Your Guide to Online Speech Pathology Programs
Speech pathology is an important field that deals with various speech disorders and disabilities. A speech pathologist helps in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders. They study effective treatment plans and provide appropriate information to patients and their families. In order to become a speech pathologist, one must earn a degree in the field or specialize in speech pathology. Depending on your career and educational goals, there are many degree options that prospective speech pathologists can choose from.
To learn more about how to become a speech pathologist, click on a question below to jump to its answer:
- What types degrees are available in speech pathology?
- What career opportunities are available for graduates?
- Should I earn a master’s degree in speech pathology or related field?
- What certification do I need to work in this field?
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Featured Online Programs in Speech Pathology
Ashford University — The applied linguistics program at Ashford University instructs students in such topics as language disorders, how language can best be learned, social factors that affect language learning, and how technology can contribute to effective learning. Many graduates of this program continue training in a master’s degree program in speech language pathology. Others may work right after graduation as translation and interpretation experts, marketers, and journalists. Ashford is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission, 985 Atlantic Avenue, Ste 100, Alameda, CA 94501, 5107489001, www.wascsenior.org.
Concordia University - Portland — Concordia University offers a dynamic Curriculum and Instruction English Language Development program. This program is a full year, completely online program designed to build on a teacher's knowledge and skills in developing student learning opportunities for underdeveloped native English speakers. Courses understand the fundamental structure of language and communication.
Northern Arizona University — The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Speech-Language Sciences and Technology at Northern Arizona University is a 120 credit hour program. Students complete a series of courses towards a better understanding of communication disorders and advancements in technology. This program is designed to allow individuals to complete undergraduate deficiencies necessary to pursue a graduate degree in Communications Disorders.
Speech pathology is the study of speech and language disorders. Someone who helps those suffering from speech problems is called speech pathologist or speech therapist. Speech pathology studies areas such as resonance, intonation, pitch, semantics and pragmatics.
There are many career paths to explore with a degree in speech pathology. The main areas of study for speech pathologists are cognitive speech communication, sensory awareness as it relates to the vocal chords, mouth and throat, language and speech. Therapists work with patients to develop new sounds, correct sounds and learn how to communicate effectively through written and speech communication. Besides standard quantitative and qualitative assessment methods, speech therapists also use instruments to help people learn new ways to communicate.
The degrees below can help set you on the right path towards a career in speech pathology.
- Programs for Speech Pathology
- Programs for Behavioral Sciences
- Programs for Child Development
- Programs for Psychology
A common degree for speech pathologists is a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. This is the bachelor’s degree many who plan to become speech pathologists obtain. Though you may work in the school system, most speech pathologists do not obtain teaching or education degrees of any sort. Instead the focus is on the applied sciences and helping those with speech impairments correct their speech through exercises and proven techniques.
There is considerable growth expected for qualified speech pathologists. Many speech pathologists work freelance with individual clients who are correcting speech impairment. This is a booming industry for working with small children whose parents notice a delay in speech development or issues with speech. Speech pathologists are one of the specialists who will experience the most growth in job opportunities in the next decade. Speech pathologists are employed by many different sources. This is a field that is growing in both urban and rural areas throughout the United States and Canada.
The rapid increase of special needs students has caused speech pathology to come to the forefront of school concerns. Many private schools and public schools that receive a large amount of state funding sometimes have a speech therapist on staff. This therapist may work with individual students or small groups of students to improve speech impairments. This is happening most at early childhood development centers and child care centers within a district. The importance of detecting speech impairment early on has become an issue since studies show impairments caught early can be corrected fairly easily with the proper therapy.
Because fewer healthcare companies are covering speech therapy, these positions are now contracted out to therapists. Instead of having a therapist on staff at a hospital, the therapist will receive a sizeable contract that agrees to working a certain number of hours at the facility per week. This allows the therapist to see their own private clients, while also treating patients through the hospital or medical facility. This is a lucrative position for a speech pathologist and also allows them to network with patients who may seek their services outside of the hospital. You can also work at a rehabilitation center or nursing home. In most of these cases, you will be on contract and called to the facility as needed or have part time hours at the facility. You may also educate staff members at these places for practicing easy vocal exercises with patients when they are not in session with you. These exercises contribute greatly to a person’s speech development and improvement. The constant practice of these movements will help with the work a patient does when in treatment with the therapist.
All speech pathologists are required to have a master’s degree. In order to get into a master’s program, you need a bachelor’s degree in a related science field and the GRE and a letter of recommendation. Though speech pathology master’s programs are not new, there’s a limited number of programs compared to students hoping to study the field. It can be very competitive to get into a master’s program. The rise in a need for speech pathologists are causing more schools to add this to the degree programs offered.
Most students enroll in a Master of Speech-Language Pathology to work as a speech pathologist. This program usually lasts two to four years, depending on the area of specialization for the student. The master’s degree alone will not qualify you to work as a speech pathologist. Following your master’s degree, you will still have to sit for additional exams and become certified to work. If you end up working for a school, you may be required to take exams for their position in addition to providing the district with your speech pathologist certification. Certification for speech pathology is good throughout the United States, though any tests taken for working in schools will vary by state.
Speech pathologists must be certified by two organizations. The first is the Clinical Competence in Speech and Language Pathology certification (CCC-SLP) and the second is the American Speech Language and Hearing Association. There is also a national written and speech and pathology exam you must take to practice as a speech pathologist. To become certified by the CCC-SLP, a master’s student must have 300-400 hours working with speech impaired students. These hours are completed under the supervision of a certified practicing speech therapist. This portion of the master’s program is referred to as clinicals, similar to the clinicals a doctor or nurse completes.
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