OTC Hearing Aids and "Prescription" Hearing Aids Resource Page view page


List of Information

In order to obtain Clinical Fieldwork in NC you must be under the auspice of a college or university or hold a temporary registration with this Board. This means you must be currently enrolled and must have prior approval from your school, or hold a temporary registration with this Board before you may begin obtaining any clinical fieldwork hours. All Speech-Language Pathologists must register any individual looking to provide direct patient services in the state of NC as outlined in Administrative Code 21 NCAC 64 .1004 Authorized Tasks of Speech-Language Pathology Assistants (a). If a Speech-Language Pathologist supervises or provides supervision for an unregistered individual they are in violation of Article 22 § 90-301A Unethical acts and practices (2) and (8).

In addition to the potential SLP holding a full license for at least 2 years, the Board also requires the potential SLP supervisor to have at least one year experience supervising an SLP-Assistant.

For applicants who hold a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Science Disorders, you are required to obtain 100 hours of clinical fieldwork in SLP-Assisting. You must first obtain a temporary SLP-Assistant registration under a supervisor who has been approved by the Board in order to complete the 100 hours of clinical fieldwork in SLP-Assisting. To be eligible to supervise a Temporary SLP-Assistant, the licensed Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) must have held a full, unrestricted SLP license for at least two years and must have supervised an SLP-Assistant with a full registration for at least one year.

The NCBOESLPA and its employees serve members of the public in order to safeguard public health, safety and welfare pursuant to the policy established by the state of NC and NCGS 90-292. In effectuating that policy, the NCBOESLPA and its employees endeavor to engage in responsiveness, transparency and the highest level of professionalism and expects the same level of professionalism from licensees/registrants and potential licensees/registrants of the NCBOESLPA. Therefore, NCBOESLPA employees reserve the right to refuse assistance to any licensee or registrant who is engaging in abusive or disruptive behavior until that behavior has been restated to a professional manner.

As a result of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) OTC Hearing Aid Regulations, the Board is providing additional guidance to licensees regarding the state’s statutory requirements. The strict sale of Over-The-Counter (OTC) hearing aids without fitting and maintenance by an Audiologist shall not fall under the purview of the Board.

The online sale and fitting of a traditional or “prescription” hearing aid falls under the jurisdiction of NC Administrative Code Title 21, Chapter 64 sections .0215 Standard of Practice for Audiological Evaluations and .0220 Standards for Audiologists who Dispense Hearing Aids. Licensees are required to follow all rules related to dispensing prescription hearing aids no matter the service delivery model.

If an Audiologist fits, programs, orients and/or maintains an OTC hearing aid for a patient; it falls under the practice of Audiology and the jurisdiction of the NC Board of Examiners for Speech and Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

For “prescription” hearing aids, licensees are to continue to follow all state statutes under Article 22 Licensure Act for Speech and Language Pathologists and Audiologists and rules under the North Carolina Administrative Code Title 21, Chapter 64, surrounding the assessment and dispensing of traditional or “prescription” hearing aids for adults and children.

The Board’s guidance on Ethical Practices in Addressing Vacancies in the NC School Settings can be viewed here.

On Friday, August 26, 2022, the Board voted to withdraw the proposed rule requiring audiometric screenings as part of all speech-language evaluations. It was determined that unintentional barriers to care would be created with enacting this rule. Moving forward the Board will work to create educational reminders for licensees of best practices with regard to hearing screenings that are in line with the intended purpose of the rule. These will be posted on the Board’s website in the near future. The Board appreciates the feedback that was received during the rule making process from numerous licensees who work in various practice settings. The announcement about this can be viewed here.

The Board interprets the word “supervision” used in G.S. 90-295(3) to require that the supervision must be performed by a person who holds either a valid license under this Article or a Certificate of Clinical Competence of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, in the area for which supervised credit is sought. As a minimum standard of supervision, clinical supervisors who are physically present in the same facility and accessible to the student during the performance of the practicum must directly observe at least 50 percent of each evaluation session, including screening and identification activities, and at least 25 percent of each student’s total contact time with each client. As a minimum standard of supervision of students through telesupervision, the supervisor must be simultaneously virtually available by virtual session and accessible to the student 100 percent of the time for each evaluation session and must directly observe at least 50 percent of each evaluation session, including screening and identification activities, and at least 25 percent of each student’s total contact time with each client.

History Note: Authority G.S. 90-294(c)(2); 90-304(3); 150B-40(b); Eff. October 1, 1992.

In addition to the current pathways to be registered as a Speech Language Pathology Assistant the Board will now offer a temporary registration option for those completing 100 hours of supervised Clinical Fieldwork for applicants meeting degree and coursework requirements. The applicant will need to take and pass the Jurisprudence Exam, complete the Speech Language Pathology Assistant Application, submit their official transcript conferring their degree, and submit a temporary registration packet with their potential supervisor. Upon receipt and approval of these items the applicant will be issued a temporary registration under the license of the supervising licensed speech language pathologist for up to 120 days. The 100 hours of Clinical Field work hours may not include observation hours and should be comprised of at least 80% direct patient/client services, with the remaining hours to be indirect patient/ client services. All Clinical field work is to be supervised by the temporary registrant’s primary supervisor. The 120-day registration may not be extended. Once the applicant has provided the Board with proof of completion of their Clinical field work requirement and a passing score on one of the Board approved Speech Language Pathology Assistant Exams the applicant is eligible to be registered as a Speech Language Pathology Assistant.

The policy requiring that supervisors be within 50 miles of the SLP-Assistant during the workday was/is temporarily relaxed during the period of the COVID-19 crisis. Effective April 10, 2020.

On May 14, 2021, the Board voted to repeal the previous policy requiring supervisors to be within 50 miles of the SLP-Assistant during the workday.