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What Is the Curriculum for a Speech Pathologist Degree Program?

Speech pathologists help individuals of all ages learn to work through communicative disabilities and develop alternative forms of communication. You can find more information about what you'll study in a speech pathologist degree program in the following article.

Speech Pathology Degree Programs

Speech pathology degree programs are available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Although a master's degree is the standard minimum requirement for licensure and employment as a speech pathologist, a bachelor's degree program in the field provides the appropriate background and foundation courses needed to enroll in a professional master's degree program. Although individual schools differ in their exact degree requirements, most programs share a common curriculum core.

Important Facts About the Curriculum for a Speech Pathology Degree Program

Prerequisites Vary by curriculum and program
Certifications Undergraduate & graduate certificates are available
Online Availability Hybrid programs are available
Possible Careers Speech Language Pathologists, Audiologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Recreational Therapists
Median Salary (2018)* $77,510 (for all speech-language pathologists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)*18% (for all speech-language pathologists)

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Bachelor's Degree Curriculum in Speech Pathology

As a speech pathology major, you'll acquire a basic understanding of human communication by studying how culture, context, biology and psychology can influence communication processes. You'll explore the various types of communication barriers and disorders, including how to assess and identify disorders regarding speech, hearing and language.

In addition to the required coursework, you'll need to complete clinical observations and internship hours in order to gain hands-on experience that further prepares you for graduate programs. A speech pathology curriculum at the bachelor's degree level often includes the following courses:

  • Anatomy and physiology of speech and hearing
  • Language acquisition
  • Audiology
  • Communication disorders
  • Speech and language assessment techniques
  • American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Phonetics

Master's Degree Curriculum in Speech Pathology

Speech pathology programs at the master's-degree level incorporate academic coursework, clinical practicum experiences and research activities into a comprehensive curriculum that prepares you for professional practice as a speech pathologist. Through your studies, you'll explore the normal development of communication processes throughout the lifespan.

The supervised clinical experiences help you develop practical skills in the clinical diagnosis and treatment of speech-language disorders. Research activities often include the completion of a thesis. Upon graduation, you'll typically be prepared to pursue state licensure and national certification through the American Speech Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Common coursework required for a master's degree in speech pathology includes the following:

  • Aural rehabilitation
  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Speech and language research
  • Motor speech disorders
  • Fluency
  • Speech disorders in children
  • Language assessment and intervention