Graduate degree programs are often developed as a means for helping students gain expertise within a specific treatment field. The Master's of Speech Pathology consists of specific treatment topics, insight into communicative diseases, and an exploration of ethical considerations for new practitioners in the field.
The goal of the MSP program is to provide a foundation of learning for students that plan to move forward into board testing and licensing in their future. Students like you that are seeking a degree program that can contribute to a smooth path to licensure might even consider looking at distance education programs with the proper type of accreditation.
As you read through this guide, consider how the consistency of your degree program can contribute to your overall success in the field. Our team of educational experts has pulled information from this program's curriculum and accreditation in order to provide you with better information about what is ahead in your future.
Online Degree Programs
The introduction of online degree programs opened up doors in education for many people that were historically unable to attend college due to their work schedule or personal responsibilities. The Master's of Speech Pathology is one of the many degree programs that can be attended online, making it an excellent choice for individuals that are already committed to a full-time job or full family life.
The Master's of Speech Pathology in the online environment may include course work that is prepared and submitted virtually through an online classroom. If you are taking an online class, you might be responsible for logging in to your class multiple times a week in order to review your assignments, read assigned literature, and take part in discussions with other students in your class.
Online discussion boards and in-course email tools can assist you with staying connected with other students as well as your instructor throughout the duration of your class. A lot of students enrolled in completely online MSP programs take more than one course at a time, which can contribute to quicker completion of the program.
Many people are skeptical about straying from the norm and engaging in online versions of popular degree programs. Recent innovations from universities and accreditation agencies have verified the reliability of online degree programs so that students enrolled in them do not have to question the quality and utility of this type of degree.
Note on ASHA Accreditation
At the master's level, you should really pay close attention to the reliability of your degree program and its current accreditation. The master's is the minimum degree requirement for licensure, making your decision of schools and programs extremely important as you embark on the next steps towards obtaining your license.
While you review potential online Master's of Speech Pathology programs, you should research the specific accreditation information for each individual program. The most common type of accreditation that you should see for these programs is Council for Academic Accreditation (CAA) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
A majority of online degree programs may list the program's accreditation on the program's main webpage, but others may list overall accreditation information under tabs that tell you more about the college specifically. Alternative methods for ensuring accreditation include searching directly from the ASHA website.
How Long Does a Master’s SLP Program Take to Complete?
A lot of students that choose to move forward into Master’s of Speech Pathology programs do so after completing a 4 year undergraduate program. In some cases, students can jump into a master’s program at a full-time rate, but some students may require a much more flexible schedule in order to balance the responsibilities of their full-time career with their education.
An interesting fact about the Master’s of Speech Pathology program is that you can modify your enrollment status in order to complete the program in the time frame that works for you. With that being said, students that can take classes at a full-time or expedited rate can often finish the program in a much faster time frame.
The standard full-time curriculum in a master’s program can usually be completed in around 2 years. Some programs offer programs that can be completed in 1.5 years, while others are closer to 3 years in duration. If you are a busy working professional, you can possibly extend your master’s program up to 5 years in order to minimize the pressure of a strict work and school balance.
The courses that are included in your degree program are essentially the tools that you use to become an expert in your field. As you explore different online Master’s of Speech Pathology programs, take the time to review the curriculum of each one so that you can get a better grasp on what to expect as a student.
Our team of educational experts has reviewed current online programs in order to provide you with a short list of example courses that are prominent in each one. The list below outlines some popular courses and their main topics for you to review.
- Motor Speech Disorders: Students taking this course can embark on an exploration of neuromotor systems that contribute to speech production, as well as some common disorders that can affect them. Some example disorders that may be reviewed in this course include dysarthria and apraxia of speech. Students may also explore some of the common diagnostic tools used in this area as well as look at treatment options for clients with these diagnoses.
- Neurology for Speech and Language: This course can provide students with a foundation of knowledge into the neurological foundations of speech and communication. As part of this course’s requirements, students may identify some common diagnoses that affect overall communication, as well as research different types of injury and illness that can affect functional communication.
- Aphasia: Aphasia is a disorder that presents with a patient’s inability to understand or express speech. Students in this course may look into different injuries or illnesses that can cause aphasia, as well as the therapies available to reverse the symptoms of this disorders. Students may also explore the neurological processes affected by this disorder and their root causes.
Path to Licensing
Completion of an online Master’s of Speech Pathology can be a giant first step on your path to licensure, as long as the program you have chosen consists of the right type of accreditation. CAA-accredited degree programs consist of all of the proper elements required for licensure in each state, making these programs the best choice for future SLP practitioners.
In most master’s level programs, students may be given the opportunity to engage in field experiences that can sharpen their expertise in the field. In total, most programs that prepare students for the licensure track may consist of several different in-person opportunities that can count towards your overall experience requirement.
Each state may have different expectations for SLP licensure. In general, completing your Master’s in Speech Pathology, engaging in 400 clock hours of supervised internships, and a 36 week fellowship is required for licensure in all states.
Once you have completed the degree program and practice requirements, you may then be responsible for successfully passing the Praxis in Speech Language Pathology. This examination will draw information from your degree program as well as your experience for you to recall.
Your state may require that you submit all original documents to their licensing office for consideration prior to being awarded your license. Once licensed, you must continually renew your license and complete continuing education courses in order to maintain your licensure over the course of your career.
If you were to interview current licensed speech pathologists in the field, you might find that a large majority of them hold a master’s degree. Since this is the minimum degree requirement for licensure, most current professionals in the field have stopped their education at this point.
With a Master’s of Speech Pathology you can pursue licensing in your state and begin working with clients in the field. Most SLPs work in clinics, schools, hospitals, or rehabilitation centers with clients that have been diagnosed with speech-related disorders.
Some alternative career options for people within this domain include careers in research and development within their field, SLP education and training through universities, and even speech curriculum development.