Michigan House Republicans
VanderWall bill addresses shortage of speech pathologists in Michigan
RELEASE|February 21, 2024

The Michigan House has approved Rep. VanderWall’s bill giving speech pathology professionals more time to complete their postgraduate experience to obtain full licensure.

Speech pathologists – specialists who work to prevent, assess, and treat speech, language and other disorders – must meet educational and experience requirements to be fully licensed in Michigan.

To be licensed, an individual must possess a Master’s or Doctor of Science degree or Doctor of Philosophy degree in speech-language pathology. They must then pass a licensing exam after completing the equivalent of nine months, or 1260 hours, of full-time supervised postgraduate clinical experience.

To fulfill that nine-month period, Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs offers a temporary 12-month license, but it’s not renewable. VanderWall’s bill would extend validity to 24 months and allow for an additional 12-month extension.

“There’s a shortage of special educators across the country, including here in Michigan,” VanderWall said. “Extending the temporary licensure of these qualified individuals while they are completing very time-extensive requirements will allow more professionals to enter the field and fill the gap in services for kids needing special attention.

“We’re talking about professionals who have already earned master’s or doctoral degrees. They have proven to be qualified speech experts. If our goal is to improve access to care, the state shouldn’t hold them back with time-restrictive licensing hurdles.”

The bill, House Bill 4101, received overwhelming bipartisan support and now moves to be considered by the state Senate.


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