Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) often work within schools, hospitals and clinics to assist patients with communicative disorders. In Nevada, you may follow in the footsteps of SLP professionals who are working to make a difference in the lives of people throughout the state suffering from communicative disorders.
Some notable SLPs working in Nevada include:
- Gina Egaard, president of the Nevada Speech Language Hearing Association (NSLHA), who has been providing speech therapy services to special needs children in schools for years.
- Lisa Powell, who has focused her clinical expertise on stroke rehabilitation and memory impairments through speech therapy.
- Caron Plowman, who has done important SLP work in the school systems in Nevada.
You might connect with other SLPs through the Nevada Speech Language Hearing Association (NSLHA), Nevada’s Collation to Address Personnel Shortages in Special Education and Related Services (NV Collation), or the Nevada Health Care Association (NVHCA). Both the NSLHA and the NVHCA work to advocate for progressive legislation that would help ensure speech therapy services are covered by insurance. The NV Collation provides an important networking opportunity for SLPs who wish to work with special needs populations in schools.
Through conferences and seminars held by the NSLHA, you might learn about treatment of articulation, assessing children with autism, language intervention in the school environment, a multi-sensory approach to childhood apraxia of speech, and the evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders.
You’ll need a master’s degree in communicative sciences and disorders through an institution accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to become licensed through the State of Nevada Board of Examiners for Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. Follow the step-by-step guide below to learn how:
Step 1. Earn a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology
The Nevada Board of Examiners for Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology requires all applicants for SLP licensure to have earned a graduate degree (master’s or higher) from an accredited program.
By partnering with speech-pathology service providers throughout the nation, accredited online programs make it easy to complete a practicum that would allow you to gain face to face experience working with patients in local clinics and hospitals close to home.
Graduate Program Admissions and Foundational Undergraduate Coursework
Whether online or traditional, SLP graduate programs set selective admissions requirements. You’ll need to be prepared with:
- A bachelor’s degree (usually in communicative sciences and disorders)
- An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
- GRE scores (verbal score of 144 or above is usually preferred)
- Letters of academic reference
If you have a bachelor’s degree in communicative sciences and disorders, you’ll be able to start directly with core coursework. However, if your bachelor’s degree is unrelated, you’ll first complete prerequisites online through the university before beginning master’s-level coursework.
Foundational coursework usually requires about 14-18 credits in such topics as:
- Aspects of Speech Pathology & Audiology
- Assessment of Language
- Language Science
- Common Disorders of Speech
- Audiology Fundamentals
Core Courses and Clinical Practicum Requirements
Core courses include:
- Advanced Speech Pathology
- Language Intervention
- Research Design
- Language Theory
- Fluency Disorders
- Motor Speech & Swallowing
- Laryngeal Speech
- Medical Speech in Language Pathology
- Craniofacial Disorders
- Special Topics in SLP
- Seminar in Clinical Procedures
- Disorders of Voice
Your practicum, which would be completed in a clinic or hospital approved by your university, must be at least 300 clock hours in order to meet licensing requirements.
Step 2. Pass the National SLP Exam and Complete a Clinical Fellowship
In Nevada, you may register for the national SLP Praxis exam directly after completing your master’s degree and before beginning your post-graduate clinical fellowship.
You’ll need to score at least a 162 on a 100-200 scale.
The test will cover foundations of professional practice, screening, assessment, evaluation and diagnosis, and the planning, implementation and evaluation of treatment.
The questions will cover:
- Generating a prognosis
- Communicating recommendations
- General treatment principles and procedures
- Speech sound production
- Voice, resonance, and motor speech
- Receptive and expressive language
- Social aspects of communication
There are three Praxis test centers throughout Nevada, located in:
- Las Vegas
After passing the exam, you’ll be able to begin the nine-month long clinical fellowship required for licensure. A clinical fellowship is your first foray into the world of professional practice outside of your graduate program. As a paid experience that will give you an opportunity to gain exposure to the kind of patients and practice environment that align with your career goals, you are advised to thoroughly explore your options when selecting a fellowship sponsor. You may browse opportunities available in Nevada here.
Optional Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology Certification (CCC-SLP)
Once you’ve received passing scores on the national exam and completed a nine-month long clinical fellowship, you can apply for the CCC-SLP credential through ASHA. The CCC-SLP is optional and is not a requirement for licensure in Nevada.
Along with your application you would submit:
- Official graduate transcript
- Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form, signed by your supervisor
Mail these documents directly to ASHA at:
ASHA National Office
2200 Research Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20850-3289
Step 3. Apply for Licensing and Begin Practicing as a Speech-Language Pathologist
After passing the national exam, you may apply for licensing through the Nevada board.
You’ll need to fill out the application, get it notarized, and submit it with a $150.00 fee.
You’ll also need to submit:
- An official graduate transcript
- Praxis score report
- Proof of 300 hours of practicum
- Proof of CCC-SLP credential
You can mail these to:
State of Nevada
Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology & Hearing Aid Dispensing Board
P.O. Box 34540
Reno, NV 89533-4540
You may start your career in one of several ways:
Consider Joining the Clinic That Provided Your Clinical Fellowship
In many cases, SLPs start their career at the clinic that provided required professional experience. Clinics often prefer to hire SLPs who have completed hours at their clinic, and you may already be comfortable with the clinic’s staff and have built relationships with patients.
Start an Independent Practice
With your CCC-SLP credential and your Nevada SLP license, you’ll be able to start an independent practice or partnership if you so choose.
Pursue Job Opportunities
From the school system to clinics to hospitals, you may pursue opportunities throughout the state of Nevada. A few SLP employers in Nevada include:
- Affirma Rehabilitation
- Cumberland Therapy
- Speech Rehab Services
- Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center
- Beyond Boundaries: Neurorehabilitation Specialists
- Nevada Early Intervention Services
- Imagine Schools at Mountain View
- Therapy Management Group
- Life Care Centers
- Home Health Care of Northern Nevada
Step 4. Keep your License Current and Complete Continuing Education Requirements
You’ll need to renew your license annually with proof of 15 credit hours of continuing education.
The Nevada board approves continuing education provided through the ASHA, the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), and the International Hearing Society (IHS).
You’ll need to record the names of the courses you’ve completed, the date of the courses, and the time that you spent in the course.