§ 3707 License required.
(a) No person shall engage in the practice of speech/language pathology, audiology or dispense hearing aids or hold himself or herself out to the public in this State as being qualified to practice the same; or use in connection with that person's name, or otherwise assume or use, any title or description conveying or tending to convey the impression that the person is qualified to practice speech/language pathology, audiology or dispense hearing aids, unless such person has been duly licensed under this chapter.
(b) Whenever a license to practice as a speech/language pathologist, audiologist hearing aid dispenser in this State has expired or been suspended or revoked, it shall be unlawful for the person to practice speech/language pathology, audiology or dispense hearing aids in this State.
(c) The Board may issue separate licenses in speech/language pathology, audiology and for hearing aid dispensers. A person may be licensed in more than 1 specialty if such person meets the requirements of each specialty for which the person has applied for licensure.
§ 3708 Qualifications of applicant; report to Attorney General; judicial review.
(a) An applicant who is applying for licensure under this chapter shall submit evidence, verified by oath and satisfactory to the Board, that such person:
(1) For licensure as a speech/language pathologist, has met the national requirements for certification of clinical competence issued by the American Speech/Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). The requirements include:
a. Possession of a master's degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university in accordance with the Board's rules and regulations.
b. A supervised clinical practicum in accordance with the Board's rules and regulations.
c. Completion of 9-months' full-time or 18-months' part-time supervised clinical fellowship year, begun after fulfilling academic and clinical practicum requirements.
d. Successful completion of a national examination in the area of applicant's specialty prepared by a national testing service and approved by the Division.
(2) For licensure as an audiologist, has met the national requirements for certification of clinical competence issued by the American Speech/Language Hearing Association, or has been issued board certification from the American Board of Audiology, or its successors. The requirements include:
a. Possession of a doctoral degree in audiology from an accredited college or university.
b. Successful completion of a national examination in the area of the applicant's specialty prepared by a national testing service approved by the Division.
c. Audiologists licensed prior to July 10, 2009, shall be exempted from the educational requirement set forth in paragraph (a)(2)a. of this section.
(3) For licensure as a hearing aid dispenser, shall submit evidence, verified by oath and satisfactory to the Board, that such person has met the current standards promulgated by the National Institute for Hearing Instrument Studies or its successor; in addition, the applicant shall:
a. Provide verification of a high school diploma or its equivalent.
b. Provide proof of successful completion of a national examination prepared by a national testing service and approved by the Division.
c. An applicant shall complete 6 months of training prior to taking the examination. The Board in its rules and regulations shall establish the frequency of direct supervision during the training period.
d. Provide notarized signature of Delaware-licensed hearing aid dispenser sponsor providing direct supervision and training of applicant.
e. Paragraphs (a)(3)a., c. and d. of this section herein shall not apply to applicants who are licensed audiologists.
(b) All applicants shall meet the following conditions:
(1) Shall not have been the recipient of any administrative penalties regarding their practice of speech/language pathology, audiology or dispensing of hearing aids, including but not limited to fines, formal reprimands, license suspensions or revocation (except for license revocations for nonpayment of license renewal fees), probationary limitations, and/or has not entered into any "consent agreements" which contain conditions placed by a Board on that applicant's professional conduct and practice, including any voluntary surrender of a license. The Board, after a hearing, may determine whether such administrative penalty is grounds to deny licensure.
(2) Shall not have any impairment related to drugs, alcohol or a finding of mental incompetence by a physician that would limit the applicant's ability to undertake that applicant's practice in a manner consistent with the safety of the public.
(3) Shall not have a criminal conviction record, nor pending criminal charge relating to an offense the circumstances of which substantially relate to their licensed practice. Applicants who have criminal conviction records or pending criminal charges shall request appropriate authorities to provide information about the conviction or charge directly to the Board in sufficient specificity to enable the Board to make a determination whether the conviction or charge is substantially related to the applicant's area of practice. However, after a hearing or review of documentation demonstrating that the applicant meets the specified criteria for a waiver, the Board, by an affirmative vote of a majority of the quorum, may waive this paragraph (b)(3), if it finds all of the following:
a. For waiver of a felony conviction, more than 5 years have elapsed since the date of the conviction. At the time of the application the applicant may not be incarcerated, on work release, on probation, on parole or serving any part of a suspended sentence and must be in substantial compliance with all court orders pertaining to fines, restitution and community service.
b. For waiver of a misdemeanor conviction or violation, at the time of the application the applicant may not be incarcerated, on work release, on probation, on parole or serving any part of a suspended sentence and must be in substantial compliance with all court orders pertaining to fines, restitution and community service.
c. The applicant is capable of practicing speech/language pathology, audiology or the dispensing of hearing aids in a competent and professional manner.
d. The granting of the waiver will not endanger the public health, safety or welfare.
