The Steps to Getting my California Speech-Language Pathologist License in 6 Weeks

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Wanting to become licensed to work as a Speech-Language Pathologist in California?  Are you wondering how to apply for the California SLP license?

I totally understand this! I am here to break down the steps on how to get a California SLP license!

Actually, I long feared getting my California SLP license. Because I heard the process was very difficult and time-consuming.

Despite the beautiful vistas, endless job opportunities, and lucrative bill rates of California, I spent many years as a traveling SLP without so much as even looking at the actual requirements for myself.

However, I was pleasantly surprised when I visited the SLP and AuD board website. The CA SLP Qualifications were actually easier to complete than other states and that the application process was clearly described online.

Related: If you do not already hold an SLP license in another state, please read this piece: How To Become an SLP 

Check out this website for the full California state requirements:


Application Summary:

5 requirements for a California SLP license as follows:

  1. A Master’s or equivalent degree in Speech Pathology
  2. Have completed 300 hours of supervised clinical practicum in 3 different settings
  3. Have completed a 36-week full time or 72-week part-time required professional experience
  4. Pass the PRAXIS
  5. Submit to Fingerprinting

Now here is the great news: California offers 5 pathways to licensure! If you are currently licensed by ASHA or another state, you have already completed requirements 1-4.

5 pathways to a California SLP license:

  1. Required professional experience (i.e. CFs)
  2. Equivalent qualifications (for current CCC-holding ASHA members)
  3. Licensed in another state (must possess an active state license in another state)
  4. Previously licensed in California
  5. Foreign educated

Personally, I completed Pathway 2 based upon verification of my CCC status from ASHA.

I first requested that ASHA send a verification letter of my Certificate of Clinical Competence to the board. This is a free service for current ASHA members.

Next, I completed a basic written application, which was easily accessible online.

I had to attach a passport-sized photo of myself to the application. I got my photo taken at Walgreen’s.

Finger Printing

The most challenging part of the application process was the fingerprinting requirement.

In California, you can get fingerprinted at a Livescan center.

Livescan is a fingerprinting service that has locations across California. To use Livescan, you print out a semi-completed form from the online application, which you then fill out with your personal information.  You take that form with you to the Livescan operator, pay the operator and then send a copy of the form to the boards with your application.

If you are out of state, you cannot complete the Livescan printing.  Instead, you can get your fingerprints at any place that does printing (e.g. police stations) using 2 FD-258 cards.

You also need to add an extra fee to the processing fee of your application to have the prints read.

I purchased two blank cards from the police station where I did my prints for a cost of $20.

The cards were blank and therefore, I had to provide a lot of identifying information.

In order to fill out the cards with the correct information for the California board (i.e. address and agency identifying number), I copied the information that was listed on the Livescan card from the website.  I completed 2 cards and mailed them in with my application.

Of note: After sending in my application I received an email from the California board saying that they can send the FD-258 cards to out of state applicants to take to the police station with you to have the prints completed.

Mailing The Application

After completing the fingerprinting and application, you need to mail in the application packet.

The packet consists of the written application with a picture, fingerprints, and check for application fee plus fingerprinting fee.

About a week after I sent the application, I received an email from the California board informing me that they had received my application.

They gave me an application tracking number and a timeframe within which they would process my application.  Around 6 weeks later I got my license in the mail!

Overall, getting my license in California was pretty easy!

My only regret is that I did not get the license sooner!

33 thoughts on “The Steps to Getting my California Speech-Language Pathologist License in 6 Weeks”

      1. Hi Julia
        I dont know where to start or who to go to.I live in California .I have a BA in education.I am interested in becoming a speech pathologyst.Can you advise me who to speak to first.
        THANK YOU

        1. Hi I would recommend checking out the American Speech & Hearing Association website for info on becoming an SLP. The process takes a couple of years. You need a masters degree in an approved communication disorders program and a clinical fellowship. https://www.asha.org/slp/

  1. Hello Julia – great website!
    How did you get around in California? Did you rent a car? I’m from midwest and considering a CA assignment. Any advice?

    1. Hello Tatiana! Thank you! I brought my car from the East Coast out to California. I was working on a limited time frame so I shipped it, but otherwise I would have drove. 🙂

      1. HI Julie,
        Who did you use for shipping your car? Were you pleased with the company that shipped for you?
        I will be shipping a small SUV from California to Georgia.
        Thanks so much,
        Kathleen Dorsey

        1. Hi Kathleen, I have shipped my car multiple times and have never been completely satisfied with the transporter, mostly because the pickup and drop off times were different than anticipated. I usually get quotes off of Uship and book a driver off of there. It all depends on the timing of your driver. I have had my car picked up late and arrive late many times. The key is being flexible and having a back up plan if the driver doesn’t arrive when you want them to. Perhaps it’s giving your keys to somebody else to do the drop-off or renting a car while you’re waiting for your car to arrive. Good luck!

