In order to pursue a career in speech pathology or audiology, residents in the state of Washington need to go through the licensure process and take a higher education program.
There are four different universities at three locations in the state that have met accreditation standards by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
The ASHA has been one of the leading certifying organizations in this field since 1952 and it works with the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to provide national Praxis exam standards.
Gaining a degree from these schools will be the first step in gaining a license, which is needed in order to help patients with speech and swallowing disorders.
Popular Washington Locations with SLP Degrees
There are three locations in the state that have institutions offering an ASHA-accredited program. Spokane is home to Eastern Washington University and Washington State University, who offer a Master's degree in speech-language pathology.
The University of Washington is located in Seattle, one of the two institutions that offers a Doctorate in Audiology in addition to a Master's program - the other is Western Washington University in Bellingham. The state's capital city also has many SLP positions available at local rehabilitation and heath care centers.
University of Washington - Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology
The Department of Speech and Hearing Services has a core and medical-focused Master's degree that are both accredited by the ASHA and by completing the program, graduates will be eligible for the Certificate of Clinical Competence. The core program is for full-time students that takes two years to complete, and the curriculum will consist of research methods and disorder studies while working mostly at the clinical facilities on campus. Foundational courses, selecting the subject for the Master's thesis, and determining a specific career pathway in the medical field is what takes place in the first year, and the second year will enable the student to pursue electives and various preparational activities.
The medical format has an emphasis in courses for future professionals in hospitals and rehabilitation clinics, examples being: Advanced Neurological Language Disorders, Assessment and Treatment of Pediatric Dysphagia, Evidence-Based Practice, and a seminar on Traumatic Brain Injury. These will be in place of the electives from the prior degree. In comparison, the core degree is better suited for professionals that will work in schools and universities, or is exploring the practice in general. While the curriculum and practicum will differ between the two programs, there is a full-time internship that culminates either one.
Washington State University - Master of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences
The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine has a Master's program that will prepare students to work with various age groups in research studies and clinical practicum sessions. Patients will range between preschool children up to adults who are all suffering from developmental speech issues and neurological disorders. The program can be completed in two years and requires summer schooling in order to meet this goal. Clinical practicum and internship opportunities are also completed in the summer. Every student since the 2014-15 academic year passed the national Praxis exam with a median score of 180 and they were employed within the first year of graduation.
Examples of courses that can be taken in the core curriculum include Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Disorders, Problems in Stuttering, Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Disorders, and Augmentative Communication. Admission requirements for the program include prospective students holding a Bachelor's degree with an accredited university, and they should have a 3.0 minimum GPA over the last 60 credit hours of the undergraduate program. They must also submit GRE scores. If they do not have proper coursework in their undergraduate degree that was in a different discipline, there is an additional year of coursework that can be completed.
SLP Licensure in Washington
The Washington State Department of Health handles the licensing for speech-language pathologists, reviewing submissions and the renewal process. Applicants must have a least a Master’s degree in communication studies that included clinical practicum courses. A fellowship that features 36 total weeks of full-time experience that is reviewed and signed off by a supervisor. This can also be completed in a part-time schedule, but will take longer to fulfill the requirement.
Another mandatory need for the certification is completion of the national Praxis exam with a verifiable and passible score. Each candidate must also verify their personal data and explanation of any professional liability claims they have dealt with or are currently ongoing. At least four hours of HIV and AIDS education is needed. If the applicant has held licensure in any other state or currently does, that will need to be verified by the jurisdiction it is held in.
30 educational hours are needed to renew the license, which must happen every three years. Within that education, at least one hour should be on infection control. This renewal process also goes for audiologists and hearing aid specialists.
SLP Washington Career Options
Since 1979, the Children’s Therapy Center is one of the most recognized pediatric therapy organizations in the state of Washington with locations in Burien, Kent, Maple Valley, and Tacoma. Services are separated by early intervention before the age of three and the remaining services for children up to the age of 18. Services geared toward babies and toddlers will attempt to diagnose future disorders, such as delays or struggles in speech ability, walking, and swallowing.
Infinity Rehab has a link with a number of rehabilitation and health care centers that provide services for speech and swallowing disorders. They have many locations in the state of Washington and will provide therapeutic service to patients dealing with orthopedic and neurological disorders. Locations that have speech-language pathologists include Seattle, Mount Vernon, and Bothell.