Vermont Licensure History
In 2002, the Vermont Legislature passed the first ever legislation, which required ALL speech language pathologists and audiologists in the State of Vermont to obtain licensure regardless of employment setting. This requirement pertains to professionals working in schools, as well as those in private practice, health care and clinical settings, and on contract to these institutions. Since October 1, 2004, all Audiologists and SLP’s practicing in Vermont have been required to be licensed by the Vermont Department of Education (26 V.S.A. chapter 87 and State Board rule 5436). The Vermont DOE is the issuing agency. This success came after 10 years of lobbying efforts.
The hard work & dedicated efforts of the following VSHA members helped to pass this first ever universal licensure bill in the state of Vermont: Amy Wagner, Stephanie Keitel, Scott Stone, Patti Taffel, Jessie Graham, Julie Taylor, Judy Yandow, Kairn Stetler Kelley, Jane Amis, & Gayle Belin.
Non-VSHA members also worked behind the scenes: Peter Youngbear, then-Executive Director, VT Coalition for Disability Rights (VCDR), Lila Richardson, Legal Counsel, VCDR, Madeleine Mongan, Legal Counsel, VCDR, Representative Karen Kitzmiller, Montpelier, Representative Francis Brooks, Montpelier, Representative Donna Sweeney, Windsor, Representative Kurt Wright, Burlington, Senator Bill Doyle, Washington, Anne Bordonaro, Department of Education (DOE), Manuela Fonseca, DOE, & John Nelson, Legal Counsel, DOE
People might want to know why we even needed a licensure law in the state of Vermont. First of all, the law was enacted to:
- Protect the consumer (students, patients, SNF residents, clients, schools systems, third party payers, etc.);
- Insure that the highest quality of services are available to consumers;
- Insure the provision of services by professionals who are held accountable for the quality of their services.
- Provide for a consistent standard of practice by appropriately limiting the use of professional titles (i.e., speech- language pathologist, audiologist)
- Define the scope of practice for these titles.
- Provide consumers with access to a list of credentialed speech language pathologists & audiologists in the state.
To review the numbers, in 2004 there were approximately 325 SLPs & Audiologists practicing in Vermont. There were close to 300 SLPs, 25-30 Audiologists, 75% worked in the schools, & 25% worked in hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, the university setting, and private practice. Prior to our licensure law, we were 1 of only 4 states that did not regulate SLPs & Audiologists outside of schools.
In 1969: Florida passed the first ever licensure law for SLPS & Audiologists. VSHA entered the licensure ‘game’ in 1989 but didn't submit the first application for preliminary assessment for state regulation until 1999. In August 1999, a Public Hearing at the Office of Professional Regulation resulted in the following conclusions: “Unregulated practice could clearly endanger the health, safety or welfare of the public.” Dangers included but were not limited to:
- aspiration, pneumonia, & death from incompetence in the area of dysphagia;
- failure to refer neurologically involved patients for appropriate medical management;
- failure to refer voice patients to an ENT when they present with hoarseness which could delay appropriate diagnosis & treatment of laryngeal cancer;
- erroneous diagnosis or treatment, or failure to diagnose & the problem remains undetected & untreated
- incorrect educational placement;
- extended therapy during a child’s school years, causing them to miss classes or other educational opportunities;
- social withdrawal;
- increased cost of paying for ineffective therapy due to incorrect identification: by school, by parents, or by third party payers.
The Licensure Bill was submitted to the Vermont House of Representatives several times & was finally successful in Winter 2002. Senator Bill Doyle was the sponsor & it was passed by the full legislature during the spring 2002 legislative session to begin July 1, 2003. A glitch in the way the statute was written caused a delay in the start of licensure. Not much happened till summer 2003, during which time, the accompanying rules were created & public comment sessions held in March 2004. The DOE prepared a report that detailed the comments from these sessions & submitted it to the State Board of Education & Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR), for review & approval. The SBE met in June & failed to take up the licensure issue. They subsequently had a teleconference to discuss the bill & proposed rules, & came up with a plan for implementation. They passed the revised proposed rules & then it went to LCAR for final approval.
The rules to accompany the bill were developed at & by the Department of Education (the issuing agency) & worked on by various VSHA members. Here are the basic requirements for obtaining & maintaining a license.
- Master’s degree or equivalent from an accredited Program in SLP or Audiology.
- Passing scores on the Praxis II (aka: the ASHA exam): 600 or better.
- Supervised post graduate period (similar to a 9 month CFY advised by ASHA).
- Meet all requirements of Certificate of Clinical Competence though one does not need to apply for the CCC or become a member of ASHA.
- For school SLPs & Auds only:
• Passing score on Praxis I or acceptable scores on the SAT’s or GRE’ (this is outlined on the DOE website).
- An additional educational endorsement is required for those working in VT schools
• The endorsement is in addition to the basic requirements for all SLPs & Audiologists & would insure additional knowledge required to be effective in school settings
• Knowledge of IDEA laws
• Writing of IEPs
- Complete the licensure application, including supporting documentation, and pay the appropriate fees.
Other concerns may be on the minds of professionals in the state:
- You let your ASHA membership lapse
- You never acquired ASHA membership
- You only consult in schools but have a private practice
- You are from out of state
- You are an out-of-stater and need proof to obtain the endorsement for schools.
Check the DOE website
Check the ASHA website
If your CCC’s have lapsed 5 years or less, there is a fee to reinstate. Call 1-800-498-2071. If your CCC’s have lapsed more than 5 years there are two (2) options: reinstatement fee and retake the Praxis II with a score of 600 or better. Or fill out the entire ASHA application & begin afresh.