Practitioners of speech therapy are most commonly speech pathologists working for specialty clinics or healthcare facilities that focus on communication as a treatment target. Individuals that take part in speech therapy can increase their ability to engage in normal speech muscle function or even increase independent skills such as articulation and speech sounds.
If you are interested in enrolling in degree programs that lead you to become a speech therapist, you are encouraged to read more in the guide below. There are different paths to consider for your education, some of which providing you with needed convenience and flexibility along the way.
What is Speech Therapy?
When people are identified as having issues with speech and communication, trained professionals can intervene in an effort to assist with developing normal levels of communicative functioning. This type of intervention is most often completed by speech therapists that have obtained licensure within their state.
Speech therapist begin with analyzing an individual's current level of functioning, diagnosing any known speech disorders, and developing a treatment plan that consists of speech therapies relevant to their needs.
|East Central University||Bachelor||BA Human services Counseling - Services to Deaf concentration||Website|
|Saint Joseph's University||Bachelor||BLS in General Studies - Autism Studies Track||Website|
|George Washington University||Doctorate||Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy||Website|
|Lindenwood University||Master||MA Early Intervention in Autism & Sensory Impairments||Website|
|Saint Joseph's University||Master||MS in Education - Special Education + Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement||Website|
Online Speech Therapy Degree Programs
In society as it stands today, students are constantly seeking the most convenient methods for learning within their fields. Speech therapists can now take advantage of flexible learning opportunities available in the online learning environment.
Online degree programs for speech therapists may require that students have access to a computer or laptop with an internet connection. Attendance in each course generally requires students to log in to each of their courses 2-3 times per week in order to complete assignments and discussions on different topics related to speech therapy.
In the online environment, students can arrange their learning schedules to work best with a busy work schedule or dense family life. Some students choose online degree programs as a way to expand their career opportunities without missing out on the opportunity to earn a stable income during the process.
If you are concerned about the quality or utility of online degree programs, you should rest assured that these programs can provide you with the same opportunities as traditional options. Online speech pathology programs at the graduate level may even include clinical work experience requirements that can contribute to your professional license acquisition in the future.
Types of Speech Therapy Topics Included
Speech therapy may include many diverse topics related to practice in the field. Students working toward licensure in speech pathology may be involved in courses that outline the symptoms and presentations of certain factors pointing to speech and language issues, as well as courses that focus specifically on the different types of therapies available for use in the field.
Students can learn more about speech and fluency training, as well as techniques that can be useful with clients in all age groups. Some therapies can also help clients work on language cognition and memory, which can be beneficial when learning new words or speech sounds during the process.
In cases in which clients have lost their ability to speak fluently, rehabilitative therapies may be useful for assisting them with achieving a previous level of speech. Course work in the speech therapy program can assist learners with developing skills to help a wide variety of clients regardless of their speech impairments.
Typical Degree Requirements for a Speech Therapy Program
If you are on the path to a career in speech therapy, you should be prepared to meet all of the recommendations of the licensing board in your state. Some states may have varying expectations for you to be aware of, but most states require that you achieve at least a Master’s in Speech Pathology prior to moving forward in the licensing process.
The master’s degree that you choose should also be accredited by the Council for Academic Accreditation (CAA) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Accreditation means reliability in the field of speech therapy, so choosing a program with accreditation can help to ensure that your curriculum has been reviewed for use during the licensing process.
Your required master’s degree can also consist of practical requirements that can count towards you practicum requirements for licensure. In total, you may be expected to engage in around 400 hours of graduate level experience to become a speech therapist, as well as successfully pass a board examination, and participate in a fellowship among licensed professionals in speech pathology.
Career Outlook for a Speech Therapist
A career as a speech therapist can put you in touch with many different clients with varying speech impairments. Some professionals in this field choose to work with youth that are experiencing developmental delays that impair speech and communication, while other professionals prefer to work with older clients that have experienced injuries or illnesses that have created a loss in functioning.
There are specialty clinics available that employ speech therapists to work with different clients with individual levels of functioning in their speech. Employment in these agencies can be a career option for you after becoming licensed, as well as in private practice within your area.
Speech therapists in the educational field can provide individualized services to students during normal school hours. Some school systems may employ speech therapists as part of their general educational team or even contract the services of speech therapists as they are needed during the school year.
In addition to the options listed above, you can also explore specialty careers in hospitals, healthcare clinics, and even research facilities during the lifetime of your career. As the field continues to change and develop, speech therapists may become a part of normal healthcare services across the country.