You might choose a career in speech-language pathology if you’re interested in impacting the lives of patients who suffer from communication handicaps. Whether you’re interested in working with children, special needs patients, or adults with speech disorders, Oklahoma has many opportunities to habilitate and rehabilitate speech therapy patients.
You’ll need to earn a master’s degree in order to become licensed, and you might choose from accredited online options or five programs in-state that are accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
If you choose to earn your degree through a traditional in-state program, you may be eligible for scholarships or reduced tuition. For example, The Oklahoma Speech-Language-Hearing Association (OSHA) offers scholarships to students of SLP graduate programs in the state. Getting connected with the OSHA is also an excellent way to complete continuing education requirements. The OSHA’s continuing education topics might include treating childhood apraxia of speech, multisensory language-based classroom approaches, and how to use academic language therapy curriculum.
As a practicing SLP in Oklahoma, you’ll follow in the footsteps of SLPs in the state who have been conducting critical research and providing excellent clinical services. Notable SLPs in Oklahoma include Wendy Stacy, who directs the ReadWrite Center in Oklahoma City and has developed ground-breaking programs to help children suffering from dyslexia; Wendy Lawson, the director of the Allied Health of Oklahoma Heart Hospital, who oversees the SLP practice at the hospital; and Monica Benear, who has supervised and trained many SLP graduate students through the University of Central Oklahoma’s Speech and Hearing Clinic.
Oklahoma is an excellent place for SLPs to practice because of the healthy relationship between the state government and SLP practitioners. Through the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Sooner Start Early Intervention program, certain health practitioner’s services are covered for infants and toddlers with developmental delays, disabilities, and special needs such as speech therapy. The Sooner Start program allows speech therapists to take on more patients, including those who would otherwise not be able to afford SLP services.
Learn how to earn your SLP license through the Oklahoma Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology by following the guide below:
Step 1. Complete a Master’s Degree Program in Speech-Language Pathology
The first step towards earning your SLP license is pursuing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from an accredited institution. Your program must be accredited by the American Speech-Language-Pathology Association. You’ll have two types of master’s programs to choose from: online or traditional.
There are many ASHA-accredited online programs hosted by universities nationwide. Benefits to online programs include flexibility and the ability to choose different specialties.
Traditional programs, on the other hand, offer quality education close to home. There are five accredited programs located in Oklahoma.
You’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree in order to apply to a master’s program. If your bachelor’s degree isn’t in speech-language pathology, you’ll need to complete fundamental prerequisites before beginning the graduate program. These usually include:
- Science of Language
- Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Language
- Introduction to Audiology
- Topics Within Communication Disorders
- Development of Language Across the Lifespan
You’ll also need to have an excellent undergraduate GPA and GRE scores in the 30th percentile in order to be accepted into a graduate program.
After completing prerequisites, you’ll begin core courses. Core coursework will usually include the following topics:
- Diagnostics in Speech-Language Pathology
- Phonological Disorders
- Fluency Disorders
- Voice & Resonance Disorders
- Aphasia Treatment
- Cognitive & Other Neurological Communication Disorders
- Motor Speech Disorders
- Assistive Technology
- Trends & Issues in Communication Disorders
- Advanced Audiology
You’ll also be able to choose a number of electives, which focus on more specialized areas of SLP. These courses might include:
- Professional Issues in SLP
- Research and Evidence Based Practice
- Articulation Disorders
- Treating Patients with Brain Injuries
- Culturally Appropriate Service Delivery
You’ll also need to complete a 400 clock hour practicum in order to graduate. Through the practicum, you’ll learn to screen, evaluate, assess, and diagnose patients and well as develop treatment plans and administer therapy. You’ll be supervised in all of your activities by a licensed SLP.
Step 2. Complete a Nine-Month Clinical Fellowship
After graduating, you’ll enter into a clinical fellowship. The clinical fellowship is a nine-month-long, paid period of clinical employment. You’ll need to apply for a temporary license in order to practice during your clinical fellowship. Along with your application, you’ll submit a CEY year plan to the Oklahoma SLP board detailing the activities you’ll complete during the period. You’ll need to consult with your clinical fellowship supervisor to complete this form.