(c) Where the Board has found to its satisfaction that an applicant has been intentionally fraudulent or that false information has been intentionally supplied, it shall report its findings to the Attorney General for further action.
(d) Where the application of a person has been refused or rejected and such applicant feels that the Board has acted without justification, has imposed higher or different standards for that person than for other applicants or licensees, or has in some other manner contributed to or caused the failure of such application, the applicant may appeal to the Superior Court.
24 Del. C. 1953, § 3605; 59 Del. Laws, c. 206, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 151, § 6; 65 Del. Laws, c. 224, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 266, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 262, § 82; 75 Del. Laws, c. 359, §§ 1, 2; 75 Del. Laws, c. 436, § 42; 77 Del. Laws, c. 154, §§ 3-11; 77 Del. Laws, c. 199, § 31; 78 Del. Laws, c. 44, §§ 60, 61.;
§ 3709 Examination.
(a) In the event an applicant for licensure has not successfully completed the examinations required by this chapter, the Board shall administer or authorize the administration of such examinations described in § 3708(a)(1)d., (a)(2)b. and/or (a)(3)b. of this title. All examinations shall be graded by the testing service providing the examinations. The passing score for all examinations shall be established by the testing agency.
(b) The Board shall provide at least 2 dates annually for the administration of the examinations required by this section. The Board, with the approval of the Division, shall establish the time and place of the examinations.
(c) Persons who fail an examination required by this section may reapply for examination at the next possible date. Persons failing 2 examinations shall submit proof of additional education and/or training as may be required by the Board in the rules and regulations. Such persons may not be reexamined for a period of at least 1 year from the time of the second failure.
§ 3710 Reciprocity.
(a) Upon payment of the appropriate fee and submission and acceptance of a written application on forms provided by the Board, the Board shall grant a license to an applicant who:
(1) Shall present proof of current licensure in "good standing" in another state, the District of Columbia, or territory of the United States whose standards for licensure are substantially similar to those of this State. A license in "good standing" is defined in § 3708(b)(1), (2) and (3) of this title; and
(2) Shall present proof of current licensure of clinical competence from the American Speech/Language and Hearing Association, or its successors, in the area in which the applicant is applying for licensure and who, if licensed in another state or states, meets the requirements of § 3708(b)(1), (2) and (3) of this title.
(3) Audiologists licensed prior to July 10, 2009, shall be exempted from the educational requirement set forth in § 3708(a)(2)a. of this title.
(b) An applicant who is licensed or registered in a state whose standards are not substantially similar to those of this State shall have practiced for a minimum of 5 years after licensure, provided, however, that the applicant meets all other qualifications for reciprocity in this section.
(c) An applicant for licensure as a speech/language pathologist who has received a degree from a foreign school, college or university, shall have received a master's degree, or its equivalent, or a doctoral degree, or its equivalent, and shall submit a certified copy of that applicant's school, college or university record for evaluation. An applicant for licensure as an audiologist, who has received a degree from a foreign school, college or university, shall have received a doctoral degree or its equivalent, and shall submit a certified copy of that applicant's school, college or university record for evaluation. Where an applicant for licensure as an audiologist has submitted an application prior to July 10, 2009, the applicant shall have received at least a master's degree, or its equivalent.
(d) In the event that a disciplinary proceeding or unresolved complaint is pending, the applicant shall not be licensed in this State until the proceeding or complaint has been resolved. Applicants for licensure in this State shall be deemed to have given consent to the release of such information and to waive all objections to the admissibility of such information as evidence at any hearing or other proceeding to which the applicant may be subject.
§ 3711 Fees.
The amount to be charged for each fee imposed under this chapter shall approximate and reasonably reflect all costs necessary to defray the expenses of the Board, as well as the proportional expenses incurred by the Division in its service on behalf of the Board. There shall be a separate fee charged for each service or activity, but no fee shall be charged for a purpose not specified in this chapter. The application fee shall not be combined with any other fee or charge. At the beginning of each licensure biennium, the Division, or any other state agency acting in its behalf, shall compute, for each separate service or activity, the appropriate Board fees for the licensure biennium.
