Speech Therapy & Audiology

Disclaimer: Misrad Habriut regulations are subject to change without advance notice and are constantly changing. For the most current information regarding licensing procedures, please seeMisrad Habriut’s site. Nefesh B’Nefesh does not take responsibility for inaccuracies on the site or changes to the law.

For direct links to the speech therapy licensing pages on the Misrad Habriut site, please see: Misrad Habriut Licensing for Health Professions (Links).

Perhaps it goes without saying that working in Israel in a speech-related field requires fluent Hebrew. While Hebrew is essential, other languages like English, Russian and Yiddish can be advantageous.

There is a strong demand for speech therapists to work in various areas such as Kupot Cholim (health funds), hospitals, clinics, special-ed schools, etc.

Please note: Speech therapists and audiologists are both recognized by Misrad Habriut (Ministry of Health). Professionals in either field will receive a license of speech therapy from Misrad Habriut, however the license will specify your specialty qualification either as a speech pathologist or audiologist.

Israeli law mandates that only a licensed speech therapist or audiologist is permitted to dispense hearing aids. There is no separate licensing procedure which enables one to exclusively dispense hearing aids. However, there are opportunities for hearing aid dispensers who are not licensed byMisrad Habriut to work in the private sector.

Obtaining a License

Obtaining a License

Anyone applying to Misrad Habriut for licensing in these professions is required to take an exam in order to be licensed in Israel.

Required Documents for the Licensing Process

Graduates who completed recognized academic degree programs in one of the aforementioned fields, in an institution recognized by the Council for Higher Education in Israel or in an institution abroad that is recognized by the Council, can submit a request for degree recognition.

Please note:

Copies must be validated by an Israeli notary in Israel. You cannot notarize the documents using a North American or U.K. notary, nor can you do this at the Israeli Consulate.

Documents that are not written in Hebrew or Arabic, must be translated to Hebrew using a recognized translator in Israel.

All documents must be submitted in two copies. If the copies have been validated by a notary in Israel or translated to Hebrew by an Israel-recognized translator, you must submit the notarized copy plus an additional copy.

The following documents must be included with the request:

2 passport pictures.

A copy of yourTeudatZehut, including theSefach, the appendix with your address.

Final diploma or a certificate from the university indicating completion of studies, fulfillment of all of the university’s requirements and eligibility for a diploma in the relevant field, which will be granted at a specified date.

Official certification indicating the start and end date of studies.

Official certification of an internship (“stage”) indicating the number of hours that you completed. The greater the number of hours considered as part of your internship, the more likely it is that your licensing process will proceed smoothly. (If you did not complete an internship, please provide official certification about work done in the field abroad, with a valid license, for at least one year.)

Official certifications of work experience, from the relevant medical institutions, indicating the start and end date of work in each institution.

Valid license.

A letter of good standing from the relevant authorities in the country that you madeAliyahfrom, proving that you never received complaints about discipline, negligence or professional ethics.

An application form. The forms are available online at:http://147.237.77.238/DocLib/ask_ovdimMik.doc

An application requesting to be tested in the relevant field. The forms are available online at:http://147.237.77.238/DocLib/a3468_Tik310309.doc

Anyone applying to Misrad Habriut for licensing as a speech therapist or audiologist is required to take an exam in order to be licensed in Israel.

Please note: Anyone taking the English exam in SLP will have exhibit Hebrew Proficiency. This can be done either by taking a ‘ Yael test’ that is given by the National institute of testing and Evaluation. More info regarding the test can be found on: https://www.nite.org.il/index.php/en/tests/yael.html.

The Hebrew test is a prerequisite for receiving the license. It can be taken before or after the licensing exam. An SLP needs to get a minimum grade of 110.

Alternatively, a completion of a level Gimmel at a regular hebrew ulpan (Misrad haklitah) or a medical ulpan given by misrad hachinuch (http://nbn.org.il/ulpan-database-articles/13027-medical-ulpan.html). The Chief SLP at the ministry of Health is Dr. Orly Hertzberg, you may contact her at: orly.herzberg@moh.health.gov.il.

Please note: It is now possible to apply to the Ministry of Health Pre Aliyah. It is also possible to take the licensing exam as a tourist. For more information, please see the following article: Start your Licensing Before Aliyah.

