According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of speech-language pathology licenses issued in Texas is expected to increase by a staggering 32.9 percent in the years leading up to 2024 just to keep pace with the growing demand for therapeutic services to address speech, fluency and swallowing disorders.
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The Texas Speech-Language Hearing Association (TSHA) recognizes the profession’s need for support as it experiences this period of rapid growth and therefore serves as a leader in advocacy, scientific study, continuing education, and the promotion of public awareness. The TSHA also created the Texas Speech-Language-hearing Foundation, a charitable foundation that supports the SLP field and the dedicated professionals that work in it through student scholarships, clinical research, and professional advocacy.
To become a speech therapist in Texas, you must meet the qualifications for SLP licensure set by the Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. The process involves earning a master’s degree in speech-language pathology, completing a clinical fellowship, and passing a national SLP exam.
Follow these steps to become a licensed speech-language pathologist in Texas:
Step 1. Complete a Qualifying Master’s Degree Program in Speech-Language Pathology
The Board requires SLP license candidates to have a master’s or higher degree in speech-language pathology through a program that has received accreditation from a national accrediting organization recognized by the Board.
The large majority of SLP master’s degree programs in the U.S. receive accreditation through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA).
Although you are not required to complete a CAA-accredited program in Texas, if you complete a program that has not been accredited, you must send a letter to the Board furnished by ASHA stating that the CAA has found the coursework and clinical experience of your master’s program to be acceptable.
The CAA accredits both campus-based and online master’s degree programs in speech-language pathology, which broadens your program options and allows you to complete your graduate work from home, or anywhere else in the world.
The easiest transition to a graduate degree in speech-language pathology is through the completion of a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders. However, many graduate programs in speech-language pathology accept applicants without bachelor’s degrees in the same field.
If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology, you may be required to complete a pre-professional program through the university before your graduate work can begin. Some of the general prerequisite courses include:
- Introduction to Clinical Methods and Observation
- Language Acquisition
- Introduction to Audiology
SLP Master’s Degree Components
SLP master’s degrees take about 2-3 years to complete and consist of between 40-60 credits.
Just a few of the classes completed through an SLP master’s degree program include:
- Ethics and Clinical Settings
- Neuronal Pathways of Communication
- Adult Dysphagia
- Counseling and Professional Communication
- Research in Communication Sciences
- Voice and Resonance Disorders
Your graduate program will also include a 400-hour clinical practicum, supervised by a licensed speech-language pathologist. You must first complete at least 25 clock hours of supervised observation before starting any clinical direct client contact.
Step 2. Complete a Clinical Fellowship Program
After earning your graduate degree, you must complete a clinical fellowship. In keeping with ASHA recommendations, the Board requires 1,260 hours of experience over a 36-week period, amounting to 35 hours a week. You can work part-time, provided you work no less than 5 hours a week.
A clinical fellowship is a paid post-graduate period with an area employer that involves supervised practice in a clinical setting. You would be responsible for locating an employer interested in taking on a fellow. In many cases, a fellowship leads to a full-time position, so it is appropriate to consider the employment setting and any specialized area of practice you are interested in.
Just a small sampling of employers in Texas that may be interested in taking on a new fellow include:
- Kingwood Speech Pathology Services, Kingwood
- Central Texas Speech Pathology Services, Austin
- Austin Area Speech and Language Therapy Services, Austin
- Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston
- Health Bridge Children’s Hospital, Houston
- Capital Area Speech, Austin
- Texas Women’s University, Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic, Denton
Before starting you clinical fellowship program, you must apply for an Intern SLP license by completing an Intern in Speech-Language Pathology Application and submitting it to the Board, along with:
- A Coursework and Clinical Experience form that has been completed by the program director of your master’s degree program
- Your graduate transcripts showing the completion of a master’s degree program accredited by CAA
- A Certificate of Completion of the Texas Jurisprudence Exam
- An Intern Plan and Agreement of Supervision form
The Board requires you to spend at least 80 percent of your week in direct client contact, which includes assessment/diagnosis/evaluation, screening, and habilitation/rehabilitation.
Upon the successful completion of your clinical fellowship, you and your supervising SLP will complete a Report of Completed Internship form, which will be submitted with your application for licensure.
Step 3. Pass the National SLP Examination
The final step to licensure requires passing the national SLP exam, administered by Praxis, which you can take at any time during or after your clinical fellowship
To take the exam, you must first register on the Praxis registration page and then take the SLP exam through a Praxis testing center. There are testing centers located in the following Texas cities:
- College Station
- Corpus Christi
- El Paso
- San Antonio
- Wichita Falls
The speech-language pathology exam includes 132 multiple-choice questions that must be answered in 150 minutes. Praxis has provided study materials so you can properly study for the exam. The exam covers three basic categories:
- Foundations and Professional Practice – 1/3 of the exam
- Characteristics of common communication and swallowing disorders
- Counseling, collaboration, and teaming
- Legislation and client advocacy
- Screening, Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis – 1/3 of the exam
- Feeding and swallowing disorders
- Assessing factors that influence communication and swallowing disorders
- Social aspects of communication
- Disease processes
- Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Treatment – 1/3 of the exam
- Creating development goals
- Treatment principles and procedures
- Treatment of fluency issues
- Communication impairments related to cognition
- Swallowing and feeding
The exam is graded on a scale of 100 to 200, and you need to score a minimum of 162 to pass.
