How to Become a Speech-Language Pathologist in Mississippi

The services of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are absolutely vital to clients who suffer from a range of communicative disorders. Through speech-language pathology, you’ll have the opportunity to help clients restore or rehabilitate speech and reach personal goals.

If you want to pursue an SLP master’s degree in Mississippi, you may choose from four different universities throughout the state that are accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Staying in-state has its benefits; in 2015, a bill was passed to fund the Speech-Language Pathologist Loan forgiveness program, available for graduates of master’s programs who agree to work in a Mississippi public school for at least two years.

Understand how to become a professional, certified speech pathologist by learning more about the following online programs. Through these Master’s degree tracks, you’ll be able to gain the knowledge base and credentials to deliver proactive, direct care. Discover more about your future in speech pathology today.

Featured Programs:

As an SLP in Mississippi, it’s important to connect with other speech-language pathology professionals in the state who are making advances in research, legislation, and clinical practice. One way to stay connected is through the Mississippi Speech-Language-Hearing Association (MSHA), a group of SLP professionals who hold continuing education workshops and seminars and stay active in any and all legislation in the state that affects the practice of SLP

Some notable SLPs in the state who have been honored by the MSHA include Nancy Gatewood, for her speech therapy work in Mississippi public schools; Kim Ward, for her advancement of knowledge in clinical practice in speech-therapy; and Maureen Martin, for her contributions to the field.

You might choose to work with a specific population through speech therapy; in 2015, the Mississippi University for Women unveiled a program to help both children and adults with dyslexia, stating that patients who suffer from dyslexia are often marginalized and misunderstood. Through speech therapy and evidence-based interventions, SLPs at the clinic are making a difference in the lives of patients with dyslexia.

Your license will be issued by the Mississippi Department of Health, Professional Licensure Division. You may follow the steps below to begin your career as an SLP in Mississippi:

Earn a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology
Apply for a Temporary License and Complete Nine Months of Supervised Professional Employment
Pass the National SLP Exam and Earn the CCC-SLP Credential
Apply for Licensing and Begin Practicing as a Speech-Language Pathologist
Keep your License Current and Complete Continuing Education Requirements

 


 

Step 1. Earn a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology

In order to become licensed through the Mississippi SLP board, you’ll need to enroll in an ASHA-accredited graduate SLP program.

In order to be accepted to a graduate program, you’ll need a record of excellent academic performance, including an undergraduate GPA above 3.0, high GRE scores, and several academic references who can attest to your motivation and dedication to excellence.

In Mississippi, there are four ASHA accredited universities that offer graduate SLP programs. You might also consider an online program if none of the in-state programs meet your needs. Online programs are often preferred by working students for their flexible nature.

If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology, you’ll need to complete prerequisite courses before starting master’s coursework. These usually include:

  • Science of Language
  • Introduction to Communicative Sciences and Disorders
  • Audiology Fundamentals
  • Clinical & Diagnostic Methods
  • Therapeutic Methods of Treatment
  • Common Speech Disorders
  • Voices and Listeners

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in the field, you’ll likely start core coursework directly. These courses include:

  • Advanced Articulation and Phonological Disorders
  • Dysphagia Management & Treatment
  • Child Language Disorders
  • Acquired Disorders of Language
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology
  • Fluency Disorders & Aural Rehabilitation
  • Organic Speech Disorders
  • Public Health Disciplines

Electives may vary depending on your specialization, but might include:

  • SLP Counseling
  • Audiology within SLP
  • Assessment and Evaluation of Patients
  • Professional Issues in the Field
  • SLP in the Medical Setting
  • Clinical Instrumentation
  • Communication Behaviors & the Aging Process

 


 

Step 2. Apply for a Temporary License and Complete Nine Months of Supervised Professional Employment

After graduating from your SLP program, you’ll enter into a transitional period often referred to as a clinical fellowship. The clinical fellowship is a nine-month period of supervised professional employment.

In order to practice during a clinical fellowship, you’ll need to apply for a temporary license from the Mississippi SLP board. You can apply by submitting the following to the board:

You can mail to documentation to the board at:

Mississippi State Department of Health
Professional Licensure – SLP/A
570 E. Woodrow Wilson Blvd
Jackson, MS 39216

You’ll need to work full-time during this period, which means at least 30 hours a week.

This time will include direct clinical work with patients, consultations, record keeping, or any other duties relevant to clinical SLP work.

Eighty percent of your clinical experience will be in direct clinical contact with patients who have communication handicaps.

You’ll be supervised during your clinical fellowship by a clinical supervisor: a licensed SLP who will provide you guidance and feedback as you learn the clinical procedures of SLP.

 


 

Step 3. Pass the National SLP Exam and Earn the CCC-SLP Credential

The next step is to register online for the National Exam in Speech-Language Pathology through Praxis.

You’ll need to provide proof of a master’s degree in SLP and that you’ve completed a nine-month long clinical fellowship when you’re registering.

The test is made up of 132 questions split into three categories. You’ll need to answer questions over the topics of professional practice, approaches to assessment and evaluation, assessment procedures, speech sound production, fluency, voice, resonance, and motor speech, social aspects of language, and feeding and swallowing.

