New law to help speech pathologist shortage
7/22/2019, 7:58 p.m.
State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant’s measure, House Bill 2605, will make it easier for speech pathologists to practice in Illinois schools by eliminating a redundant state certification requirement. The measure was signed into law on Friday.
“This new law streamlines the process for qualified speech pathologists to practice in our schools,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Speech pathologists undergo intensive educational programs and thorough testing, and we know they are qualified without yet another unnecessary certification.” House Bill 2605 is an initiative of the Illinois Speech Language Hearing. Schools across the nation are struggling to find speech language pathologists to work in schools, due in part to the limited number of openings in graduate programs and the increased need as the profession’s scope of practice increases and symptoms of autism are better detected.
According to the Illinois Educator Supply and Demand Report, in 2017 there were 124 unfilled non-teaching speech language pathologist positions. Bertino-Tarrant, who serves as the Chair of the Senate’s Education Committee, has championed a series of measures to help alleviate educator shortages in schools across the state.
Most recently, House Bill 1472, which addresses findings that 89 percent of Central Illinois districts and 92 percent of Southern Illinois districts have issues with finding qualified candidates for teaching positions, was signed into law earlier this month. It allows retired teachers to return to teaching in subject areas with teacher shortages without jeopardizing their retirement status.
“Our retired teachers should not be penalized for returning to classrooms to help our school districts meet their needs,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “There are reliable and experienced retired teachers who are helping administrators fill in the gaps to ensure students are not losing out on educational opportunities.” House Bill 2605 passed both chambers with unanimous support and goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.