  2. Hi Julia. Where did you train? I qualified in london and am looking to work in California. In some states I know you need a masters but I was hoping in California this wasn’t the case to get a license and work. Any info would be greatly appreciated. All seems a bit Of a mine field.

    1. Hi Clare,
      I know this is a long shot however I am currently in the same situation and wondering how you got on?
      I’m at the beginning phase but as you said so accurately it is a mine field.
      Would really appreciate some info if you can share.

  3. Outstanding job Julia. Great job on your question and answers. Definitely easier than I imagined. TN and Florida were the two most difficult licenses with TN being the most expensive. Currently in Arizona 2 miles from Cali and plan to get .CA licensure. Thanks.

  4. I see on the application it asks i you’ve taken the praxis in the last 5 years. Is that a requirement? Will I have to re-take the Praxis?

    1. If you applying under pathway 2 where you have your CCC’s, you don’t have to submit your PRAXIS score (per the info on the website and that is what I did).

  5. I have undergraduate coursework (BA degree) in SLP, audiology and education for the deaf (graduated in 1994) and an MA in education of the deaf. I also have a second MA in education administration and a Ph,D. in education leadership. I am currently working as a principal in a small district but have wondered what I would need to do to satisfy the MA is SLP or equivalent. Any ideas? I have considered getting a licence to be able to do some side work as there is such a need. I have been working in educ. of the deaf, general ed, special ed and supervised our SLPs for the past 15 years, so have some relatively recent experience. Would need to figure out what I would need to prep for the PRAXIS, etc. Thanks in advance for info.

  6. Alvaro Mendoza Heinig

    Thank you very much, Julia. Do you know what additional documentation and/or steps are needed to work as a school SLP in CA?

    1. Hi, I never worked in the schools so I’m sadly not the best person to answer this one. As far as I know as a contractor, you don’t need an extra cert for the schools. However, if you work directly for the schools there is an extra certification that you would need.

  7. Hi Julia,

    Any idea of what I need to do to get a CFY in California? I’m currently a graduate student in New York, but I’m interested in moving to California after graduation.

    1. I’m not really familiar with the CF process for CA. If you get a job, your CF supervision should be able to help you with the process.

    2. Hi Alix,

      I am currently looking on how to gain a CFY in California and what how to obtain the needed licensure before you start your CFY. Did you end up having success with your process?

  8. hi Julia ! thanks for the information my question is can you take classes online to get your SLP license ? and how long did it take you all together to get the license that’s including all the steps you listed.

    1. There are some schools that are now offering online graduate programs for a master of SLP. Here is a list that I found:https://speechpathologymastersprograms.com/. From start to finish, it took me 7 years to become a licensed SLP. That includes college (I majored in communication sciences and disorders), a Master’s degree, and my clinical fellowship.

  9. Julia,
    Thank you for your post! I have just started traveling after many years of working in one state. I have always heard how horrific CA licensing for SLPs are. You have really simplified the process. As a traveling SLP do you have similar steps for licensing in other states? One I am looking at is Texas.


    1. Hi Kate, thanks for the nice message! I currently do not have posts on getting licensed in other states, but I was thinking about doing some. I got licensed in Texas 10 years ago, so I know that the process has changed a bit since I did it. Here is a link to the state board to review their policies. Hope it helps. 🙂 https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/slpa/slp-license-apply.htm

  10. Dear Julia,

    How nice to meet an SLP who’s loving living in the Coachella Valley! I’m a California expat (lived overseas for 10) but did live in Palm Desert right behind El Paseo 2016-2017, have family there. I have an M.A. in Ling/TESOL from CA with some of the levelling coursework included, also vocal training, IPA, etc.. I’ve been looking at doing an MA in SLP since 2001, but haven’t taken the plunge, now getting serious about it. If I wanted to relocate to CA, would you recommend doing an SLP in CA, or doing an on-line M.A.? (I could go to UNM or NMSU fairly cheaply, but would have to wait for annual in-takes.)
    BTW have you checked out MamaGena’s or The Nest? There are so many fantastic eateries and watering holes in PD/PS if you are so inclined.
    Sasha Miller
    Thank you. Any response at all greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Sasha, Thanks for the message! I spent 3 months in the Palm Desert area as a traveling SLP and it was barely enough time to tap into the area. So much to do there. I don’t have a strong opinion on in-person programs versus online. In my opinion, I would look more into where the school can get you externship placements and if it matches what you are looking for. Best of luck!

  11. Hello Julia,
    I am a previous CA state SLP license holder…15 years ago now. My Florida license just expired. I live in ST Louis, and have an active/current Missouri SLP license. I’d like to consider doing some travel to California for an assignment or two this year. What would you say is the quickest way to reapply for the CA license? The out of state license holder or previous CA license holder?

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