You might also choose to prepare through Praxis’ test prep material, such as the study companion or an interactive test.

The minimum passing score is a 162.

Mississippi offers several Praxis test centers, located in:

  • Cleveland
  • Ellisville
  • Flowood
  • Hattiesburg
  • Itta Bena
  • Jackson
  • Meridian
  • Mississippi State
  • Oxford
  • Raymond
  • Utica

 


 

Step 4. Apply for Licensing and Begin Practicing as a Speech-Language Pathologist

Once you receive your passing score on the national exam, you’re ready to apply for licensure.

You may do so by preparing the following documents:

The application and supporting documents will need to be sent to the board at:

Mississippi State Department of Health
Professional Licensure – SLP/A
570 E. Woodrow Wilson Blvd
Jackson, MS 39216

It usually takes a few weeks to be issued your license after mailing the application. Once you’ve received it, you may consider beginning your career:

Contact Your Clinical Fellowship Provider

In most cases, your clinical fellowship provider will be happy to hire you into a full-time position, since they are familiar with your work.

Start an Independent Practice

You might choose to start an independent practice or a partnership with another SLP. You’ll be able to set your own hours and take on as many clients as you feel comfortable with.

Pursue Job Opportunities

You might also pursue job opportunities through the school system, clinics, or hospitals in Mississippi. A few employers that hire SLPs include:

  • Tara Therapy
  • EDU Healthcare
  • ProCare
  • In Search Medical
  • Therapeutic Outreach
  • Therapy Management Corporation
  • Desoto Family Counseling Center
  • Reliant Rehabilitation
  • Regency Hospital
  • The University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • Camellia Healthcare
  • Select Specialty Hospital
  • Memorial Hospital at Gulfport

 


 

Step 5. Keep your License Current and Complete Continuing Education Requirements

You’ll need to renew your license every two years with twenty contact hours. At least 10 of the contact hours must be directly related to clinical practice.

You may renew your license online.

The Mississippi board publishes a list of approved continuing education credits.


Speech-Language Pathology Salary in Mississippi

Experienced speech-language pathologists in Mississippi earned an average salary of $74,060 ($35.61 an hour) as of 2016 according to the state’s Department of Employment Security, while the overall statewide average SLP salary was $62,620 ($30.11 an hour) that year.

The number of jobs for speech-language pathologists in Mississippi will increase by 18.7% between 2012 and 2022 according to the state’s Department of Employment Security. The rate of job growth should be even higher in two cities:

  • Jackson—25%
  • Hattiesburg—20%

The level of growth in Mississippi should result in an average of 45 jobs a year becoming available in the state overall. One-third of these jobs will be in Jackson, which was home to more than 20% of the state’s licensed SLPs in 2016.

Salaries for Speech-Language Pathologists in Mississippi’s Major Cities

The salaries for speech-language pathologists were exceptionally high in Jackson. Shown below is the range of salaries from the average to the 70th percentile average (experienced) as published by the state’s Department of Employment Security in 2016:

Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula:

  • Annual: $59,440 – $68,370
  • Hourly: $28.58 – $32.87

Hattieburg:

  • Annual: $56,880 – $62,330
  • Hourly: $27.35 – $29.97

Jackson:

  • Annual: $69,190 – $80,670
  • Hourly: $33.27 – $38.78

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security also provides salary data for speech-language pathologists in most of the state’s Workforce Investment Areas:

Delta:

  • Annual: $59,622 – $70,405
  • Hourly: $28.66 – $33.85

Southcentral Mississippi Works:

  • Annual: $67,269 – $78,439
  • Hourly: $32.34 – $37.71

Twin Districts:

  • Annual: $59,872 – $69,319
  • Hourly: $28.78 – $33.33

Detailed Salary Analysis for Speech-Language Pathologists in Mississippi

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a detailed salary analysis for speech-language pathologists in the major cities and rural areas of Mississippi as of 2015:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula MS
220
59440
Hattiesburg MS
50
56880
Jackson MS
310
69190
Northeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
220
58550
Northwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
120
58740
Southeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
210
61050
Southwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
80
59900

High Rates of Job Growth in a Satisfying Profession

Recent articles in major news magazines highlighted the high salaries and job satisfaction that speech-language pathologists enjoy. Forbes reported on the results of a survey published by PayScale.com. After querying more than 2 million workers, this firm ranked SLPs among the 25 most meaningful jobs with great salaries.

US News & World Report conducted another analysis that ranked speech-language pathology as the 19th best health care job..

While speech-language pathologists find employment in a number of industries ranging from schools to hospitals, private clinics are another source of jobs for these professionals. Mississippi is home to a number of specialized clinics that offer SLP services:

  • Columbus: MUW Speech & Hearing Center
  • Gulfport: Elisha’s Speech & Language Services
  • Hattiesburg: Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic
  • Jackson: Beyond Therapy Pediatric Group
  • Jackson: Mississippi Speech Therapy
  • Livingston: Helping Hands Therapy
  • Starkville: Kids Therapy Spot
  • Sumrall: Aultman Speech Therapy

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