The state of California provides one of the largest varieties of higher education options in the field of speech language pathology. Nearly 20 different programs have been accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), meaning the universities and colleges that hold the designation have met high professional standards for preparing their graduates to enter the fields of pathology and audiology.
Having a degree from these institutions provides increased potential in job opportunities and creating an easier path toward obtaining a state license as most of them have similar requirements across the country.
California Cities with SLP Degrees
There are 19 total Master's programs in speech-language pathology and two locations with a Doctorate in Audiology. Around half of the Master's degrees in speech pathology are offered through locations under the California State University umbrella, and the majority of those are in South Carolina, including Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Northridge. Some institutions do stretch up to the Bay Area and further north, like Chico.
Two of the major cities, San Francisco and San Diego, have an option to pursue a Master of Science or Arts in Speech-Language Pathology or a Doctorate in Audiology. For those looking at an alternative online option, CSU in Northridge offers the Master of Science in Communicative Disorders that is also accredited by the ASHA and takes 41 months to complete.
San Diego State University - Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology
The School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences only offers this program with, and students are administered into the program in the fall. The program usually takes two years to complete with enrollment in the fall and spring semesters, and one time during the summer. It is typical for students to enroll full-time with no or minimal work as there is no opportunity for part-time learning. All students have completed the program over the past four years and have passed the Praxis exam, which determines teachers' abilities they have learned in school.
At least 36 units are needed to complete the program, and there are two pathways to choose from - thesis or comprehensive exam. The latter has two attempts for students to pass. Students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in all 600-level courses and higher. Up to six transfer credits are accepted. Examples of courses in the curriculum include Speech-Language Screening of Children, Research methods in Communication Sciences and Disorders, Dysphagia, and two levels of Acquired Neurogenic Language and Cognitive Disorders.
University of California, Long Beach - Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology
The College of Health and Human Services offers the SLP program that features a clinical practicum and over 400 clinical hours working with patients directly through internship opportunities. Prerequisites needed in order to get into the program includes holding a Bachelor's degree with a major related to this field. For those with other backgrounds, they must have at least 30 units of coursework in communication disorders or SLP. 50 total credit hours are needed to complete this program, and it culminates with an option to complete a thesis or directed readings.
Many seminars are taken through this curriculum, which provides a detailed look at topics such as brain injury, literacy disorders for children and adults, motor speech disorders, autism, and dysphagia. In addition to the 14 total courses taken in the core curriculum, students must take two units of Clinical Methods in Speech-Language Pathology. Students are expected to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA throughout the program.
University of the Pacific - Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology
There is both a Master's degree and Doctorate in Audiology offered by that is offered by the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Science that is accredited by the ASHA. Students can choose from two length variations for the Master's degree. The first is a four-semester track that will supplement a student that already has received a Bachelor's degree in the field. The other is a six-semester option for those that have completed the degree in a different discipline. All students taking this program have passed the national Praxis examination.
Some courses will be split within a semester. For example, Adult Neurological Disorders, Research Methods, and Aural Rehabilitation are courses that are completed in either the first second eight weeks. These courses are taken in the second year for the 24-month path and in the first few semesters for the 15-month variation. The Doctorate of Audiology is also accelerated and takes three years to complete.
SLP Licensure in California
There are a few steps to follow in order to gain licensure in the state of California.
1. Complete a Master’s Program
Obtaining a Master’s degree is required, and all ASHA-accredited programs will have at least 60 credit hours and 300 hours of clinical practice that is supervised in order to determine if the graduate is able to treat patients effectively. Coursework should consist of various speech and motor disorders, clinical processes, speech therapy, and communication studies.
2. Gain Practical Professional Supervised Experience
After completing the degree, graduates must have 36 weeks of full-time professional experience, or 72 weeks of part-time, all of it being supervised. Holding a temporary license is required for the clinical fellowship, with students needing to pay a fee and proving that they have completed a higher education program with transcripts, report on clinical hours, and exam scores.
3. Praxis Examination
The national Praxis exam, which will test students on many subjects within speech-language pathology, is required for licensure in California and a score of 162 or higher is needed. Exams can be completed at dozens of test centers in the state, with some located at Bakersfield, Chico, Fresno, San Francisco, and San Diego.
California SLP Career Options
There are hundreds of SLP job opportunities in the state of California. Many schools have contract opportunities for a speech-language pathologist.
Soliant Health’s Partnership with LA Schools
Soliant Health has a partnership with schools in the Los Angeles location for specialists that can diagnose students with speech disorders. They have many opportunities across the state, part time and full time, and the majority will work with the kindergarten through 8th grades. They must have a state license and have completed a Master’s program. In Grand Terrace, a contract position is offering 35 hours per week for the rest of the school year and these professionals will work with middle school students with autism.
Kaiser Permanente in Oakland
Kaiser Permanente is a health care organization that is headquartered in Oakland and serves most states along the West Coast and in the Northeast.
There are consistent speech-language pathologist opportunities with various duties, such as performing diagnostic tests to determine disorders among their patients, creates reports on their findings and refers specialists to their patients, and works with physicians to create an adequate treatment plan.