In Wyoming, the speech-language pathology profession is experiencing a period of rapid growth that’s projected to continue well into the future. According to the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, the number of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in the state is expected to grow 19 percent during the ten-year period leading up to 2024.
One of the strongest players in the speech-language pathology community is the University of Wyoming Health Sciences Center, which operates the UW Speech and Hearing Clinic. The UW Speech and Hearing Clinic provides speech-language-hearing services for the citizens of Wyoming, while also serving as a training ground for graduate students and a leading research institution that is currently exploring treatments related to traumatic brain injury-related speech disabilities.
To become licensed as an SLP in Wyoming, you must meet the requirements of the Wyoming Board of Speech Pathology and Audiology. The Board requires applicants to earn a master’s degrees in speech-language pathology, complete a clinical fellowship experience, and pass a national SLP exam.
Follow these steps to become a licensed speech-language pathologist in Wyoming:
Step 1. Complete a Qualifying Master’s Degree Program in Speech-Language Pathology
The first step to becoming a Wyoming SLP is completing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) accredits both traditional, campus-based programs and online programs.
Online SLP graduate degree programs, which allow students to complete their graduate studies regardless of their geographic location, are particularly beneficial for students in Wyoming, which is home to just one CAA-accredited campus-based program – the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Wyoming.
Bachelor’s Degree Requirements
To qualify for admission into a master’s degree in SLP, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
Although students with an undergraduate degree in the field of communication sciences and disorders have the easiest path to a master’s degree in this field, those who possess an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field can move forward with their graduate studies upon completion of several undergraduate prerequisite courses, which often include:
- Language Acquisition
- Speech Development and Disorders
- Language Development and Disorders in Children
- Introduction to Audiology and Aural Rehabilitation
- Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Swallowing Mechanism
Master’s Degree Requirements
A master’s degree in speech-language pathology consists of about 48 credits.
You can expect to take courses such as:
- Phonetics and Phonological Development
- Language Development
- Aural Rehabilitation
- Acoustics of Speech & Hearing
- Neurological Bases of Communication
- Language Disorders Across the Lifespan
A supervised clinical practicum is the culmination of an SLP master’s degree. To be eligible for licensure in Wyoming, you must complete a practicum of at least 375 hours.
Step 2. Pass the National SLP Examination
Wyoming is one of just a few states that require passing the national SLP exam before commencing a post-graduate clinical fellowship.
To take the national SLP exam, administered by Praxis, you must register on the Praxis registration page. You must then take the exam at one of the Praxis testing centers located throughout the U.S. In Wyoming, you may take the exam at a testing center in the one of the following cities:
Before you take the exam, you can begin studying using the Praxis preparation materials. The exam is 132 questions long, and you’ll have 150 minutes to complete it. The questions are divided into three categories with the following subcategories:
- Foundations and Professional Practice – 1/3 of the exam
- Typical development and performance across the lifespan
- Factors that influence communication, feeding, and swallowing
- Wellness and prevention
- Counseling, collaboration, and teaming
- Screening, Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis – 1/3 of the exam
- Developing case histories
- Selecting appropriate assessment instruments, procedures, and materials
- Assessment of anatomy and physiology
- Causes of neurological disorders
- Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Treatment – 1/3 of the exam
- Initiating and prioritizing treatment and development goals
- Generating a prognosis
- Treatment of speech sound production issues
- Treatment involving augmentative and alternative communication
To pass the exam, you need to score 162 on a scale of 100-200.
Step 3. Earn a Provisional License and Complete a 36-Week Clinical Fellowship Program
With a passing score on the Praxis exam, you can begin your clinical fellowship required to qualify for licensure.
The post-graduate fellowship is your opportunity to get your career started in a work setting and specialized area of practice that you are most interested in, whether this means working with newborns in a neonatal intensive care unit, or elderly stroke victims in a rehabilitation clinic.
Just a few of the employers of SLPs in Wyoming that may serve as facilitators of your clinical fellowship include:
- Advanced Travel Therapy: Riverton
- Infinity MedStaff: Gillette
- Sheridan Memorial Hospital, Wyoming Rehab: Sheridan
- The Shriver Therapy Group, Casper
The Board requires clinical fellows to work with a provisional license, which requires a master’s degree in speech-language pathology and a passing score on the Praxis exam.
To apply for the provisional license, you must complete the Provisional License application packet, which includes a Supervision Agreement for Provisional License. You must also submit graduate transcripts and your Praxis exam score.
Your clinical fellowship must consist of at least 36 weeks of full-time work. You may also complete it on a part-time basis, provided you work at least 5 hours a week.
Once you have completed your clinical fellowship, your SLP supervisor must complete the Supervision Clinical Fellowship Rating Form. It will be used to document the completion of your clinical fellowship when applying for your Wyoming SLP license.
Optional CCC-SLP Certification
After passing the SLP exam and completing your clinical fellowship, you may apply for the Certificate of Clinical Competency in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) through the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), a voluntary national certification that is universally recognized in the field.
Although not a requirement for licensure, many SLPs pursue it because it demonstrates an advanced commitment to the profession and may therefore be helpful when seeking a job or advancing in the profession.
To apply for the CCC-SLP, fill out the Application for the CCC-SLP and send it to ASHA, along with the SLP Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form, your passing SLP exam score, and an official transcript from your graduate program.
Step 4. Become Licensed and Begin Your Career as a Speech-Language Pathologist
You must complete the Licensure by Completing Provisional form and submit it to the Board, along with the SLP Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form, your graduate transcripts, and your SLP exam score.
With a licensed in hand, you can pursue your speech-language pathology career in Wyoming.
The Wyoming Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Career Center is an excellent resource for current job openings.
If you are interested in pursuing a job in a school setting, you can search the Wyoming School Boards Association Vacancies page.
Step 5. Maintain SLP Licensure and Complete Continuing Education Requirements
To keep your SLP license current, you must renew it annually on December 31. The Board will send reminders in the mail one to two months before the deadline. You can download the renewal application on the renewal page.
To qualify for renewal, you must complete at least 12 continuing education units during your renewal period. The Wyoming Speech-Language-Hearing Association serves as an excellent resource for continuing education opportunities.