How to Become a Speech Therapist in North Carolina

Speech-language pathologists are uniquely equipped to assist patients with various communication disorders. Through a combination of advanced education, lab work and clinical fellowship, you’ll learn how to best serve a variety of patient populations.

You’ll have a diverse array of educational offerings open to you—in addition to numerous accredited online programs, there are six universities in North Carolina accredited by ASHA’s Council on Academic Accreditation.

Featured Programs:

Many SLP grad students join the North Carolina Speech Hearing & Language Association (NCSHLA) to boost their professional development. Through the NCSHLA, you might learn about how to incorporate toys and play as a way to enhance sessions with children, how to treat motor speech disorders, establishing vocal-verbal skills for children with childhood apraxia, and how to enhance feeding therapy through a sensory-motor approach.

You’ll receive your license through the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Follow the steps in the guide below to learn how to become a speech therapist in North Carolina:

Earn a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from an ASHA-Accredited Program in New Jersey
Apply for a Temporary License and Complete a Supervised Experience Year (SEY)
Pass the National SLP Exam and Consider Earning the CCC-SLP Credential
Apply for Licensing and Begin Practicing as a Speech-Language Pathologist
Renew Your License Annually and Complete Yearly Supervised Training



Step 1. Earn a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from an ASHA-Accredited Program in New Jersey

The first step towards your career as an SLP is to earn a master’s degree (or higher). You’ll need to graduate from a program accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in order to become a licensed SLP.

You may choose from online accredited options, or you may earn your degree from one of six ASHA accredited institutions in the state.

While some SLPs choose online options because of the flexibility of the programs and the ability to complete clinical hours close to home, in-state options often offer reduced tuition or state-sponsored scholarship opportunities.

You’ll need to be prepared to present an excellent academic record when applying to an SLP program in the state. SLP graduate programs usually only admit students who have an excellent academic history, including an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, GRE scores in the 30th percentile, and several academic references.

You won’t need an undergraduate degree in speech-language pathology to be accepted into a graduate program, but you will need to complete prerequisites if you haven’t already completed basic speech therapy fundamentals in your undergraduate courses.

Prerequisites include courses in the biological and physical sciences as well as social and behavioral sciences, usually including:

  • Phonetics
  • Anatomy of Speech and Hearing
  • Neurology of Speech
  • Language Development Across the Lifespan
  • Acquisition of Development of Articulation
  • Aural Rehabilitation
  • Speech Science

Core courses will move into more advanced topics in speech-language pathology, often including:

  • Language Disorders
  • Voice Disorders
  • Articulation Disorders
  • Multicultural Communication Disorders
  • Methods in SLP
  • Language and Learning Disabilities
  • Dysphagia
  • Brain, Language & Aphasia
  • Linguistic/Cognitive Disorders

Electives often narrow in on special patient populations or communication disorders. They may include:

  • Craniofacial Anomalies
  • Alaryngeal Rehabilitation
  • Professional Issues in SLP
  • Stuttering
  • Motor Speech Disorders
  • Research in SLP

You’ll also need to complete a practicum of at least 400 clock hours during your graduate study to be eligible for licensure in North Carolina. At least eighty hours of your practicum must involve treating adults with speech disorders, and eighty hours must involve treating children with speech disorders. You’ll complete these hours under the supervision of a licensed professional.



Step 2. Apply for a Temporary License and Complete a Supervised Experience Year (SEY)

Once you’ve graduated, you may apply for temporary licensure and begin a supervised experience year (SEY). Although the North Carolina SLP board refers to this period as a supervised experience year, it must be nine months long at minimum and may take up to 18 months to complete.

You’ll be supervised by a licensed SLP in North Carolina in a clinical setting and learn to complete the clinical and diagnostic procedures required of an SLP in day-to-day practice.

The director of your university’s communicative sciences and disorders program may be able to help you find a clinic where you can gain your supervised experience, or you can browse opportunities here.

You may complete your SEY through full-time work, which is defined as nine months of 30 hours per week, or part time work, defined as 18 months of at least 20 hours per week.

Your SEY plan, which you will develop with your supervisor, will break down the number of hours you’ll be expected to spend in assessment, diagnosis and evaluations; screening; habilitation, rehabilitation, and therapy; and counseling, staff meetings, and record keeping.

