Skip to main content
Welcome to the Office of the Professions’ newly redesigned website. Portions of this site may still be under development, so if you experience any issues or have any questions please submit a Website Feedback Form.
  • NYSED Homepage
  • Disclaimer
  • Contact Us
  • NYSED Employment
  • Board Members Only
What You Should Know About Speech-Language Pathologists and Their Services
Icon for the answer

A speech-language pathologist is a licensed health care professional who diagnoses, evaluates, and treats disorders of speech, voice, swallowing, and/or language.

Icon for the answer

Speech-language pathologists treat communication problems in infants, children, adolescents and adults. You might consult a speech-language pathologist to help....

  • someone with a speech impairment, such as stuttering, slurred speech, or voice problems;
  • someone whose speech or language has been affected by a stroke or head injury;
  • someone whose speech has been affected by surgery;
  • someone with a swallowing disorder.

You might use the services of a speech-language pathologist for a child if. . . .

  • you have difficulty understanding what the child is trying to say;
  • you think the child is speaking differently from children of the same age;
  • the child has difficulty telling you what he or she wants; or
  • the child has difficulty understanding what people are saying.
Icon for the answer

If a speech-language evaluation indicates that speech or language therapy is needed, the speech-language pathologist will design a program of activities to improve the targeted areas of speech, language, or voice disability or delay. The therapy may focus on the ability to better comprehend language and to use language in a way others can understand.

Icon for the answer

A New York speech-language pathologist has completed a minimum of a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology. This includes courses in basic communication processes, audiology, scientific areas of speech-language pathology and language, as well as a supervised practice of at least 300 hours. In addition, New York licensed speech-language pathologists have satisfactorily completed at least nine months of paid supervised experience and passed a written, State-approved licensing examination.

Licensed speech-language pathologists are also required by law to complete 30 hours of continuing competency learning activities every three years.

Icon for the answer

Speech-language pathologists work in a variety of settings, including private offices, clinics, schools, and hospitals. They may also provide therapy in your home.

Check with your doctor and people you know who have had a successful experience with a speech-language pathologist. You can also check under "Speech-language Pathologists" or "Speech Pathologist" in the yellow pages of your telephone book.

You may also call professional organizations for assistance in identifying member providers. The State Board for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology cannot refer you to a practitioner.

Icon for the answer

It may. Many speech-language pathologists participate in health care plans. Review and understand your insurance plan, and contact your insurance provider to understand your plan’s benefits.

Icon for the answer

Ask such questions as whether the service location is physically accessible (curb cuts, ramps, restrooms, etc.) as well as whether there is a Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) and parking for people with disabilities.

Icon for the answer

Your patient file contains a record of your evaluation and treatment. Speech-language pathologists must keep client records for six years or until the client turns 22, whichever is longer.

Generally, your records are confidential unless you approve their release. Ask your professional about exceptions to this. If you want a copy of your records, provide your speech-language pathologist with a written request. You may be charged a reasonable fee to offset the cost of providing copies.

Icon for the answer
  • Answer all health-related questions completely and accurately
  • Ask questions to help you understand your disorder and your treatment
  • Follow instructions that your speech-language pathologist may give you
Icon for the answer

New York speech-language pathologists must display a current New York registration certificate; this certificate lists the professional’s name, address, and dates of the registration period. Speech-language pathologists must reregister every three years to practice in New York. Some professionals also display their original New York license, diploma, licenses from other states, and membership certificates. You may verify an individual's license and registration on this site.