§ 3712 Issuance and renewal of licenses.
(a) The Board shall issue a license to each applicant who meets the requirements of this chapter for licensure as a speech/language pathologist, audiologist and/or hearing aid dispenser and who pays the fee established under § 3711 of this title.
(b) Each license shall be renewed biennially, in such manner as is determined by the Division, and upon payment of the appropriate fee and submission of a renewal form provided by the Division, and attestation, as set forth in the Board's rules and regulations, that the licensee has met the continuing education requirements established by the Board. In addition, audiologists and hearing aid dispensers shall attest to calibration of electronic equipment used to assess hearing, as set forth in the Board's rules and regulations.
(c) The Board, in its rules and regulations, shall determine the period of time within which a licensee may still renew the licensee's license, notwithstanding the fact that such licensee has failed to renew on or before the renewal date, provided, however, that such period shall not exceed 1 year.
(d) A licensee, upon written request, may be placed in an inactive status for no more than 5 years. Such person, who desires to reactivate that person's license, shall complete a Board-approved application form, submit a renewal fee set by the Division, and submit proof of fulfillment of continuing education requirements in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Board.
§ 3713 Temporary license.
(a) The Board may issue a temporary license to practice speech/language pathology or audiology in this State to an applicant who completes the application and pays the temporary license fee; and who, in addition, has completed all academic and clinical practicum requirements in that applicant's specialty but who has not completed a clinical fellowship year (CFY). The notarized application shall be accompanied by a copy of the CFY plan signed by a sponsor holding a valid state license as a speech/language pathologist and/or audiologist. However, an audiology applicant who has obtained a doctoral degree is not required to satisfy the clinical practicum and CFY requirements and may be issued a temporary license to practice audiology in this State upon completion of the application and payment of the temporary license fee.
(b) The Board may issue a temporary license to dispense hearing aids to an applicant waiting to take the examination for licensure who completes the application and pays the application fee. The notarized application shall be accompanied by a statement from a Delaware licensed audiologist or hearing aid dispenser who affirms that the licensed audiologist or hearing aid dispenser shall provide direct supervision and training of the applicant during the period of temporary licensure.
(c) The temporary license shall expire at the end of 1 year from issuance, except that a temporary license issued to an audiologist with a doctoral degree shall expire at the end of 90 days. The temporary license may be renewed once in accordance with the Board's rules and regulations.
§ 3714 Complaints.
(a) All complaints shall be received and investigated by the Division in accordance with § 8735, Title 29, and the Division shall be responsible for issuing a final written report at the conclusion of its investigation.
(b) When it is determined that an individual is engaging or has engaged in the practice of speech/language pathology, audiology or dispensing of hearing aids, or is using the title "speech/language pathologist," "audiologist," or "hearing aid dispenser" and is not licensed under the laws of this State, the Board shall apply to the Office of the Attorney General to issue a cease and desist order.
§ 3715 Grounds for discipline.
(a) A practitioner licensed under this chapter shall be subject to disciplinary actions set forth in § 3716 of this title if after a hearing, the Board finds that the speech/language pathologist, audiologist or hearing aid dispenser:
(1) Has employed or knowingly cooperated in fraud or material deception in order to acquire a license as a speech/language pathologist, audiologist or hearing aid dispenser; has impersonated another person holding a license, or has allowed another person to use that practitioner's license, or has aided or abetted a person not licensed as a speech/language pathologist, audiologist or hearing aid dispenser; to represent himself or herself as a speech/language pathologist, audiologist or hearing aid dispenser.
(2) Has illegally, incompetently or negligently practiced speech/language pathology, audiology or hearing aid dispensing.
(3) Has been convicted of a crime that is substantially related to the practice of speech/language pathology, audiology and/or the dispensing of hearing aids.
(4) A copy of the record of conviction certified by the clerk of the court entering the conviction shall be conclusive evidence therefor.
(5) Has excessively used or abused drugs either in the past 2 years or currently.
(6) Has engaged in an act of consumer fraud or deception; engaged in the restraint of competition; or participated in price-fixing activities.
(7) Has violated a lawful provision of this chapter, or any lawful regulation established thereunder.