Misrad Habriut now offers a new customer call center to answer questions about licensing for health care professionals. Call *5400 from Israel or 972-8-6241010 from abroad. The center operates Sunday through Thursday, 8am-6pm, and Fridays from 8am-1pm, Israel time.

When you first arrive as an Oleh, you should submit all of your licensing documentation to MisradHabriut. If you live in the Jerusalem area or in Acco, Tzfat, Nazareth, Afula, Tiberias or Be’er Sheva, this documentation must be sent via registered mail to: Licensing department, Ministry of Health, Yermiyahu 39, Jerusalem, 9446724.

If you live outside of these areas, you must bring these documents in person to your local MisradHabriut office. For a listing of offices, see Misrad Habriut offices.

Required Documents for the Licensing Process

Graduates who completed recognized academic degree programs in speech therapy and/or audiology, in an institution recognized by the Council for Higher Education in Israel or in an institution abroad that is recognized by the Council, can submit a request for degree recognition.

Please note:

  1. All documents must be translated and notarized by an Israeli notary. For each document that you submit, you will need to submit 1 notarized copy, plus a photocopy of that same document. (Please also make a photocopy of each notarized document for your files.) Do not submit any original files.
  2. You cannot notarize the documents using a North American or U.K. notary, nor can you do this at the Israeli Consulate. Please see Notarization Services for more information.
  3. Documents that are not written in Hebrew or Arabic, must be translated to Hebrew using a recognized translator in Israel.

The following documents must be included with the request:

  1. 2 passport pictures.
  2. A copy of your Teudat Zehut, including the Sefach, the appendix with your address. If you are applying pre-Aliyah, please submit a copy of your current passport with your application toMisrad Habriut.
  3. Final diploma or a certificate from the university indicating completion of studies, fulfillment of all of the university’s requirements and eligibility for a diploma in the relevant field, which will be granted at a specified date.
  4. Official certification indicating the start and end date of studies.
  5. Official certification of an internship (“stage”) indicating the number of hours that you completed. Speech therapists and audiologists are required to complete 750 hours of internship.Speech therapists who are also seeking licensing as audiologists are required to complete 1,000 hours of internship. The greater the number of hours considered as part of your internship, the more likely it is that your licensing process will proceed smoothly. (If you did not complete an internship, please provide official certification about supervised work done in the field abroad, with a valid license, for at least one year.) One year of supervised work abroad as alicensed SLP or audiologist can also count in lieu of some hours of internship.
  6. Official certifications of work experience, from the relevant medical institutions, indicating the start and end date of work in each institution.
  7. Valid license.
  8. Professional letter of good standing from the board of the state in which one is licensed. The letter confirms that there are no, and have not been any, disciplinary, negligence or professional ethics complaints against the physician. (This letter is issued from the board of the state in which one is licensed. If it is sent directly to Misrad Habriut from the board it does not have to be translated and notarized. Please ensure in this case, that the letter is sent only once the rest of the documents have been received by the Misrad Habriut.) Alternatively, You may have the letter of good standing sent to you. If you leave it in the sealed envelope- you can add it to the rest of the documents that you send in to the MOH- and you do not need to notarize and translate it. It may be a good idea to ask the board for a copy of the letter- just to have. Physicians from the UK should ask for a letter of good standing to be sent by registered mail from the GMC directly to Misrad Habriut (the GMC will only mail it directly, and this is the only way to guarantee its arrival). Physicians from Montreal should obtain the letter from the College des Medicines du Quebec.
  9. An application form. The forms are available online.
  10. An application requesting to be tested in the relevant field. The forms are available online.
  11. Documentation regarding a name change, where relevant.

Please note: The Israeli Ministry of Health does not recognize online degrees.

Receiving Your Permanent License

To receive the permanent license, you must submit all of your translated and notarized documents toMisrad Habriut. Misrad Habriut will then send you a permission form allowing you to take the licensing exam. Once you pass the exam you should receive your license in the mail. You may pay for your license online: Misrad Habriut Online Payment.

Misrad Habriut does not send a reminder indicating that your licensing is going to expire soon. As soon as you receive your license, please mark your calendar 12 weeks before the expiration date so that you can receive your renewed license before the old one expires.

