West Virginia boasts of a solid community of speech-language pathologists, linked by the West Virginia Speech, Language, and Hearing Association (WVSHA), a network of volunteers that promotes networking and the acquisition of professional knowledge while advocating for speech-language pathologists (SLPs), audiologists, and deaf educators in the State of West Virginia.
To become a licensed SLP in West Virginia, you must achieve state licensure through the Board of Examiners of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, which requires earning a master’s degree in speech-language pathology, completing a clinical fellowship, and passing an exam for speech-language pathologists.
Follow these steps to become a licensed speech-language pathologist in West Virginia:
Step 1. Complete a Master’s Degree Program in Speech-Language Pathology
The Board of Examiners requires all licensed SLPs to have a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from an approved college or university. Most SLP graduate programs receive their accreditation through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA).
The CAA accredits both online and campus-based programs. Online programs, in addition satisfying the needs of working professionals with demanding schedules, are particularly beneficial in states like West Virginia, which has only two CAA-accredited SLP programs.
Foundational Course Requirements
Many graduate programs do not specifically require a bachelor’s degree in communicative sciences and disorders, but it can give you a strong advantage. Students who have not previously completed any courses in an undergraduate program in the field may be required to complete a pre-professional program or take additional courses at the beginning of the graduate program.
Typical foundational courses include:
- Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech Mechanism
- Language Acquisition
- Introduction to Communication Disorders
- Diagnostic Audiology
- Aural Rehabilitation
Graduate Program Requirements
Master’s degree programs in speech-language pathology consist of about 48 credits and take between 2 and 3 years to complete.
Courses you can expect to complete in these programs include:
- Evidence-Based Practice in Communication Disorders
- Neurophysiological Bases of Speech and Language
- Child Language and Literacy Disorders
- Advanced Stutter Disorders
- Craniofacial Anomalies
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Near the end of your graduate program, you’ll be completing a clinical practicum. West Virginia requires a 400-hour clinical practicum for licensure.
Step 2. Pass the National Examination to Qualify for a Provisional License
Before you can begin your clinical fellowship in West Virginia, you must pass the national SLP exam.
To register for the exam, follow the instructions on the Praxis registration page. You can take the exam at a Praxis test center in one of the following West Virginia cities:
You must complete the exam’s 132 questions in 150 minutes. The exam is broken up into three categories, which you can study with the provided study materials. Here are some topics you can expect to see on the exam:
- Foundations and Professional Practice – 1/3 of the exam
- Development and performance
- Common communication and swallowing disorders
- Counseling and collaboration
- Client advocacy
- Screening, Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis – 1/3 of the exam
- Screening for disorders
- Developing case histories
- Speech sound production
- Disease processes
- Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Treatment – 1/3 of the exam
- Monitoring treatment progress
- Follow-up processes
- Social aspects of communication
- Communication impairments
- Hearing and aural rehabilitation
To pass the exam, you need to score 162 on a scale of 100-200.
Step 3. Apply for a Provisional License and Complete the Required Clinical Fellowship Program
After passing the national SLP exam, you can now apply for a provisional license and begin your clinical fellowship. To become a licensed SLP in West Virginia, you must complete a clinical fellowship of at least nine months of full-time work.
In your clinical fellowship, you’ll be working directly with patients while supervised by a licensed speech-language pathologist. Much of your work will be determined by the demands of the patients and clients and the nature of the practice setting, which is why ASHA has created a Scope of Practice for SLPs. The Scope of Practice discusses research, counseling, assessment, and advocacy in details, along with other tasks.
The fellowship provides you with your first chance to gain independent exposure to clinical practice outside of your graduate program while being paid for the services you render. This is your chance to start your career in the practice setting and specialized area of focus that interests you, so take time in selecting your fellowship sponsor.
Just a sample of some of the employers of SLPs in West Virginia include:
- Soliant Health, Martinsburg
- Wheeling Hospital, Wheeling
- Genesis Rehab Services, Beckley
- West Virginia University Healthcare, Martinsburg
You must hold a provisional license while completing your clinical fellowship. The application for the provisional license must be received by the Board no later than 30 days into your clinical fellowship.
To receive a provisional SLP license, you must complete an Application for Provisional License and submit it to the Board, along with:
- An official transcript from the college or university where you earned your SLP master’s degree
- Proof of your passing Praxis exam score
- A completed Postgraduate Professional Experience (PPE) Agreement form (must be completed by you and your supervising SLP)
The license lasts for a year and can be renewed once.
Optional CCC-SLP Certification
Upon passing the national SLP exam and completing the required post-graduate clinical fellowship, you will also qualify for the CCC-SLP (Certificate of Clinical Competency in Speech-Language Pathology) through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
This optional designation denotes an advanced level of professionalism and commitment to continuing education.
To apply for this designation, you must complete the Application for the CCC-SLP and submit it to ASHA, along with an official copy of your graduate transcript, an official copy of your SLP exam score sent directly from Praxis, and a completed SLP Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form.
Step 4. Become Licensed and Begin Your Career as a Speech-Language Pathologist
To apply for an SLP license in West Virginia, you must complete and submit the Initial License Application for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology to the Board, along with a copy of your graduate transcripts and a copy of your exam score sent directly from Praxis.
To qualify for licensure, you must also take and pass the Jurisprudence Examination that covers state laws as they relate to providing speech-language therapy services.
As a licensed SLP in West Virginia, you may choose to pursue your career in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, rehab facilities, schools, private practices, and even offer your services through telepractice.
You can view some of the latest SLP job listings through the West Virginia Speech, Language, and Hearing Association Career Center.
Step 5. Maintain SLP Licensure and Complete Continuing Education Requirements
You must renew your West Virginia SLP license biennially on December 31. You can renew your license online.
To renew your license, you must ensure you complete at least 20 hours of continuing education during the two-year renewal period.
Both ASHA and the West Virginia Speech, Language, and Hearing Association are excellent sources of continuing education opportunities.