Frequently Asked Questions

ISHA receives a number of inquiries each month regarding the credentials required to practice in the State of Illinois.  These credentials are the Professional Educator License (PEL) issued by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology licenses issued by the Illinois Division of Professional Regulation (IDPR).  Frank Goldacker, committee chair of the Legislative and Regulatory Committe, has provided answers to the most frequently asked questions based on the most recent information available as of December 2014, however, where there might be a discrepancy because of a change in procedure or policy, ISBE or IDPR makes the official determination.

What is required to work in the Illinois schools if I completed my training out-of-state?
The Professional Educator License (PEL) is required.  For out-of-state or country applicants the requirements are:
1.    Proof of completion of a comparable state-approved program
2.    Appropriate degree from a regionally accredited institution
3.    Coursework in cross-categorical special education methods
4.    Coursework in methods of reading and reading in the content area
5.    Coursework in ESL/bilingual methods
6.    A passing score on the Illinois test of basic skills—the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP 400), or in lieu of the TAP, obtaining proof of an ACT Plus Writing composite score of at least 22, or a SAT (critical reading and mathematics) composite score of 1030. The score report may be no older than 10 years old at the time ISBE 73-60 is submitted.
7.    Those who seek to add a subsequent endorsement and have already passed the TAP (or achieved the required composite score on the ACT Plus Writing or SAT) are not required to pass the test again.
8.    A passing score on the applicable content-area test
9.    A passing score on the Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) test if applying for a teaching endorsement
10.    Satisfactory completion of a student teaching or an equivalent experience

Separate courses in each area may not be required if the content is contained in other courses.  An applicant may need to supply copies of course syllabi to provide evidence.  The final determination for each applicant from out-of-state is made by ISBE.  If an applicant has specific questions, they should contact ISBE.

Additional information regarding the Professional Educator License (PEL) can be found in the Illinois School Code.

What credential is required to work in settings other than Illinois schools?
The speech-language pathology or audiology license issued by IDPR is required.  For new graduates, when applying for the Illinois license, here are some general points to keep in mind:
1.      Apply for your temporary license/SLP license as soon as you have all necessary paperwork to do so.  You submit one application.  All paperwork must be sent in together all at once.  You can access instructions, application forms, and other information on the IDFPR website.    

Note on Temporary Licenses:  Currently, you may practice for up to 120 days from the time you submit your application for temporary license while you wait to receive it, IF you have passed the Praxis exam AND you are waiting for your degree to be officially conferred (i.e. so that the records office will complete the ED form with school seal).  Please note that due to the wording of one clause of the current law, the 120 day period does not apply to anyone who has passed the PRAXIS and waits to send in their application along with their official transcript showing the degree conferred.  If you want to begin work immediately, you must send in your licensure application before your transcript is official.  This is legal under the “practice pending” clause of the speech-language pathology licensure law.  


2.      Apply for temporary license and SLP licensure using the “Acceptance of Examination” method.  Complete the SLP Temporary License form. 
3.      Complete the four page Application for Licensure and/or Examination form.  Use the Reference Sheet attached to the application to enter appropriate codes.
4.     Complete the top of the Certification by Licensing Agency/Board (CT) form with identifying information. Write Not Applicable or N/A at the very top of the form (above the boxes of the form’s name)
5.     Complete the Health Care Workers Charged with or Convicted of Criminal Acts form (CCA)
6.     Complete the top of side one of the Certification of Education (ED) form and give to the person at your university, who will have it completed and signed.  This office will affix the school seal showing that your degree has been conferred, and will then mail the form to you.  You then send it to IDFPR. 

Note:  If you intend to take advantage of practicing for 120 days before you have your temporary license in hand, you will send in all of your licensure application materials except the ED form, and send it later under separate cover. You will receive a deficiency letter from IDFPR; this just means that they will not issue your temporary license until they have the ED form, or all of your materials.  This is not a problem.

