Our team of educational experts has put together this guide to help you decide if this type of career and degree program would be the most fitting for what you are looking for. The information in the guide below was derived from actual degree programs currently available to interested students.
What is Speech Rehabilitation?
There are certain situations and events within an individual's life that can lead to a change in their ability to communicate. Head injury, stroke, or disease can contribute to a loss of memory or muscle strength utilized during the speech process.
When life changing events occur, individuals may seek out qualified professionals to assist them with regaining their previous level of functioning. Speech language pathologists that have specialized in speech rehabilitation can assist their clients in the development of an intervention program that can get them back on track in language utilization.
This type of career field can be found in many different settings in today's society. Speech specialists can partner with hospitals or other medical facilities that work with patients that have experienced injury or illnesses that can impede speech.
How do I become a SLP in Speech Rehabilitation?
The general path for speech language pathologists (SLPs) includes involvement in degree programs that have been approved for licensing purposes. The best way to determine whether or not a program meets these standards is through verification of its program accreditation.
Programs in SLP that can lead to licensure must have Council for Academic Accreditation (CAA) accreditation from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Within this generalized program, you may also have the opportunity to choose a specialization in speech rehabilitation.
The minimum degree requirement for licensure in speech pathology is the Master's in Speech Pathology. After completion of a bachelor's and master's program, you can expect to have spent around 6-7 years within educational programs along the way.
Starting in the midst of your master's program, you may also be require to engage in supervised internships in the practical field. These experiences are required for licensure and can help you learn more about what rehabilitative speech therapy looks like in the field.
Completion of around 400 clock hours of fieldwork and your degree program can lead you into board testing and a fellowship within your field. Your fellowship may require around 1,200 hours for completion, which then allows you to apply for licensure in your state.
Online Speech Rehabilitation Degree Programs
Upcoming professionals that are seeking the perfect master's program may consider both traditional and online programs to meet their requirements. Online degree programs in this field are popular due to the amount of flexibility they offer their students, as well as the comparable quality that they exhibit.
If you enroll in an online Master's in Speech Pathology, you might be responsible for multiple log-ins per week, the completion of assignments prior to pre-established due dates, and even timed testing and discussions as applicable. Students with strong self-motivation may find these programs more stimulating that students that lack the self-starter attribute, so consider what type of learner you are before choosing this route.
A lot of institutions that are offering online programs in this field also offer traditional options to students with differing needs. This often means that the same instructors are teaching both options, which supports the same level of quality regardless of which you choose.
What will I learn in this program?
It is important for upcoming rehabilitative speech therapist to fully comprehend the diseases, injuries, and illnesses that can contribute to the loss of speech abilities. In your degree program, you may explore head injuries, dementia, stroke, and memory loss as a means for building a foundation for practice.
The effects of speech may also be a large portion of your course work in your program, which can introduce you to speech disorders such as aphasia and dysphagia. Different assessment and intervention strategies are studied in depth within these programs in order to prepare you for working with a large number of clients with different types of needs.
The field training requirement of your degree program can teach you more about what these disorders look like in the real-world environment. Through hands-on training, you can conduct assessments, write interventions, and even implement therapies under the supervision of a licensed therapist.
This experience requirement can open you up to feedback from your peers and the opportunity to grow as a seasoned professional. The accumulation of both educational and practical knowledge supports your successful entry into the field after becoming licensed.
What type of clients will I work with?
Injuries, diseases, and illnesses that affect speech can take a toll on people within all age groups. Speech therapists in speech rehabilitation might work with children that are struggling with speech as a result of birth defects or developmental disabilities, adults that have experienced accidents causing a loss of speech abilities, or even a combination of both age groups and diagnoses.
Some speech agencies that hire upcoming speech pathologists may also have specialized treatment centers that focus on specific age groups or therapies as part of their practice. As you move through your educational program, you might find that a particular group or diagnosis draws you in more than others – making for a great opportunity for you to focus your expertise within these treatment areas.
The rehabilitative speech therapist can be an influential part of teams in hospitals or other medical centers that provide treatment to individuals that have been involved in accidents or that have been diagnosed with different disorders or illnesses. As part of a medical team, you might be brought in to assess damage to a person’s ability to speak or even assess a person’s need for rehabilitative services.
Specialty clinics and schools can also be destinations for you to consider for your career. Each of these areas may provide individualized speech services to a set of clients, some with very different therapeutic needs.
In areas like private practice, you might have the option of operating your own speech therapy center specializing in rehabilitative speech services or even contract with agencies within your community. There are numerous opportunities available for therapists that have achieved licensure and are prepared to work with clients in the field.