Optional CCC-SLP Certification
Once you pass the SLP exam, you are eligible for the Certificate of Clinical Competency in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) designation. Although not a requirement for licensure in Texas, many SLPs find this designation helpful when entering or advancing in the profession.
If you choose to earn the CCC-SLP before becoming licensed, you can facilitate the licensure process by choosing the ASHA Waiver. This allows you to submit your CCC-SLP designation in lieu of other documentation when applying for your SLP license in Texas.
Step 4. Become Licensed in Texas and Begin Your Career as a Speech-Language Pathologist
To become licensed as an SLP in Texas, you must complete the Speech-Language Pathology Application and send it to the Board, along with:
- Certificate of Completion of the Texas Jurisprudence Exam
- Copy of your passing SLP exam score
- Graduate transcripts
- Report of Completed Internship form
Once you have your Texas SLP license in hand, you can dive into the profession by:
- Returning to the same clinic or practice where you completed your clinical fellowship; many newly licensed SLPs begin their careers in this way
- Viewing the Classifieds posted by the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association
- Starting an independent practice and working from home by live streaming telepractice sessions
TSHA is a great resource for learning more about professional opportunities in speech-language pathology, including:
Work Setting Resources
- Public schools
- Medical practices
- Private practices
- Acute care hospitals
- Acute inpatient rehabilitation
- Long-term care
- Pediatric hospitals/NICU
- Early intervention services
ASHA offers several specialty certifications that complement the CCC-SLP. These certifications display your expertise in different areas of communicative disorders and sciences. ASHA currently recognizes and offers three different specialty certifications you may consider based on your employment setting or eventual career goals:
- Child language and language disorders
- Fluency and fluency disorders
- Swallowing and swallowing disorders
Learn more about your options on ASHA’s specialty certification page.
Step 5. Maintain SLP Licensure and Complete Continuing Education Requirements
After earning your Texas SLP license, you need keep it up to date. This includes renewing it every two years, which you can do online.
You are also required to complete 20 hours of continuing education each two-year cycle through approved providers like the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
The Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association also offers a membership program, which provides members with access to online courses, publications, legislative advocacy, regional seminars, and grant opportunities.
Speech-Language Pathology Salary in Texas
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides annual salaries and hourly wages for speech-language pathologists in a large number of cities and regions of Texas as of 2015:
Exceptionally High Rates of Job Growth and Employment Levels for SLPs in Texas
Texas had the highest numberr of jobs for speech-language pathologists in the country in 2015 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 12,700 people practiced as SLPs in the state that year.
Certain metropolitan areas of Texas ranked highly for their number and concentration of jobs for speech-language pathologists:
- Sherman-Denison: highest concentration of jobs in the country
- Dallas-Plano-Irving: 3rd highest number of jobs in the country
- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land: 4th highest number of jobs
Almost half of the SLPs in Texas were employed in the Dallas and Houston areas in 2015.
The increase in the number of jobs for speech-language pathologists in Texas will exceed 25% between 2012 and 2022 according to the state’s Workforce Commission. Projections suggest that the this rate will be even higher in a number of the state’s Workforce Development Areas (WDAs):
- Tarrant County—30.5%
- Cameron County—30.4%
- Gulf Coast—29.9%
- Capital Area—29.2%
- North Central—28.8%
- Heart of Texas—28.6%
- Middle Rio Grande—28.6%
- Brazos Valley—27.3%
- South Texas—26.7%
The number of jobs for SLPs should average 485 a year during the time frame of these projections. More than one-quarter of the total jobs in the state that will become available should be in the Gulf Coast WDA which comprises the Houston-Galveston area.
Speech-Language Pathology Salaries in Texas
Experienced speech-language pathologists in the top 10% eraned an average of $128,211 ($61.64 hourly) as of 2015 according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The median salary among the state’s SLPs was $71,086 ($34.18 hourly).
The median salary among speech-language pathologists in the Dallas Workforce Development Area was the highest in the state. Shown below are the areas of Texas with the highest median salaries for SLPs:
- Annual: $85,516 – $150,114
- Hourly: $41.11 – $72.17
- Annual: $81,650 – $146,092
- Hourly: $39.25 – $70.24
- Annual: $74,774 – $128,061
- Hourly: $35.95 – $61.57
- Annual: $73,897 – $115,107
- Hourly: $35.53 – $55.34
- Annual: $73,851 – $155,114
- Hourly: $35.51 – $74.57
North East Texas:
- Annual: $73,060 – $120,704
- Hourly: $35.13 – $58.03
- Annual: $72,250 – $104,436
- Hourly: $34.74 – $50.21
Lower Rio Grande Valley
- Annual: $72,021 – $100,972
- Hourly: $34.63 – $48.54
North Central Texas
- Annual: $71,189 – $126,097
- Hourly: $34.23 – $60.52
- Annual: $70,585 – $100,645
- Hourly: $33.94 – $48.39