7.       Send all of the aforementioned forms along with the combined fees of $165.00 to IDFPR.  When your completed application packet and fees have been received along with your Praxis scores, your temporary license will be processed.  The mailing address for sending in your application is on page three of your packet.  Please note that it often takes several weeks to receive your temporary license.
8.     Keep the Verification of Employment (VE) form.  This is sent in to IDFPR following nine months of supervised professional experience.  Remember, your supervisor must be licensed during the period of supervision to sign the VE form.  The VE form is sent in with a copy of the four page application (send with note that they should have the original application on file).  IDFPR then reviews your application for issuance of your SLP licensure. 
9.     Always keep copies of everything.
10.    If you have questions, contact IDFPR via their website at www.idfpr.com or call (217) 785-0800. 

What is the Praxis exam score needed in order to apply for my SLP license in Illinois?
According to the ASHA website, the passing score for the PRAXIS is 162.  It would be the same for the state of Illinois.

Do I need to take the PRAXIS exam right away in order to apply?
Yes, in the state of Illinois, you need to have passed the PRAXIS prior to receiving your temporary or regular license.

Is it possible to obtain reciprocity in Illinois if I am licensed in another state?
Yes, that would appear to be an option if you are 1) already licensed in another state and 2) hold a current Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from ASHA and 3) have made application for Illinois licensure through the Endorsement method.

How long does it take before I can expect to receive my license?
As of this writing (December 2014), it is taking IDPR approximately 8 weeks to process licensure applications.  That is true regardless of whether an applicant is applying for a temporary license or a “regular” license.  Remember, if the degree has already been conferred, then the applicant cannot work as an SLP until the license is received.  If an applicant has completed their training at a university outside the U.S. and has not been previously licensed to practice speech-language pathology in the U.S., the transcripts will have to be evaluated to determine if coursework is generally equivalent to that of IDFPR-approved training programs.   If that is the case, it may take longer for the application to be approved. 

Do licensing applicants receive confirmation when their completed application was received or is it possible for them to check the status of their application? 
Applicants do not receive confirmation of receipt of the application.  The applicant should keep a copy of the application and note the date it was mailed to IDPR.  The applicant may want to send the application via FedEx, UPS, or registered mail, if a signed receipt is needed.

Is it necessary to obtain and maintain my credentials if I am not currently working as a SLP or audiologist and have no foreseeable plans to return to the field?
Yes!  Absolutely. One can never tell what the future will bring:  divorce, death, or disability of a spouse, spousal role reversal, etc.  The hoops one has to jump through to reactivate credentials (e.g. complete additional college courses; retake the PRAXIS exam, etc.) are not worth it.  If it is years after the fact, one may have difficulty locating the necessary records, certifying individuals, etc. to make application for reinstatement.      

How many students can be on my caseload if I have a full-time speech-language pathology assistant who works with me?
A speech-language pathology assistant (SLPA) licensed through IDFPR does not increase the number of students on your caseload.  A SLPA cannot carry a caseload of her own.  Additional information regarding speech-language pathology assistants may be located in PA 92-0510 section 14-6.03.

For more information on the use of speech-language pathology assistants, ISHA is providing a webinar on supervising speech-language pathology assistants.  This webinar describes the duties and roles of a speech-language pathology assistants in various settings and is available to ISHA members for 4.5 CEUs until June 30, 2015. 

A program assistant, who has taken numerous classes in communication disorders, works with me.  How many students may this individual treat?
A program assistant or aide, who does not have a SLPA license, cannot treat or evaluate any students regardless of the number of classes or amount of experience.  Allowing this individual to treat or evaluate students in any fashion violates the School Code and the Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Practice Act.  Additionally, permitting this individual to treat or evaluate students puts your credentials in jeopardy. 

Can a speech-language pathology paraprofessional be grandfathered into a speech-language pathology assistant license?  
The deadline for grandfathering into the speech-language pathology assistant license has passed.  There is currently no legislation that would allow for this. 

