Our team of educational experts has researched SLP educational expectations in an effort to provide you with the most current information about what is involved in the degree process, as well as the steps you can take to become a licensed professional in this field.
We encourage you to read along in this guide to learn more about what you can do you get enrolled and begin your journey towards licensing as a SLP.
What is the SLP?
When a person has been identified as having an impairment related to speech, voice, or communication, Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) can intervene in order to help these individuals get on track in their levels of communication. If you are the type of person that enjoys teaching others new skills, developing individualized methods for implementing services, and working hard towards a certain goal, this could be a great degree option for you.
SLPs are required to engage in a certain set of education steps that can lead them towards a meaningful career in the field. Education programs that focus on speech language pathology can be found at schools in every state, making it a great option for students regardless of where they reside.
Online SLP Programs
As a SLP prospect, you might be looking for flexible options to implement into your busy lifestyle. A lot of college students consider alternative paths towards their degree, especially those paths that can allow them to work freely during the learning process.
Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Learning
One of the best ways to balance your work and school lives is through enrollment into online Speech Language Therapy training programs. There are numerous online options that can allow students to enjoy the convenience of asychronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace.
Options for Most Degree Levels
An interesting fact about online SLP programs is that they are available at multiple degree levels. If you are new the college, online associate's and bachelor's degrees could be great options for you to consider getting started. If you already hold a bachelor's degree, you can fast-track towards licensing with a master's or doctoral program in the online setting.
Communication is Key
Part of the charm of online Speech Language Therapy programs includes the ability to communicate with your instructor and other students through online tools such as chat and email. Since students in the online setting might feel disconnected from others throughout their course, communication is vital to ensuring that all students feel supported and have access to assistance when needed.
Online Software and Testing
Turning in homework can also be completed through convenient means in online SLP programs. Many online courses instruct students to complete their assignments and submit them through the course's online drop box tool prior to the due date. Since SLP programs may also consist of some testing requirements, course can also include timed testing elements that you can access from your very own home.
Sample Speech Language Therapy Courses
Students in online SLP programs may be expected to complete a specific set of courses in order to qualify for their license after graduation. Most programs provide you with a course list to review prior to enrolling, which can help you in comparing these courses to those required by your state during the licensing process.
Gen-Eds: General Education Coursework
If you are beginning your experience at the undergraduate level, you may find that a portion of your course work is in general education courses such as History, Psychology, and Biology. These courses can set the foundation for learning at higher degree levels and could potentially contribute to your better understanding of speech-specific concepts.
During your graduate experience, the course work may take a turn towards more diagnostic and treatment-specific topics. During these courses you can learn to identify speech issues using speech and language assessments, as well as baseline expectations for normal speech for each age group.
Diagnostic, Sounds, Articulation, Mutism Coursework
Diagnostic courses can introduce you to a wide range of speech disorders that may be prominent during your career. Disorders related to voice sounds, articulation, and mutism may be studied, as well as disorders caused by serious illness or injury.
Complementing your diagnostic learning, courses in treatment plan development may also be included within your curriculum. As a student in the online SLP program, you can learn more about the various speech therapies available, how theses treatments look in the field, and follow-up services that can help generalize these skills for your clients.
Ethics in Speech Language THerapy
SLP programs that lead to licensing can also include elements related to treatment ethics. Since this topic can be covered in depth on the Praxis examination for upcoming SLPs, you can expect to dive deep into what ethical practice looks like in the field, relevant scenarios, and a test of your knowledge in this area.
Typical SLP Degree Requirements
If becoming a SLP is what you desire, you should be current on the licensing expectations of professionals in your field. The minimum degree requirement for practitioners in speech and language services is a master’s.
The Master’s in Speech Pathology is available at universities all over the country in both traditional and online format. This program can provide you with extensive training in both diagnosis and treatment of communicative disorders, which can contribute to your expertise as a practitioner in this field.
You can expect to spend around 2-3 years in a preparatory program in speech pathology, which can also include field requirements with actual clients. During these experiences, you can work under the direct supervision of licensed SLPs as you exercise your skills with clients in need.
After completing your degree program, you are expected to earn around 400 hours of clinical experience at the master’s level, successfully pass the Praxis examination in speech pathology, and also participate in a fellowship of 1,260 hours. Completion of these steps should be followed by an application for licensing in your state.
Speech Language Pathologist Career Outlook
SLPs can make a difference in the lives of their clients. The intense and individualized services provided in this field can help clients learn new manners of speaking, assist them with developing muscle movement needed for articulated speech, and even deliver clients from impairments that have hindered their prior level of speaking.
Having a license in this field can lead you into careers within your community working for speech and language clinics, hospitals, or even in school systems. Your services can be beneficial for both children and adults, making it possible for you to engage in a private practice that can be utilized by all people in need.
In some areas of the U.S., speech language pathologists can be a part of curriculum development teams focused on including speech services in normal operating school systems. SLPs can also engage in vigorous research that can continuously improve both educational training programs for upcoming professionals and treatments for those in need of speech services.