Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are skilled professionals educated to the master's level to help clients recover functional communication abilities obstructed by one or more speech, hearing, language, cognition, or swallowing disorders.
Speech-language pathologists work with individuals of all ages and from all walks of life, helping to restore clients' ability to communicate, hear, and understand. They are trained to holistically address problems, analyzing the psychological, social, and physical features of conditions and developing evidence-based solutions to resolve each issue.
Speech language pathology programs must be accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) to ensure future eligibility for professional certification with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, known as ASHA. There are many CAA-accredited programs across the nation, including more than 250 master-level programs for speech-language pathologists.
At the bachelor's level, it's important for speech-language pathology students to pursue a broad-based liberal arts education while gaining a solid background in experimental science and technology. The undergraduate years are also a time to master oral and written communication by taking varied classes in the speech, language, and hearing sciences.
Undergraduates who major in Communication Science and Disorders (CSD) or a related S-L field of study should take basic courses in elementary Biology and Physics, plus classes in the social and behavioral sciences and the humanities.
They may also take courses in:
What kinds of jobs are available to bachelor degree-holders?
The master's degree is considered the entry-level credential for becoming a professional speech-language pathologist. Speech pathologists with a master's degree can work in medicine, education, or run their own private practice. A master's degree from from one of the nation's speech pathology graduate programs–either a Master of Arts (M.A.) or a Master of Science (M.S.)–is a prerequisite for earning national certification, state licensure, and ultimately gainful employment.
Graduate students expand on their background in the biological, physical, behavioral, linguistic, and psychosocial foundations of human communication. The top speech pathology programs give master candidates ample time in both classroom and clinical settings. For those who want to work with individuals with particular disorders, like autism or childhood deafness, specialized study at the master's level is recommended.
Most speech pathology masters programs want applicants with a major in Communication and Science Disorders (CSD); Speech-Language Pathology; or the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. Some schools will accept students with bachelor degrees in other areas, provided they can demonstrate competency in such subjects as Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Human Anatomy & Physiology, as well as the Behavioral Sciences, Social Sciences and Statistics.
A master's curriculum for speech pathologists might include, for example:
Which jobs are available to speech-language pathologists with an M.S. or M.A.?
At the doctoral level, students can choose either a clinical or a research degree. The most common clinical doctorate is the Doctor of Clinical Science (CScD), which offers 2 to 3 years of exposure to advanced scientific study and practice in clinical settings like acute-care hospitals, outpatient clinics, and rehabilitation centers.
Students spend their time conducting medical rotations in a variety of disciplines and gaining exposure to other health care professions, like dietetics or palliative care. CScD candidates learn how to manage and treat aerodigestive tract abnormalities that cause certain oral pathologies.
Students do not need to earn a master's degree before pursuing a CScD; they can apply for a program immediately after earning a Bachelor. The CScD is ideal for pathologists who know they want to work in healthcare, an area of employment with high educational expectations. Many jobs in this sector require speech-language clinicians to be trained at the doctoral level.
The most common research doctorates for SLPs are the Doctor of Science (ScD) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). ScD-holders may work not only as clinicians, but also as researchers and organizational leaders. Ph.D.s are inherently research-focused, although students may incorporate clinical experiences into their research for a blended approach if they so desire.
Speech-language pathology jobs that require a Ph.D. include:
Although coursework varies by program, Ph.D. candidates may participate in seminars and classes such as:
We found 82 schools offering speech language pathology degree programs in the U.S.
|University of Akron Main Campus||Akron||OH||21363|
|Loyola College in Maryland||Baltimore||MD||6111|
|Geneva College||Beaver Falls||PA||2297|
|Long Island University - Brooklyn Campus||Brooklyn||NY||7780|
|University of West Georgia||Carrollton||GA||8959|
|University of Northern Iowa||Cedar Falls||IA||14106|
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Chapel Hill||NC||24892|
|Saint Xavier University||Chicago||IL||4602|
|University of Maryland - College Park||College Park||MD||33189|
|University of South Carolina - Columbia||Columbia||SC||23728|
|Mississippi University for Women||Columbus||MS||2814|
|Texas Womans University||Denton||TX||8404|
|University of North Texas||Denton||TX||27054|
|Wayne State University||Detroit||MI||30408|
|Edinboro University of Pennsylvania||Edinboro||PA||7278|
|University of Central Oklahoma||Edmond||OK||14099|
|University of Oregon||Eugene||OR||17801|
|The College of New Jersey||Ewing||NJ||6861|
|Fayetteville Technical Community College||Fayetteville||NC||8310|
|Northern Arizona University||Flagstaff||AZ||19964|
|Nova Southeastern University||Fort Lauderdale||FL||18587|
|Suny at Fredonia||Fredonia||NY||5086|
|Suny College at Geneseo||Geneseo||NY||5477|
|Grambling State University||Grambling||LA||4716|
|University of North Dakota||Grand Forks||ND||11031|
|James Madison University||Harrisonburg||VA||15326|
|Fort Hays State University||Hays||KS||5498|
|Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute||Hudson||NC||3191|
|University of Kansas Medical Center||Kansas City||KS||2409|
|University of Rhode Island||Kingston||RI||14362|
|The University of Tennessee||Knoxville||TN||25890|
|University of Kansas Main Campus||Lawrence||KS||25920|
|University of Nebraska at Lincoln||Lincoln||NE||22268|
|Northern Michigan University||Marquette||MI||8427|
|Lake Land College||Mattoon||IL||5925|
|Meridian Community College||Meridian||MS||3096|
|University of Montevallo||Montevallo||AL||3014|
|Minnesota State University - Moorhead||Moorhead||MN||7418|
|Central Michigan University||Mount Pleasant||MI||26845|
|Ball State University||Muncie||IN||19004|
|Baker College of Muskegon||Muskegon||MI||2727|
|Stephen F Austin State University||Nacogdoches||TX||11484|
|Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center at New Orleans||New Orleans||LA||2720|
|Xavier University of Louisiana||New Orleans||LA||3797|
|Pace University - New York||New York||NY||7911|
|Alabama A & M University||Normal||AL||5523|
|Miami University - Oxford||Oxford||OH||16757|
|Suny College at Plattsburgh||Plattsburgh||NY||6153|
|Idaho State University||Pocatello||ID||13040|
|Brigham Young University||Provo||UT||32554|
|University of Nevada - Reno||Reno||NV||13149|
|Augustana College||Rock Island||IL||2230|
|University of Utah||Salt Lake City||UT||24948|
|Scottsdale Community College||Scottsdale||AZ||10391|
|Seton Hall University||South Orange||NJ||9920|
|Arkansas State University - Main Campus||State University||AR||10429|
|Oklahoma State University - Main Campus||Stillwater||OK||18676|
|Southwestern Community College||Sylva||NC||1665|
|Indiana State University||Terre Haute||IN||11051|
|University of Toledo||Toledo||OH||19491|
|University of Tulsa||Tulsa||OK||4158|
|The University of Alabama||Tuscaloosa||AL||19277|
|Valdosta State University||Valdosta||GA||8792|
|Central Missouri State University||Warrensburg||MO||10936|
|University of the District of Columbia||Washington||DC||5358|
|William Paterson University of New Jersey||Wayne||NJ||9945|
|Cape Fear Community College||Wilmington||NC||5470|
|Forsyth Technical Community College||Winston Salem||NC||5860|
|Worcester State College||Worcester||MA||5303|