The state of Arizona has a handful of higher education opportunities for those that are looking to break into a speech pathology career.
Five different universities offer a program that is accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
Holding this designation ensures that the curriculum will satisfy one of the state's requirements to gain licensure in the field. ASHA certification requires strict adherence to their standards, such as curriculum offerings and practicum procedures.
Popular Arizona Locations with SLP Degrees
Places to gain a graduate degree in the state of Arizona are at both of the major universities, Arizona State University in Tempe and the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Both of these schools offer a Master's degree in speech-language pathology and a Doctorate in Audiology. Other locations include Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Midwestern University at the Glendale campus, and AT Still University at Mesa, which exclusively offers a Doctorate degree.
Arizona State University - Master of Science in Communication Disorders
The College of Health Solutions offers a curriculum that will help speech-language pathologists become certified under the ASHA and gain licensure for the state of Arizona. The program will take 20 months to complete with 52 credit hours and a comprehensive exam. Students have the option of finishing the program with a thesis credit or additional electives. Examples of required courses include Clinical Methods in SLP, Management of Voice and Swallowing Disorders, and Augmentative Communication and Language Programming. Additional options to add in the program is a part-time position as SLP assistants or technicians, working with multicultural and multilingual patients, or the joint online program with East Carolina University that requires at least 54 credit hours combined.
Admission requirements for the program include submission of the application and fee, current resume, GRE scores, official transcripts, letter of intent that is under 300 words, and three letters of recommendation. Students should hold an undergraduate degree in a similar field, but if not, they must at least have prior coursework in subjects like phonetics, physiological bases of speech, aural rehabilitation, and more. Over the past three years, over 98 percent of students have completed the program within the two-year time frame, and all students have passed the national Praxis examination and were employed after graduation.
Northern Arizona University - Master of Science in Clinical Speech-Language Pathology
There are three different pathways when taking the speech pathology program at Northern Arizona. Full-time students that have a Bachelor's degree in a related field and have completed the program prerequisites are able to pursue the two-year curriculum that requires 66 credit hours to complete. For those that do not meet the prerequisites, there is a "leveler" track that has an additional 21 credit hours that will fulfill this need. Regardless of either full-time option, a Bachelor's degree is needed to be administered into the program.
Prospective students that are already working in the field and are looking to keep that job while pursuing higher education, the "summers" track requires up to 66 credit hours. This program is completed over the course of four summers and concludes with a 12-week clinical externship. Other submission requirements include GRE scores, personal essay that explains what goals will be achieved by pursuing the degree, official transcripts from all universities, and three letters of recommendation.
SLP Licensure in Arizona
The Arizona Department of Health Services is responsible for the licensing of speech-language pathologists, who require a number of steps to gain this certification and continuing education is needed in the future. Obtaining a Master’s degree is the first step in the process, and it is recommended to pursue a program accredited by the ASHA. The curriculum should consist of various disorders in speech and swallowing, along with research methods and clinical practicum. Electives will consist of further study in specific disorders or therapy procedures. Practicum sessions must add up to 400 clock hours, with 375 hours working directly with patients.
A clinical fellowship must be completed after the completion of a Master’s degree. This must be an additional 300 clock hours of supervised work. At least 40 hours of work must be focused on both evaluation and treatment of patients that are children and adults. At least 20 hours must be focused on audiology as well. The national Praxis exam, which requires proof of a graduate degree and clinical fellowship completion, is then taken a testing center available in various cities in the state. After this, applicants can also pursue the Certificate of Clinical Competence through the ASHA.
For those seeking educational SLP opportunities, Arizona requires a certification through the Department of Education. State licensure requires 30 further educational hours every three years in order to renew, along with a $200 fee. 60 hours of professional experience is needed to renew the educational certification.
Arizona SLP Career Options
SEEK Arizona is based in Phoenix and provides therapy and behavioral health services to children. SLPs will utilize picture exchange and augmentative communication when going through speech therapy with patients, and they will also focus on the social aspect, or body language displayed, in the therapy process. This can be completed in one-on-one sessions or at group sessions in learning centers or grade schools. Students that struggle forming sentences, processing directions, or comprehending questions will benefit from this process.
Reliant Rehabilitation services 40 states across America, and that includes speech therapy in Arizona. Workers will need to have a valid state license and their goal is to analyze speech and swallowing issues, and determine the best path toward solving these issues. Since a state license is required, a Master’s degree is needed for the educational background, and potential employees should so competence in computers and browsing the internet.