Illinois provides a wealth of graduate education options in the field of communicative studies and disorders.
13 different institutions offer either a Master of Arts or Sciences in speech-language pathology or Doctorate programs in audiology. These programs are all accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), which designates their curriculum as rigorous enough to satisfy state licensure to practice as a professional.
Some of the universities that meet accreditation include Illinois State University, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - all of which have both Master's and Doctorate opportunities available.
Popular Illinois Cities with SLP Degrees
Chicago is the only location with multiple universities that feature an accredited program by the ASHA, and they are held at Rush University and St. Xavier University.
The city and surrounding areas also provide some of the most opportunities for those looking to start a career in speech pathology or audiology.
Many of the big institutions in the state offer this program, the biggest being within the University of Illinois system in Champaign. Other locations to consider getting a degree include Carbondale, DeKalb, Edwardsville, Elmhurst, Evanston, Normal, and University Park.
Northern Illinois University - Master of Arts in Communicative Disorders
Through the School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders, the Master's program has a concentration in Speech-Language Pathology that is accredited by the ASHA and will learn how to diagnose and treat disorders such as aphasia, autism, and swallowing problems. Graduates completing the program have seen a 100 percent career placement and will be prepared to take the Praxis II exam, or obtain the Certificate of Clinical Experience or Illinois educator license.
At the on-campus Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, students will get hands-on experience with evaluating disorders in patients. This includes detecting fluency problems like stuttering problems and reception delays, motor issues when performing tasks, and cognitive impairments. There is also a Toddler Speech and Language Study program that will help advance the process of teletherapy and language facilitation for toddlers that may already have displayed reception delays or similar issues.
Governors State University - Master of Health Science in Communication Disorders
An online option in the state is offered through the College of Health and Human services at Governors State University. This is a more unique program that does not have a localized clinical process, instead giving flexibility to over 150 designated sites for students to complete their practicum courses. Full-time students can complete the program in the span of seven semesters, but there is part-time opportunity for those needing more flexibility in their schedule. Of the approximately 300 applicants the school receives each fall, they administer around 35 students every year.
To be eligible for admission, students must have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA for the Bachelor's degree that is in the field of communication studies. While the student does not need to complete the degree prior to the application process, they must have at least five courses completed in the curriculum. Sending letters of recommendation and a personal essay are recommended for the application process. Students choose between the thesis or non-thesis options, with the total credits falling between 55 and 58 depending on the selection.
Rush University - Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology
One of Chicago's universities offers an accredited two-year program that admits students on a full-time basis. Exclusively on their campus, each class size is divided up into approximately 33 students, and over the past three years, students have overwhelmingly completed the program on time, passed their Praxis exam, and are employed within the first year of graduation. The curriculum will consist of a thesis project that students will complete throughout the program, and clinical experience will be given both on-campus and away.
In order to gain admission into the program, students must hold a Bachelor's degree from an accredited university and should boast at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA or 3.5 GPA when looking at courses in their field. There are prerequisite courses needed to be considered, and this includes topics covering physiology of speech, hearing sciences, statistics, social science, and physical science. Submissions are accepted between the months of September and January with the deadline on the first of the year, and the program begins annually in the fall.
SLP Licensure in Illinois
Licensing is handled by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. A Master’s degree is required to gain licensure, and all programs that have been accredited by the ASHA will meet the standards needed in terms of meeting clinical hours. For the Illinois Board specifically, students will need at least 375 hours of clock hours in a clinical setting, they have to practice in two different locations, and the supervisor has to be a licensed speech-language pathologist themselves.
Additional requirements include the completion of the Praxis exam, which will test candidates on foundational methods, screening patients, and planning treatment. Getting a score of 162 or higher will be considered satisfactory. During the fellowship, at least nine months of professional experience is needed. For those working at least 30 hours, they can meet the requirement within the shortest time frame. The less hours that are worked per week, the longer the fellowship will be. A temporary license is required to pursue this part of the licensing process and will be active for two years with a renewal after one year.
In order to keep the license, holders must complete 20 hours of updated education every two years. The Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association provides easy opportunity that meets during three-day sessions at an annual conference in order to achieve this requirement.
Illinois SLP Career Options
Prairie Wind Speech Therapy is a local health care service that provides support in the Champaign-Urbana location. Services offered by Prairie Wind include developing social skills for children with autism, gaining the abilities to respond and perform better for those with receptive communication difficulties, being able to feed babies when they struggle to adapt to the bottle or not expanding their food types, and fixing disorders that make children struggle to communicate with others and to prevent stuttering from taking place. Speech-language pathologists will work with their school-age patients to diagnose these issues and their guardians in order to develop a proper treatment plan.
For a more intimate or private therapy session, Chicago Speech Therapy offers pediatric therapy for school-age children and younger. These professionals will develop a relationship with their patient and fully personalize their treatment plan in order to increase their speech and language development. These will be direct sessions between the SLP and patients, and exact services include speech fluency, language delays, apraxia, swallowing problems, and expressive and receptive disorders.