Bachelor's Degree in Speech Language Pathology
An undergraduate program in speech-language pathology can start you on the path toward becoming a speech-language pathologist and helping children and adults with speech disorders and difficulties. Read on to see what you'll learn and what your career options are with a bachelor's degree in this field. See what kind of online learning options you have, too.
What is the Purpose of Bachelor's Degrees in Speech-Language Pathology?
As of 2014, nearly every U.S. state had licensing mandates for speech-language pathologists, and most of those states required a minimum of a master's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Thus, bachelor's offerings in speech-language pathology, often referred to as communicative sciences and disorders on the undergraduate level, generally are geared toward preparing you for graduate study.
|Program Objective||Prepares students for graduate study in the field, which is required to become a speech-language pathologist|
|Online Availability||Online programs are available, but rare; some programs may have in-person requirements for visits to campus or a practicum at a facility|
|Common Courses||Sign language, neurology, oral communication, phonetics, communicative disorders|
|Job Duties||Monitoring and maintaining equipment, updating patient records, helping with speech-language screenings and assessments (for speech-language pathology assistants)|
|Median Salary (2018)||$77,510* (for speech-language pathologists)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||18% growth* (for all speech-language pathologists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Are My Online Options?
Distance learning bachelor's programs in speech-language pathology or communicative disorders are not common, but they are available. Curricula tend to mirror those of on-campus programs, which means you may have to visit campus or work at a facility near your home to complete a practicum. If you enroll in an on-campus program, you still might be able to take a percentage of your courses online.
What Classes Might I Take?
In an undergraduate program in speech-language pathology or communicative disorders, you'll typically take classes related to the physical and mental production of speech. You also might need to complete a practicum. Topics of study are likely to include:
- Sign language
- Anatomy and physiology related to speech and hearing
- Oral communication
- Language development
- Communicative disorders
What Can I Do With This Degree?
If a bachelor's degree is the highest level of education you plan to attain, you might opt to work as a speech-language pathology assistant; however, you also could obtain this position with only an associate's degree. As a speech-language pathology assistant, you would work under the supervision of a licensed speech-language pathologist. Your job duties might include helping with speech-language screenings and assessments, as well as monitoring and maintaining equipment. You also might perform office tasks, such as scheduling appointments, making sure supplies are stocked and updating patients' records.
If you were to go on to earn a master's degree, and also met other state licensure requirements, you could work as a speech-language pathologist in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities or your own private practice. Your clients might include young children who cannot speak plainly, patients who have suffered a stroke or other medical condition that's affected their speech or deaf patients who want to learn to speak.