Speech-Language Pathology Degree Programs and Colleges
Requirements to enter the speech-language pathology field include a master's degree, supervised clinical training and a state license. Review the process for becoming a speech-language pathologist, from earning a bachelor's degree to preparing for licensure or certification. Learn about where you can work as a speech-language pathologist.
What You Need to Know
As a speech-language pathologist or speech therapist, you will work with adults and children who have language or swallowing disorders and apply clinical solutions to help patients improve speech, communication and comprehension. Several colleges offer graduate programs to prepare you for licensure and certification in the field.
|Degrees||Bachelor of Science in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Master of Arts and Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology, Ph.D. in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders, Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing|
|Courses||Neurological disorders of language and speech, development language and speech disorders, speech and hearing anatomy, voice and swallowing disorders, phonologial development and disorders, communication assessment, dysphagia|
|Licensing||Nearly all states require licensure, national certification in speech-language pathology usually satisfies requirements for licensure|
What Are the Prerequisites to Becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist?
Since a graduate degree is the minimum education needed to work in this field, earning a bachelor's degree is the necessary prerequisite to gain acceptance into a speech-language pathology master's program. No particular field of study at the bachelor's level is required; although, baccalaureate programs related to speech pathology are available. In most cases, you need an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and satisfactory GRE scores to meet admission requirements.
What Schools Offer Graduate-Level Programs for Speech-Language Pathology?
Completing a program accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is part of the criteria for obtaining licensure and certification as a speech-language pathologist. More than 300 schools in the U.S. offer accredited programs, according to the ASHA, including:
- Rush University
- University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
- University of Massachusetts - Amherst
- University of Colorado - Boulder
- Vanderbilt University
- University of Florida
- University of Utah
- University of Washington
What Can I Expect in a Speech-Language Pathology Master's Program?
In a master's program, you can expect to spend a good amount of your time in a clinical setting observing experienced speech-language pathologists and learning about clinical practices. You will also be able to provide therapy under the direction of a licensed speech pathologist.
Coursework will include learning about the physical structures in the body that affect and impede speech. You will also learn how children develop the ability to speak and the things that can interfere with that development. Some courses will look at specific kinds of speech problems, such as stuttering or stroke-related impairment, while others may look at issues within specific age groups. Some universities offer classes specific to speech pathology in a school setting.
Specific courses can include:
- Voice disorders
- Adult language disorders
- Adult communication disorders
- Child language disorders
- Phonological disorders
What Can I Expect in a Speech-Language Pathology Doctorate Program?
There are two kinds of doctoral programs recognized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), a clinical doctorate and a research doctorate. The clinical doctorate provides more advanced study and furthers your skills as a pathologist or prepares you for administration work in the field. The research doctorate focuses on independent, original research and is usually required for teaching at the university level.
How Do I Obtain Certification?
The primary professional organization for speech-language pathologists is the ASHA, which provides certification for speech-language pathologists who meet its requirements through a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP). Receiving a CCC-SLP requires graduation from an accredited program. Specialty certifications, such as those in fluency or child language and even swallowing, are available.
What is Involved in Obtaining Licensure?
You can be licensed as a speech-language pathologist in most states if you have the CCC-SLP credential. Some states have a single license for everyone in the field, while others have different requirements if you are planning to work in an educational setting. Not all states require licensure; some require registration. Check with your state board for the requirements in your state.