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A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) is a state licensed, nationally certified healthcare or educational professional who provides diagnostic and treatment services to address disorders of speech, language, hearing, cognition, swallowing and literacy.
In Massachusetts, Speech-Language Pathologists must have a state license, issued by the Board of Registration in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Most Speech-Language Pathologists also have the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. A Master's Degree is the minimum educational requirement for practice in the state.
An Audiologist is a state licensed healthcare professional who provides diagnostic and treatment services related to disorders of hearing and balance. Audiologists can fit people with hearing aids, help with assistive listening devices, or provide support around issues related to hearing loss.
In Massachusetts, Audiologists must have a state license from the Board of Registration. Audiologists may also have the Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA, or Board Certification from the American Academy of Audiology. Audiology will be a doctoral level profession by 2011. Currently, the Master's Degree is the minimum requirement.
You can go to the Division of Professional Licensure website, at www.mass.gov/dpl. Go to the page for the Board of Registration in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and follow the links to search the database of currently licensed professionals in the Commonwealth.
Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists work in a variety of settings, working with people from infancy through geriatrics. We work in hospitals, public and private schools, clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, Early Intervention, and with public agencies. Many clinicians also work in private practice or home care.
A Speech-Language Pathology or Audiology Assistant is a person licensed by the Massachusetts Board of Registration to provide specific services under the DIRECT supervision of a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist or Audiologist. They have an Associates or Bachelor's Degree with a concentration in Communication Disorders. They work within a highly specified scope of practice to assist the Masterï's level clinician with routine tasks. They are not allowed to practice independently, and they have specific supervision requirements. If you are to receive services from an Assistant, you should be explicitly notified.
Many insurance companies have limits on what they will cover with regard to speech-language or hearing services. Prior to contacting a Speech-Language Pathologist or Audiologist, you should check with your primary care physician and your primary carrier to find out about your specific plan. For more information about insurance benefits and how to advocate for coverage with your employer, go to the ASHA website, www.asha.org, and click on the tab marked For the Public.