You won’t be able to practice in any capacity without a temporary license. To apply, you’ll need to fill out a temporary license application.

You’ll also need to submit to the board:

  • $70 application fee
  • Official graduate transcript
  • Verified practicum hour clock sheet, signed by your supervisor (included in the application)
  • Supervised Experience Year Plan

You may mail the documents to:

State of North Carolina
Board of Examiners for Speech and Language Pathologists and Audiologists
PO Box 16885, Greensboro
North Carolina 27416

Your temporary license will expire at the end of your SEY.



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

Next, you’ll need to register for the National Examination in Speech-Language Pathology, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s examination for licensure.

You can register online for the exam through Praxis.

The exam is made up of 132 questions and is scored on a 100-200 scale. (You’ll need a 162 to pass).

The test will cover topics that you studied in your core coursework, touching on foundations and professional practice, how to screen, assess, evaluate and diagnose patients, and how to properly develop treatment plans for patients.

The test will also cover:

  • Feeding and swallowing disorders
  • Developing case histories
  • Selecting appropriate assessment procedures
  • Assessment of anatomy and physiology
  • Speech sound production
  • Voice, resonance, and motor speech
  • Cognitive aspects of communication
  • The etiology of communicative disorders

If you feel that you need some extra preparation for the exam, you may browse the test’s topics and practice questions in the Praxis Study Companion, or you might consider purchasing an interactive practice test.

You’ll be able to take the exam at any Praxis test center in the following cities:

  • Asheville
  • Boone
  • Cary
  • Charlotte
  • Cullowhee
  • Durham
  • Fayetteville
  • Greensboro
  • Greenville
  • Raleigh
  • Wilmington

After taking the exam, it usually takes about two weeks to hear back from Praxis with your scores. With a passing score, you’re ready to become licensed in North Carolina.

At this point, you’ll be eligible to apply for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathologists (CCC-SLP). It’s not a requirement for licensure, but adds credibility to your resume, especially if you plan on practicing independently. You may apply through ASHA, provided you have an official graduate transcript, proof of completion of a supervised experience year, and passing scores on the National Examination in Speech-Language Pathology.



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

Once you’ve received passing scores on the National Examination in Speech-Language Pathology, you may apply for licensing through the North Carolina SLP board.

You’ll need to fill out an application form and submit it with:

The SLP quiz consists of 12 multiple choice questions that cover the practice act for SLPs in North Carolina.

You can submit the license application and all supporting documents to:

State of North Carolina
Board of Examiners for Speech and Language Pathologists and Audiologists
PO Box 16885, Greensboro
North Carolina 27416

Now that you’re licensed, you have several options of how to launch your career:

Work for your Supervised Experience Year Provider

Your supervised experience year provider may be happy to provide you with a full-time opportunity after having first-hand experience with your clinical practice. This is often an excellent way to jump-start your career since you may have already built strong relationships with patients and patients’ families at this clinic.

Consider Starting an Independent Practice

If you want to work independently, you may open your own practice. You also have the option of starting a partnership with another qualified SLP.

Pursue Job Openings in North Carolina

You’ll also be able to pursue a variety of job opportunities in North Carolina, as the state is full of openings for qualified individuals. Just a few SLP employers in the state include:

  • Speech Center, Inc.
  • Therapy Playground
  • Venture Rehab Group
  • The People Link Corporation
  • Carolina Pediatric Dysphagia Group
  • Kinetic Physical Therapy and Wellness
  • Wake County Public Schools
  • Carolinas Public Health Care System
  • Therapeutic Outreach
  • Transitions Life Care
  • Liberty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Services
  • Centra Healthcare Solutions
  • Little Bug Speech Therapy
  • Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services



Step 5. Renew Your License Annually and Complete Yearly Supervised Training

You’ll need to renew your license annually for a $60.00 fee. You may renew online through the North Carolina SLP Board’s website.

You won’t need to complete traditional continuing education requirements that are regulated by the board—instead, you’ll work out an agreement with your employer that will include supervised training each year.

The supervised training at your place of employment will be documented by a written plan and include training with clinical equipment, the correct use of treatment procedures, receiving evaluations from supervisors and other licensed SLPs, and participating in educational activities as discussed with your employer.