Please note: Your license will specify your specialty qualification either as a speech pathologist or audiologist.

Israeli law mandates that only a licensed speech therapist or audiologist is permitted to dispense hearing aids. There is no separate licensing procedure which enables one to exclusively dispense hearing aids. However, there are opportunities for hearing aid dispensers who are not licensed byMisrad Habriut to work in the private sector.

Exam Dates

In Israel, a “klinayit tikshoret” is licensed to practice both SLP and audiology. In North America this is usually not the case. On the application form to take the licensing exam, there is no place to indicate that you wish to be tested only as an SLP (בטיפול בהפרעות שפה ודיבור בלבד), audiologist (בטיפול בהפרעותשמיעה בלבד) or to be licensed for both SLP and audiology (בטיפול בהפרעות תקשורת).  Rather, the applicant is directed to attach a ‘letter of explanation’ for any irregularities in their application, including the number of internship hours. It is recommended that those who are licensed as SLPs attach a letter explaining that in their university, the focus was on speech and language, and that audiology was a separate degree that they did not take, as evidenced from their transcripts.

For exam dates and other information, see Misrad Habriut’s site. This website also has links to the bibliography of the different tests.

Kupot Cholim
Each of the four health funds, Meuchedet, Macabbi, Clalit and Leumit has branches throughout the country. The differences between the health funds lie mainly in the location of their facilities, the types of supplemental policies offered, and additional services offered within the framework of their facilities. Most large cities have a clinic in almost every district. Speech therapists either work in the Kupot or work privately. If you work privately, you can accept Kupot members and get paid per treatment.

Private Practice
When you have a private practice you can see either see patients on a strictly private basis, or, if you have an agreement with a Kupah, you can receive members of health funds and then be reimbursed by the funds. There are many practices that combine the two.

Child Development Centers
Child development centers may be run through Misrad Habriut or private funding. Centers usually offer a range of paramedical, counseling and educational services for children using a multidisciplinary team of speech therapists, physical therapists and occupational therapists; in some places, drama or music therapists and social workers are employed as well. Child development centers typically offer therapy in both individual or group therapy formats.

Misrad Hachinuch
Schools and special needs institutions employ speech and language therapists. Speech therapists are particularly required in special needs pre-schools.

Knowledge of Hebrew

Since speech therapy is language intensive, a good command of Hebrew is essential. It is strongly advised to study Hebrew before you arrive and then to take Ulpan upon arrival. In addition to regularulpan, Misrad Haklita offers an Ulpan for medical professionals – shlav bet. They will open this class provided there are enough people interested. Be in touch with your branch of Misrad Haklita to find out when the next class will begin.

Even where speech therapists work entirely with English speakers, it is still necessary to deal with the various agencies that make up the Israeli medical network. When you first arrive in Israel, it is worthwhile shadowing an Israeli speech therapist as an opportunity to learn the technical language that you won’t necessarily gain in Ulpan.

Finding Work

When you start looking for work, subscribe to local community email lists, where vacancies for therapists are advertised or where you can post a description of the type of work you are looking for.

You can also join the Speech and Language Therapy Association (Ha’Aguda Leklina’ai Tikshoret) where job vacancies are listed:

The Professional Association of Speech Therapists
Ha’Aguda Leklina’ai Tikshoret
POB 2848
Petach Tikva 49127
Tel: 03 924 8358
Fax: 03 921 7815
www.ishla.org.il.

Another way to identify job openings is to directly contact your local health funds or local hospitals and speak to the department head of Speech Therapy.

The government employment bureau for academics, known as the Bureau for the Placement of Professionals (Lishka Le Ta’asukat Acadama’im), provides information about job openings. In Jerusalem, go to:

Lishkat Taasuka
21 Rechov Yaffo (opposite Safra Square), Jerusalem
Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, 8:30 – 11:30 AM and 12:30 – 2:30 PM
Monday, Wednesday, 8:30 AM – 13:30 PM
Phone: 02 501 3100
Etti and Bilha speak English.

For a full listing of Lishkat Taasuka locations throughout Israel, seehttp://www.taasuka.gov.il/Taasuka/Employee+Services/General+Info/SearchBureau.htm.