You’ll be supervised by a licensed SLP, who will be directly involved in all activities you perform during your clinical fellowship. These activities may include screening, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment procedures.
There must be at least 36 supervisory visits that occur during the nine-month period.
You may choose to work thirty or more hours a week for nine months, or you may fulfill a part-time commitment by working at least 15 hours per week for 18 months.
After completing the clinical fellowship, you’ll complete the Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form, and you and your supervisor will list and describe the activities you performed and how they were supervised. You may mail the CF rating and report form to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association at:
2200 Research Boulevard #313
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Your university SLP director may be able to connect you with clinical fellowship opportunities, or you can seek opportunities online.
Step 3. Pass the National SLP Exam and Consider Earning the CCC-SLP Credential
You’ll need to pass the American Speech Language Hearing Association’s National Examination in Speech Language Pathology in order to become licensed.
Hosted through third-party Praxis, you may register for the exam online.
You’ll need to score a 162 on a 100-200 scale in order to pass the exam.
Praxis offers a study companion which is very helpful in test preparation. In the study companion, you’ll find practice questions, a breakdown of the topics on the exam, and more detailed information about the test.
The test is split into three sections:
- Foundations and Professional Practice
- Screening, Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis
- Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Treatment
Within these three sections, you’ll answer questions relating to proper diagnostic procedures, therapeutic methods, and how to develop case histories and treatment plans.
You may take the exam in a Praxis test center located in:
- Oklahoma City
You may also choose to apply for Certification of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) credential once you’ve passed the national exam. Offered through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the CCC-SLP is not required for licensure in Oklahoma, but may help add credibility to your resume. You may apply through ASHA directly, furnishing proof that you completed a graduate program and clinical fellowship as well as passing scores on the national examination.
Step 4. Apply for Licensing and Begin Practicing as a Speech-Language Pathologist
You’re now eligible to apply for licensure in the state of Oklahoma.
Through the Oklahoma Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, you’ll be able to apply for your license online.
Through the online renewal process, you’ll need to provide the board with proof of completion of a clinical fellowship and completion of a practicum during your graduate study. You’ll also need to have your university send your official transcript to the board and request that Praxis send your test scores directly to the board.
It usually takes two-three weeks to hear back from the board, at which time you may launch your career in whichever way you prefer:
Join the Clinic that Provided Your Clinical Fellowship
If you’d like to pursue a full-time position at the clinic where you completed your clinical fellowship, you may contact your clinical fellowship supervisor to inquire about opportunities. This is a good way to launch your career, as you’re already familiar with the clinic’s practices, staff, and patients.
Open an Independent Practice
You may consider opening an independent practice if you’d like to reach a specific patient population and set your own schedule.
Pursue Job Openings in Oklahoma
There are many employers in Oklahoma which have a need for qualified SLPs. A few of these include:
- Es Speech
- Excel Home Care & Hospice
- Rehab Care
- The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital
- Comfort Keepers
- Oklahoma City Public Schools
- Norman Regional Hospital
- Soliant Health
- Norman Public Schools
- Therapy Management Corporation
Step 5. Renew Your License and Complete Continuing Education Requirements
You’ll need to renew your license, which you can do online, every two years. You’ll receive an emailed reminder from the board at least a month before you’re due to renew.
You’ll also need to complete 20 continuing education credits during that period, or 10 credits per year. Continuing education courses can consist of conferences, workshops, webinars, or academic courses relating to the practice of speech-language pathology.
If you are supervising SLPs through their clinical fellowship period, you’ll need to complete six hours of training in clinical supervision through ASHA-approved providers.
After completing a continuing education course, you’ll need to document it using the board’s continuing education form.
The board pre-approves all ASHA-approved continuing education opportunities. If you’d like to participate in a continuing education opportunity that hasn’t been approved by the ASHA, you’ll need to contact the board to gain approval.