In this guide, you can learn more about the diverse learning opportunities available for upcoming speech pathologists in the field. If you are a busy professional seeking an escape from your current job and entry into a field that is meaningful to you, read more in our team's helpful guide below.
What is Speech Pathology?
Speech pathology is a scientific field that studies shortcomings and difficulties with language and communication. Students that are intrigued with this field can enroll in degree programs that can assist them with providing helpful services to clients in the field.
Communication is an important aspect of human life. When difficulties with communication are identified, it may be necessary to explore different treatment options in order to teach clients new ways of communication or even rehabilitate those that have lost the ability to communicate back to a historical level of speech and comprehension.
Online Speech Pathology Degree Programs
Research into current degree programs in the field may lead you into reading about online degree programs. Online Speech Pathology programs can be a gateway for upcoming professionals to gain all of the necessary training for practice, without having to sacrifice vital time at work or at home during the process.
Online degree programs are often an alternative option at institutions that offer traditional versions of speech pathology programs. In some schools, the same professors teach both online and on-campus programs, making both programs nearly identical for students in both realms.
A day in the life of an online student may include logging in to courses via their university's web page, reading and reviewing weekly assignments, completing weekly discussions on the course discussion board, and even communicating with other students and instructors through the course email tool.
The most strikingly attractive factor of online speech pathology degree programs is that students can create their own schedule. Online degree programs often consist of asynchronous courses, which allow students to complete homework at their own pace without having to be online at certain times of the day and night.
Busy professionals that are looking for a way out of their current career and into the field of speech pathology could benefit the most from these convenient and reliable degree programs. There are numerous universities offering multiple start dates per year to for you consider now.
Program Course Work
Depending on your current degree level and the degree program you are enrolled in, you can learn about a variety of topics when enrolled in speech pathology programs. At the entry level, students can learn about the biology of speech and language, as well as receive some insight into the physiology of hearing and speech comprehension.
In lower level degree programs such as the associate's and bachelor's programs, students may also take courses that are required in all undergraduate programs, such as those related to social sciences, Mathematics, and English and Literature. These foundation courses can provide students with skills that can be useful when working in the public domain with a broad spectrum of clients in their day to day role.
At higher degree levels, students may focus more on their practice and its implementation in the field. Students in master's and doctoral programs may explore topics related to different speech disorders, such as selective mutism, aphasia, and stuttering.
After indulging in the topics related to disorder, students may also then take a look at the different techniques available for use in the field, including a wide variety of speech therapies. Each state has a certain expectation for upcoming speech pathologists in terms of topics learned, which are required to be included within accredited degree programs.
- Associate's: This degree program can be an introductory undergraduate program for new college students or recent high school graduates. The anticipated completion time of this program is 1-2 years and it can include basic topics regarding speech services, disorders, and assistance in the field of speech pathology. Credits earned in this program could count towards a bachelor's program in the future.
- Bachelor's: The bachelor's is a common first step for upcoming speech pathology professions. This 4 year program is often divided between general education courses and those strictly focusing on speech disorders and treatment. While graduation from this degree program can be a great first step towards licensure, future professionals must complete a master's prior to applying for licensure.
- Master's: The master's is the minimum degree requirement for licensing as a speech pathologist. This degree program can take 2-3 years to complete depending on your individual program and consists of diagnostic and treatment-specific topics related to speech pathology. This is the degree level in which you learn how to apply your services in the public domain and usually consists of several clinical requirements that can assist you with transforming your knowledge into practice.
- Doctorate: Doctoral programs in this field are often geared towards future research professionals or leaders in the field. The total time required for this program ranges from 3-5 years depending on your enrollment status. Courses included may focus on the development of research projects or leadership techniques relevant to the field of speech pathology.
Before you choose a degree program for your career, you should read more into the accreditation expectations of future speech pathology professionals. The leading professional organization for this field is the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), which also provides accreditation to university programs marketed towards students on this path.
Degree programs that can lead to licensure should contain accreditation from ASHA’a Council for Academic Accreditation (CAA). If you locate this information via your degree’s web page, then you can rest assured that your program can be utilized during the licensing process.
Speech pathologists can be important components in the development of effective communication or the rehabilitation of speech in people that have lost their previous level of functioning. Depending on which group you would most like to work with, your career setting can vary.
Most speech pathologists can find careers in local language clinics focused on providing services specific to communication and hearing. Alternative settings for you to consider are those in hospitals, specialty clinics, schools, and even in private practice.
In some cases, speech pathologists may find it beneficial to seek out careers in research or treatment development as a means for contributing to their field. As you enter into the field, more experience can lead you into better paying careers in areas that mean the most to you.