In addition, the Ministry of Education might be contacted regarding positions for speech therapists both in regular and special education schools.

Finally, word of mouth is often one of the best sources of job leads. Don’t hesitate to let everyone you can know that you are seeking work, and follow up on any leads they may offer. Many positions are filled without ever being advertised.

Recognition of Diplomas through Misrad Hachinuch

If you intend to work in any public institution including schools or hospitals, you must have all of your academic diplomas recognized by Misrad Hachinuch (Ministry of Education) for salary assessment purposes. When you work in a public institution, your salary is partially based on your level of education. See Recognition of Academic Degrees.

NOTE:  The Israeli department of education does not recognize doctorates that are not PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) degrees.

This includes all professional doctorate  degrees (DPT, DNP, OTD, OD,DC, AuD, DPM, DO). They will be recognized only as Master degrees.

A special thank you to Gabrielle Hodes, registered speech therapist, for her professional contributions to this article.

Interview with Sharon Ron, Speech Therapist

Thank you to Sharon Ron for participating in this interview. If you have further questions, please be in touch with Sharon at sharon@maytav.co.il.

Please provide us with a brief description of your work.
I am a speech therapist. I work with neurogenic swallowing, communication and cognition disorders in adults – basically, medical speech pathology.

How did you find your job?
I went on the ASHA website (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association), www.asha.org, and searched for speech therapists who did the same type of work in Israel as I was doing in Virginia. I emailed them, and they all directed me to the same person. I contacted her, and now we have a private practice together. It helps to go through a professional organization! I also visited all the major hospitals in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that employ speech pathologists, and shadowed each of them for a day. I did all of my research during pilot trips in the summers before we made Aliyah, and it made me feel so much more knowledgeable and prepared for moving here.

What experience do you need to get into your field?
You need experience working in a specialty. It is very helpful to come with a specialty.

Do you need Hebrew to work in your field in Israel?
You definitely need Hebrew to work in speech therapy in Israel. If possible, it also helps to have an Israeli accent and good dikduk (grammar). That being said, there are always English speakers looking for SLPs to work with their kids in English; but all in all, Hebrew is pretty important.

What degree does someone making Aliyah need, in order to break into your field?
A Master’s degree, and your C’s from ASHA.

Does it make any difference whether you studied in Israel or abroad?
If your Hebrew is strong enough, there are still advantages to studying in Israel but it’s not essential. The speech therapy programs are difficult to get into in Israel; and where you study does not affect your salary. Keep in mind that the Israeli degree for a speech therapist is a BA. An Israeli BA. is equivalent to an American MA. Even if you come with an MA. and C’s, you still need to get an Israeli license through Misrad Habriut.

What are the benefits of working as a speech therapist?
Speech therapists are very much in demand in Israel. You will always be able to find work. It is also a family friendly job. In a private practice, you make your own hours, and there are not really any emergencies.

What is the salary range?
In an institution like a school, hospital, kupah (public health clinic), Merkaz Lihitpatchut Hayaled (child development center), sessions can range from 25-65 NIS per hour. In a private practice, sessions can range from 100-350 NIS per hour. 100-180 NIS is the average hourly rate. If you are providing a specialized service, and you are the very best, you can charge more.

What are the upcoming areas of specialty you would recommend?
There are a lot of areas of speech therapy that are not dealt with here, especially in remote areas. In the North and South, for example, no one is treating adults and babies with swallowing problems.

Is there a professional organization in your field?
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), www.asha.org, and the  Israeli Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ISHLA), www.ishla.org.

What recommendations can you offer Olim looking to work in this field?
Come with an open mind. You might end up working in a different area here than you did abroad. Work somewhere for a year or two just to get experience, and then go for your dream job. If you want to open your own practice, you need to be really committed. It requires a strong stomach to deal with the ups and downs that are part of running your own business. The MATI course is very helpful, and I recommend that you take it before starting your own practice.

Any advice for students interested in going into your field?
I recommend that students shadow speech therapists to discover which area and population interest you the most.

How do you feel about working and living here in Israel?
Awesome!!!

Other advice?
Make good contacts in the field. Find colleagues who are helpful, not competitive. It can be very competitive in the subspecialties.