Speech Language Pathology

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.

Degrees in Speech Language Pathology

Bachelor Degrees

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:

  • Anatomy of Hearing & Speech Mechanisms
  • Normal Language Development
  • Language Disorders & Phonology
  • Introduction to Audiology
  • Linguistics

What kinds of jobs are available to bachelor degree-holders?

  • Speech-Language Pathologist — PRN
  • SLP Technician
  • Behavior Therapist for Autism

Master Degrees

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:

  • Pediatric Language Disorders
  • Phonology
  • Autism/AAC

Which jobs are available to speech-language pathologists with an M.S. or M.A.?

  • Early Intervention Speech-Language Pathologist
  • School-Based Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Speech Pathologist — Rehabilitation Manager

Doctoral Work

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:

  • Educator, Researcher and Outreach Liaison
  • Early Childhood Clinical and Education Director
  • Professor of Speech and Language Pathology

Although coursework varies by program, Ph.D. candidates may participate in seminars and classes such as:

  • Neurophysiology of Language
  • Advanced Anatomy, Physiology, and Neurology of the Speech Mechanism
  • Methods for Analysis and Editing of Acoustic Signals

We found 82 schools offering speech language pathology degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 82 Speech Language Pathology Colleges in the U.S.

Speech Language Pathology Schools Ranked By US News & World Report

University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA  |  Total Enrollment: 28311

Degrees Offered: Two but less than 4 years, Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree, First-professional certificate
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Madison, WI  |  Total Enrollment: 40658

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Washington - Seattle Campus
Seattle, WA  |  Total Enrollment: 36139

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree, First-professional certificate
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN  |  Total Enrollment: 10092

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ  |  Total Enrollment: 34488

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis
Indianapolis, IN  |  Total Enrollment: 27525

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL  |  Total Enrollment: 16952

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Kansas Main Campus
Lawrence, KS  |  Total Enrollment: 25920

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Pittsburgh - Main Campus
Pittsburgh, PA  |  Total Enrollment: 26329

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Two but less than 4 years, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 49996

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree

Browse All 82 Colleges With Speech Language Pathology Programs

Title City State Enrollment
Union College Lincoln NE 788
Rush University Chicago IL 1282
Southwestern Community College Sylva NC 1665
Gallaudet University Washington DC 1689
Augustana College Rock Island IL 2230
Geneva College Beaver Falls PA 2297
University of Kansas Medical Center Kansas City KS 2409
Elmhurst College Elmhurst IL 2611
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center at New Orleans New Orleans LA 2720
Baker College of Muskegon Muskegon MI 2727
Mississippi University for Women Columbus MS 2814
University of Montevallo Montevallo AL 3014
Meridian Community College Meridian MS 3096
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Hudson NC 3191
Xavier University of Louisiana New Orleans LA 3797
University of Tulsa Tulsa OK 4158
Saint Xavier University Chicago IL 4602
Grambling State University Grambling LA 4716
Suny at Fredonia Fredonia NY 5086
Worcester State College Worcester MA 5303
University of the District of Columbia Washington DC 5358
Cape Fear Community College Wilmington NC 5470
Suny College at Geneseo Geneseo NY 5477
Fort Hays State University Hays KS 5498
Alabama A & M University Normal AL 5523
Hampton University Hampton VA 5743
Forsyth Technical Community College Winston Salem NC 5860
Lake Land College Mattoon IL 5925
Loyola College in Maryland Baltimore MD 6111
Suny College at Plattsburgh Plattsburgh NY 6153
Ithaca College Ithaca NY 6170
The College of New Jersey Ewing NJ 6861
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Edinboro PA 7278
Minnesota State University - Moorhead Moorhead MN 7418
Long Island University - Brooklyn Campus Brooklyn NY 7780
Pace University - New York New York NY 7911
Fayetteville Technical Community College Fayetteville NC 8310
Texas Womans University Denton TX 8404
Northern Michigan University Marquette MI 8427
Valdosta State University Valdosta GA 8792
University of West Georgia Carrollton GA 8959
Duquesne University Pittsburgh PA 9667
Seton Hall University South Orange NJ 9920
William Paterson University of New Jersey Wayne NJ 9945
Scottsdale Community College Scottsdale AZ 10391
Arkansas State University - Main Campus State University AR 10429
Marquette University Milwaukee WI 10892
Central Missouri State University Warrensburg MO 10936
University of North Dakota Grand Forks ND 11031
Indiana State University Terre Haute IN 11051
Stephen F Austin State University Nacogdoches TX 11484
Lamar University Beaumont TX 11550
Idaho State University Pocatello ID 13040
University of Nevada - Reno Reno NV 13149
University of Central Oklahoma Edmond OK 14099
University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls IA 14106
University of Rhode Island Kingston RI 14362
James Madison University Harrisonburg VA 15326
Marshall University Huntington WV 15640
Towson University Towson MD 16729
Miami University - Oxford Oxford OH 16757
Northwestern University Evanston IL 16952
University of Oregon Eugene OR 17801
Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale FL 18587
Oklahoma State University - Main Campus Stillwater OK 18676
Ball State University Muncie IN 19004
The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa AL 19277
University of Toledo Toledo OH 19491
Northern Arizona University Flagstaff AZ 19964
University of Akron Main Campus Akron OH 21363
University of Nebraska at Lincoln Lincoln NE 22268
University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia SC 23728
Northeastern University Boston MA 23897
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill NC 24892
University of Utah Salt Lake City UT 24948
The University of Tennessee Knoxville TN 25890
University of Kansas Main Campus Lawrence KS 25920
Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant MI 26845
University of North Texas Denton TX 27054
Wayne State University Detroit MI 30408
Brigham Young University Provo UT 32554
University of Maryland - College Park College Park MD 33189