You might take advantage of conferences and courses held by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or the North Carolina Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Speech-Language Pathology Salary in North Carolina

Experienced speech-language pathologists in North Carolina earned an average salary of $80,750 as of 2016 according to the state’s Department of Commerce. The median salary among SLPs that year was $65,840. The comparable hourly wages ranged from $31.65 to $38.83.

Two areas of North Carolina had exceptionally high levels of jobs for SLPs in 2015 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Greenville—10th highest concentration jobs of any city in the country
  • Piedmont nonmetropolitan area—5th highest number of jobs of any rural area

Salaries for Speech-Language Pathologists in North Carolina’s Major Cities


  • Annual: $83,490 – $93,730
  • Hourly: $40.14 – $45.06


  • Annual: $55,020 – $63,550
  • Hourly: $26.45 – $30.55


  • Annual: $64,930 – $78,070
  • Hourly: $31.22 – $37.54

Durham-Chapel Hill:

  • Annual: $63,020 – $73,370
  • Hourly: $30.30 – $35.28


  • Annual: $65,700 – $83,050
  • Hourly: $31.59 – $39.93


  • Annual: $56,590 – $69,850
  • Hourly: $27.21 – $33.58

Greensboro-High Point:

  • Annual: $59,880 – $70,780
  • Hourly: $27.21 – 33.58


  • Annual: $62,320 – $71,020
  • Hourly: $29.96 – $34.14


  • Annual: $88,050 – $99,320
  • Hourly: $42.33 – $47.45


  • Annual: $58,280 – $70,120
  • Hourly: $28.02 – $33.71

New Bern:

  • Annual: $85,390 – $93,560
  • Hourly: $41.06 – $44.98


  • Annual: $70,610 – $87,500
  • Hourly: $33.95 – $42.07

Rocky Mount:

  • Annual: $78,060 – $91,090
  • Hourly: $37.53 – $43.79


  • Annual: $66,960 – $80,990
  • Hourly: $33.84 – $32.19


  • Annual: $60,980 – $75,840
  • Hourly: $29.32 – $36.46

A Promising Field With High Rates of Job Satisfaction

The North Carolina Department of Commerce expects the number of jobs for speech-language pathologists in the state to increase by 20.9% between 2012 and 2022, opening up an average of 128 jobs a year during this period. Job growth levels should be even higher in many regions of the state:

  • Sandhills Region—29.7%
  • North Central Region—28.5%
  • Southeast Region—27.6%
  • Western Region—26.1%
  • Southwest Region—24.6%
  • Northeast Region—21.9%
  • Piedmont-Triad Region—21.7%

Two separate studies found that speech-language pathologists evince a high level of job satisfaction in addition to earning high salaries. US News & World Report ranked the profession as the 19th best type of health care job to have. The publication also noted an increase of 6.9% in the average salary between 2010 and 2014.

Forbes reported on the findings of that placed speech-language pathology among the 25 most meaningful jobs that pay well. specializes in tracking the earnings of professionals and surveyed more than 2 million workers to determine if they thought that their work makes the world a better place.

Outpatient clinics in North Carolina that feature SLPs include:

  • Asheville: Carolina Pediatric therapy
  • Charlotte: Speech Matters
  • Charlotte: TerrificTalkers
  • Charlotte: The Brain Trainer
  • Fayetteville: Therapy Playground, Inc.
  • Hope Mills: Coastal Speech Center
  • Jacksonville: Speech 4 Kids, Inc.

Detailed Salary Analysis for Speech-Language Pathologists Throughout North Carolina

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the salaries of speech-language pathologists in North Carolina’s major cities and rural areas as of 2015:

Area name
Annual mean wage
Asheville NC
Burlington NC
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia NC-SC
Durham-Chapel Hill NC
Fayetteville NC
Greensboro-High Point NC
Greenville NC
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton NC
New Bern NC
Raleigh NC
Rocky Mount NC
Wilmington NC
Winston-Salem NC
Southeast Coastal North Carolina nonmetropolitan area
Northeast Coastal North Carolina nonmetropolitan area
Piedmont North Carolina nonmetropolitan area
Mountain North Carolina nonmetropolitan area

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