicative sciences and disorders.
SLP programs tend to be competitive, and only accept a certain number of students per year. While requirements may vary depending on the university, most programs will require:
- An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above
- GRE quantitative score of 144 or above
- Excellent academic references
You might also consider volunteering in an SLP clinic or working with speech patients to build credibility before applying to a program, especially if your bachelor’s degree is not in communicative sciences and disorders.
The Minnesota SLP board requires that you receive your master’s degree from a program that has received accreditation from the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA). There are four CAA-accredited programs in the state, in addition to the CAA-accredited programs available online.
Depending on what you have completed during your undergraduate studies, you might need to complete prerequisites. These can include:
- Intro to Communication Disorders
- Into to Audiology
- Clinical and Diagnostic Procedures
- Research in SLP
- Speech Disorders in Children and Adults
- Voice Resonance & Fluency
Core courses will include a variety of topics, including disorders in children, disorders in adults, and the clinical procedures of speech therapy. They might include:
- Diagnosis of Communication Disorders
- Dysphagia and Pediatric Dysphagia
- Applications in Communication Modalities
- Seminars in Augmentative Communication
- Orofacial Disorders
- Disorders in Infants and Toddlers
- Disorders in School-Age Children
- Advanced Fluency Disorders
- Neurogenic Language & Speech Disorders
- Tracheostomy, Ventilator Dependency, & Laryngectomy
- Counseling Application
Electives might include:
- Audiology in a School Setting
- Cleft Palate Disorders & Treatment
- Treatment within the Autistic Community
- Neurocognitive Disorders & Treatment
You’ll also complete a clinical practicum through your graduate program. The practicum will allow you to shadow a licensed SLP and learn how to complete clinical and diagnostic procedures that are essential to working in the field.
Step 2. Apply for a Temporary License and Begin a 36-week Supervised Clinical Fellowship
Now that you’ve graduated, you may apply for a temporary license and begin seeking a clinical fellowship sponsor. Your clinical fellowship will be regulated by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and you must obtain a temporary license from the Minnesota SLP board in order to practice during your clinical fellowship, even under supervision.
To apply for your temporary license, you’ll need to mail the following documents to the board:
- Temporary license application, signed by your clinical fellowship supervisor
- Official graduate transcript
You can mail the documents to the board at:
Minnesota Department of Health
Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologist Licensing
P.O. Box 64882
St. Paul, Minnesota 55164
It usually takes one-two weeks for your application to be processed and to receive your temporary license. You won’t be able to begin your clinical fellowship until you hear back from the board.
Your clinical fellowship may be completed through full-time or part-time work, but it must be no less than 36 weeks or 1,260 hours of clinical experience.
Through your clinical fellowship, you’ll shadow a licensed SLP and gain experience:
- Assessing patients’ needs
- Diagnosing communicative disorders
- Developing written treatment plans with your supervisor
- Completing administrative tasks
- Working with varied populations
Your supervisor will provide you with feedback as you move through the activities and can help you determine which skills you still need to complete.
At the end of the 36-week process, you’ll need to complete the Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form and mail it to ASHA at:
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard #313
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Step 3. Pass the National SLP Exam and Consider Earning the CCC-SLP Credential
The next step is to pass the National Examination on Speech-Language Pathology. The exam is hosted through Praxis, and you may register through their online portal. To register, you’ll need to provide proof of completion of an SLP master’s degree and a 36-week clinical fellowship.
The exam is scored on a 100-200 scale, and you’ll need a 162 to pass.
The questions are made up of topics that you’ll have covered in your core curriculum, such as common speech disorders, feeding and swallowing processes, and voice and resonance issues. You’ll also cover clinical and diagnostic procedures in the test—disciplines you’ll have learned through your clinical fellowship.
To prepare, you might check out the following materials:
- Practice questions provided through Praxis
- A study guide with practice exams
- An interactive practice test through Praxis
You may take the exam from one of Minnesota’s practice exam centers, located in:
You’ll receive your national exam scores back after about three weeks. Once you’ve received a passing score, you’re eligible to apply for licensure through the Minnesota SLP Board.
You’re also eligible to apply for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP). The credential is offered through ASHA, and although the state of Minnesota does not require practicing SLPs to hold the credential, it may help add credibility when seeking employment. If you choose to become certified, you may apply online.
Step 4. Apply for Licensing and Begin Practicing as a Speech-Language Pathologist
You may now apply for licensing from the Minnesota SLP board. You’ll need to mail to the board:
- License Application
- Official graduate transcript
- Proof of completion of a supervised practicum
- Proof of completion of a supervised clinical fellowship
- Passing score on the National Examination in SLP
You’ll need to allow about six weeks for the board to process your application and to receive your license.
Upon becoming licensed as an SLP, you have several options of how to begin your career.:
Work for Your Clinical Fellowship Provider
You might consider contacting your clinical fellowship provider about job opportunities at the clinic. Your supervisor can act as a reference for you, and you may already have established relationships with clients and clients’ families. This is often a good way to begin practicing in a familiar environment.
Consider Starting an Independent Practice
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) help patients with communicative disorders meet their goals. In Minnesota, SLPs are particularly concerned with reaching students in the state’s rural school systems.
As a licensed SLP, you are able to start an independent practice or join a small partnership. If you’d like to focus on just a few clients or give attention to a specialty population, this is the route for you.
Pursue Job Openings in Minnesota
There are many school systems, rehab clinics, and hospitals in Minnesota which hire SLPs to perform speech therapy services. A few of these employers include:
- Family Achievement Center
- Fairview Health Services
- Minnetonka Pediatric Therapy Center
- Hennepin County Medical Center
- Encore Rehabilitation Services
- Intrepid Health
- Allina Health
- Wayzata Public Schools
- Big Stone Therapies
Step 5. Renew Your License Every Two Years and Complete Continuing Education Requirements
The Minnesota SLP board requires that you renew your license every two years with proof of completion of 30 contact hours of continuing education.
To renew, you may use the online system.
You can participate in continuing education credits such as workshops, seminars, conferences and classes that are hosted by ASHA, the MSHA, or another state or nationally recognized association related to speech-language pathology.
You’ll need to keep track of your hours with the CE Reporting Form.