General information on the PEL:  
When the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) moved to the Professional Educator License (PEL), clinicians who held a Type 10, 09, or 03 had two options to consider.  These speech-language pathologists held teaching credentials and as such, could provide services within a classroom as the primary educator without necessitating the presence of another educator.  Speech-language pathologists, who held what were known as Type 10, 09, or 03 teaching certificates, took coursework during their educational program that specifically addressed teaching methodology.  
 
Speech-language pathologists, who previously held a Type 10, 09, or 03 teaching certificate, had the option to convert to a PEL that recognized them as a non-teaching school service personnel or maintain their current designation with a PEL-teaching.   Please note that the time period to convert a Type 10, 09, or 03 teaching certificate to a PEL-non-teaching has passed.  
 
The distinction between a SLP with a PEL-non-teaching and a SLP with a PEL-teaching is important.  The SLP with a PEL-non-teaching should not be delivering services within a classroom setting without an educator being present.  A SLP with a PEL-teaching can stand-alone in a classroom.  A SLP with a PEL-non-teaching is permitted to do “push-in” services; however, this professional should not do so when an educator with a PEL-teaching is not present.  Additionally, a SLP with a PEL-non-teaching should not be covering classroom instruction due to absenteeism of the regular educator or substitute shortage.  
 
Why did ISHA provide the option of professional development hours for SLPs at convention?
 
While some SLPs with a Type 10, 09, or 03 elected to convert to the non-teaching PEL, others elected, as was their right, to continue to honor their additional education coursework with a PEL-teaching.  Under the law, SLPs with a PEL-teaching must meet the professional development hours with their PEL renewal, not just the CEUs required by IDFPR.  Those SLPs with a PEL-teaching and an IDFPR license must meet the 120 professional development hours per 5 year PEL renewal cycle as an educator.  SLPs, without an IDFPR license that have a PEL-non-teaching that serve in the school setting, must also secure the 120 professional development hours each 5 year interim to maintain their PEL.
 
Those speech-language pathologists who previously held a Type 73 moved to a PEL-non-teaching as school service personnel.  This type of PEL regards the CEUs necessary for IDFPR as meeting the continuing education requirement for the PEL renewal.  Under the law, SLPs with a PEL-non-teaching and an IDFPR license do not need any additional hours beyond the 20 CEUS required for the bi-annual IDFPR license renewal to maintain their PEL-non-teaching.  
 
It is important to remember that ISHA does not represent only one segment of clinicians within the state and as such, providing a convention that met the professional development needs of all was a critical consideration.
 
Why are my dues paying for CPDUs or professional development hours for some SLPs?
 
ISHA did not pay any fee to provide professional development hours for SLPs with PEL-teaching.  ISHA does owe a huge thank you to the efforts of Denise Prohaska, the 2015 ISHA Convention Coordinator, for securing sponsorship from District 118.  In addition, ISHA is grateful for the support of the superintendent of District 118 for complying with all regulations mandated by ISBE as an approved provider.  Without this support, ISHA would not have been able to offer these professional development hours.   ISHA is in the process of completing the provider application for recognition as an approved provider by ISBE for the 2016 convention.  
 
SLPs with a PEL-teaching that renewed in the summer of 2014 now have to comply with the new requirements as to professional development hours to maintain their PEL.  With each renewal cycle from 2015 onward, those SLPs with a PEL-teaching will also be required to do so.  
 
While the majority of the attendees at the ISHA convention are SLPs or audiologists, professionals from other disciplines may attend the ISHA convention, and ISHA wishes to be able to also provide CPDUs to these individuals.
 
Are SLPs with a PEL-teaching licensed under IDFPR?

The PEL-teaching, PEL-non-teaching, and the IDFPR license are not one in the same, and as such, any SLP within the state of Illinois may hold a PEL (teaching or non-teaching) as well as the IDFPR license.  It is erroneous to assume that SLPs with a PEL-teaching do not hold our professional license from IDFPR or that they have somehow been negligent in procuring licensure from IDFPR.