State Licensure and the Speech-Language-Hearing Interstate Compact
You are a Speech-Language Pathologist with a master’s degree.
You have your ASHA CCC-SLP certification.
You are licensed in your state of residence.
Congratulations! You have worked hard and achieved some pretty big goals. Becoming an SLP is not an easy task and there are definitely rewards to be had for obtaining those goals.
So, now you’re considering giving teletherapy a try? You’ve heard about it and done some research. It sounds great to be able to work from home and still be able to provide excellent services to students or adults all over the country. And it is! I have done telepractice for the last 8 years! I love it! I honestly don’t ever see myself working outside of my home office ever again.
But, you ask, don’t I have to be licensed in other states to do that? And the answer is a resounding yes! I currently hold 7 state licenses and have 2 additional teaching certificates in Speech-Language Pathology where it is required to provide services to the schools in those states. Over the last 25 years, I have been licensed in 12 different states. Current laws require you to be licensed both in your home state and the students’/patients’ state to provide services legally.
One great thing about our profession is that there’s help and guidance to be found. The American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA) has a state advocacy team. They keep up to date on all the issues related to our profession and offer assistance and resources to ASHA members. I have included a link at the bottom. A word of caution when looking at this information, be sure to confirm that the information is up to date. ASHA updates each state on this site annually.
The National Council of State Boards of Examiners (NCSB) also has great information about States with Telepractice Laws and States with CEU Requirements specific to Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. See the link below to explore their information as well.
The best news I can give you regarding licensure and wading through the piles of paperwork is a Speech-Language-Hearing Interstate Compact (SLHIC) that is currently in the works. According to ASHA’s website, “An interstate compact is an agreement between states that would offer a pathway for licensure to qualified audiologists and speech-language pathologists who wish to practice in multiple states. An interstate compact would increase access to services for clients in underserved or rural areas and would allow practitioners to more easily connect with experts and clients through the use of technology in other states.”
ASHA also states, “In collaboration with the National Council of State Boards of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (NCSB), ASHA has contracted with the Council of State Governments – National Center for Interstate Compacts (CSG) to facilitate the development and implementation of an interstate compact for audiologists and speech-language pathologists.” The compact is not yet complete, but I did find notices in the NCSB Newsletter giving updates regarding the process. The most recent was from the Summer 2018 newsletter. ASHA has also updated information on the compact with the most recent being in Fall 2018. See the links below for updates and FAQs regarding the compact.
Although the SLHIC is not currently available, it is encouraging to know that it is being worked on and hopefully coming in the next couple of years. In the meantime, many therapy companies will provide you with assistance and guidance in obtaining the licensure you need to be legally compliant to provide services in the states you are working in or potentially could work in at a future time. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to know the law and protect the professional licensure that you worked so hard to achieve.