(8) Has had the practitioner's license as a speech/language pathologist, audiologist or hearing aid dispenser suspended or revoked, or other disciplinary action taken by the appropriate licensing authority in another jurisdiction; provided, however, that the underlying grounds for such action in another jurisdiction have been presented to the Board by certified record and the Board has determined that the facts found by the appropriate authority in the other jurisdiction constitute 1 or more of the acts defined in this chapter. Every person licensed as a speech/language pathologist, audiologist or hearing aid dispenser in this State shall be deemed to have given consent to the release of this information by the Board of Speech/Language Pathologists, Audiologists and Hearing Aid Dispensers or other comparable agencies in another jurisdiction and to waive all objections to the admissibility of previously adjudicated evidence of such acts or offenses.
(9) Has failed to notify the Board that the practitioner's license as a speech/language pathologist, audiologist or hearing aid dispenser in another jurisdiction has been subject to discipline, or has been surrendered, suspended or revoked. A certified copy of the record of disciplinary action, surrender, suspension or revocation shall be conclusive evidence thereof; or,
(10) Has a physical condition such that the performance of speech/language pathology, audiology or dispensing of hearing aids is or may be injurious or prejudicial to the public.
(b) Subject to the provisions of this chapter and subchapter IV of Chapter 101 of Title 29, no license shall be restricted, suspended or revoked by the Board, and no practitioner's right to practice speech/language pathology, audiology or dispense hearing aids shall be limited by the Board until such practitioner has been given notice, and an opportunity to be heard, in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act [Chapter 101 of Title 29].
§ 3716 Disciplinary sanctions.
(a) The Board may impose any of the following sanctions, singly or in combination, when it finds that one of the conditions or violations set forth in § 3715 of this title applies to a practitioner regulated by this chapter:
(1) Issue a letter of reprimand.
(2) Censure a practitioner.
(3) Place a practitioner on probationary status, and require the practitioner to:
a. Report regularly to the Board upon the matters that are the basis of the probation.
b. Limit all practice and professional activities to those areas prescribed by the Board.
(4) Suspend any practitioner's license.
(5) Revoke any practitioner's license.
(6) Impose a monetary penalty not to exceed $500 for each violation.
(b) The Board may withdraw or reduce conditions of probation when it finds that the deficiencies that required such action have been remedied.
(c) Where a license has been suspended due to a disability of the licensee, the Board may reinstate such license if, after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the licensee is able to practice with reasonable skill and safety.
(d) As a condition to reinstatement of a suspended license, or removal from probationary status, the Board may impose such disciplinary or corrective measures as are authorized under this chapter.
§ 3717 Hearing procedures.
(a) If a complaint is filed with the Board pursuant to § 8735 of Title 29 alleging violation of § 3715 of this title, the Board shall set a time and place to conduct a hearing on the complaint. Notice of the hearing shall be given and the hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 101 of Title 29.
(b) All hearings shall be informal without use of rules of evidence. If the Board finds, by a majority vote of all members, that the complaint has merit, the Board shall take such action permitted under this chapter as it deems necessary. The Board's decision shall be in writing and shall include its reasons for such decision. The Board's decision shall be mailed immediately to the practitioner.
(c) Where the practitioner is in disagreement with the action of the Board, the practitioner may appeal the Board's decision to the Superior Court within 30 days of service, or of the postmarked date of the copy of the decision mailed to the practitioner. Upon such appeal the Court shall hear the evidence on the record. Stays shall be granted in accordance with § 10144 of Title 29.
§ 3718 Reinstatement of a suspended license; removal from probationary status; replacement of license.
(a) As a condition to reinstatement of a suspended license, or removal from probationary status, the Board may reinstate such license if, after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the licensee has taken the prescribed corrective actions and otherwise satisfied all of the conditions of the suspension and/or the probation.
(b) Where a license or registration has been suspended due to the licensee's inability to practice pursuant to this chapter, the Board may reinstate such license if after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the licensee is again able to perform the essential functions of a speech pathologist, audiologist or hearing aid dispenser, with or without reasonable accommodations, and there is no longer a significant risk of substantial harm to the health and safety of the individual or others.
(c) Applicants for reinstatement must pay the appropriate fees and submit documentation required by the Board as evidence that all the conditions of a suspension and/or probation have been met. Proof that the applicant has met the continuing education requirements of this chapter may also be required, as appropriate.
(d) A new license to replace any license lost, destroyed or mutilated may be issued subject to the rules of the Board. A charge set by the Division shall be made for such issuance.