Most speech language pathologists need a master's degree to practice. Besides the formal education, states do require licensing and certification. The American Speech Language Hearing Association, or ASHA verifies graduate school training in the United States. The courses required focus on anatomy, physiology, linguistics, and research models. There are currently two hundred and forty accredited training programs across the country. A complete list can be found at the ASHA website.
Besides a master's degree, SLPs also need to pass a national exam and complete other requirements before they are allowed to practice alone. Between three and four hundred hours of supervised clinical experience are required during nine months of professionally administered treatment. These requirements form the basis of the certificate of clinical competence, also known as CCC or 'the c's'. Most organizations will require licensing, since they are dependent on state and government reimbursements for treatment. Largely this comes in the form of Medicare or Medicaid, but even private clinics often require certification.