In the state of Pennsylvania, there are 16 institutions that are accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), which showcases the best programs for those needing to meet the requirements for state licensure as a speech-language pathologist or audiologist.
Schools making the list include La Salle University, Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, and the University of Pittsburgh. The latter on the list, as well as Salus University in Elkins Park, have both a Master's degree and Doctorate in Audiology available.
Pennsylvania Cities with SLP Degrees
Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have multiple institutions that are accredited by the ASHA and have plenty of job opportunities available for those either just getting into their SLP or career or are seasoned professionals.
Pittsburgh has one of the biggest universities in the state, the University of Pittsburgh, and Duquesne University. Philadelphia is home to La Salle University and Temple University.
Duquesne University - Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology
The John G. Rangos, Sr. School of Health Sciences offers the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. By taking this program, students will be experts in their position, carefully implementing the practices and techniques they have learned to care for their patients and being a leader. An average of 30 students are in the program each year, and over the past three academic years, 97 percent of students have completed the program within six semesters. Of those that have graduated, all students have passed their national Praxis exam and have found employment within one year.
One of the unique aspects of Duquesne University is to complete an accelerated program within SLP where students can obtain a Bachelor's and Master's degree within five years. Completing the Bachelor's degree will fully prepare students for further education and the next steps to becoming licensed in the state of Pittsburgh. The Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, located on-campus, provides specialty clinics such as central auditory processing, autism, motor speech, and stuttering, for students to gain supervised hands-on clinical experience.
La Salle University - Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology
Located in Philadelphia, students are able to pursue the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology through the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Admissions require a background in speech pathology and holding a Bachelor's degree. Those that have a discipline in another field can complete the PreSLP program offered by La Salle, which has a collection of 10 courses to satisfy this requirement. Students must have one of these accomplishments to be considered. Other needed submissions include transcripts that designate a cumulative 3.0 GPA and GRE scores.
60 total credits are needed to complete the program, and examples of the core curriculum include Clinical Practicum and Procedures, Research Design in Communication Disorders, and Dysphagia. Over the past 11 years, the vast majority of students have excelled in the program, passing at a 98 percent overall rate. That mark is even higher with 413 out of 419 total students successfully passing the Praxis test. Since 2013, only three students have completed the program later than the suggested time frame of two years, which includes a summer semester between one of the traditional fall and spring semesters.
University of Pittsburgh - Master of Science or Arts in Speech-Language Pathology
The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences offers both a Master of Arts and Master of Science within SLP. Differences between the two are minimal in terms of content, but the MA will have more seminars and theory while the MS pathway will require a thesis, but they will be exempt from the written portion of the comprehensive exam. Six total terms will be needed to complete the 60-credit hour degree, which are divided up evenly between two years, and students are only administered into the program in the fall term.
Clinical concentrations are in dysphagia and voice disorders, and students will be working at places like the UPMC Voice Center. The school provides supervised clinical experience that will meet state requirements for licensure. Over the past three years, students have graduated at a 99.1 percent rate, and everyone in the program has passed the Praxis exam and found employment. There are multiple Doctorate programs, such as Audiology and Clinical Science in Medical Speech-Language Pathology, for those looking to pursue further education.
SLP Licensure in Pennsylvania
There are several steps needed in order to become a licensed pathologist or audiologist in the state of Pennsylvania.
PA State Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
The State Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology regulates the process with distribution of the licenses, reviewing information from applicants, and suspending licenses when deemed necessary.
Hold Master’s in SLP, Doctorate for Audiology Licensing
The main requirements are holding a Master’s degree for SLP licensing and a Doctorate for audiology. At least 1,260 hours of supervised experience must be logged between the marks of nine months and within two years. Supervision must be handled by a licensed practitioner, and they can oversee no more than three applicants at one time. Those pursuing a license can have no more than two supervisors at one time.
80 percent of clocked experience must be working directly with clients, and a maximum of 50 percent can be used in the screening process. Consultation between the applicant and the supervisor should take place frequently, and no less than once per month to review performance.
Renewals and Continuing Education
All licenses are set to expire at the end of July every other year, enforcing those practicing to continue pursuing education – at least 10 credits must be taken in order to keep up with the latest technological innovations, diagnosis techniques, and research methods in the field.
Pennsylvania SLP Career Options
HCR ManorCare, a subsidiary of ProMedica provides a number of SLP opportunities across the state. Typical duties for a full-time employee includes diagnosing communication and swallowing disorders with their patients and educating family members on the treatment plan and what steps to take.
Typical work hours will be required and there are numerous benefits, including an emphasis on work-life balance and competitive pay. Being a licensed practitioner in the state is required, as well as gaining or at least becoming eligible for the Certificate of Clinical Competence by the ASHA.
Pediatric Therapeutic Services
Pediatric Therapeutic Services is a local provider in Conshohocken that services much of Southeastern Pennsylvania, all of New Jersey, and the northern two-thirds of Delaware. They have many clinicians that help children with therapy, including speech-language pathologists. The age range is from pre-kindergarten through high school and will detect issues such as fluency, swallowing, articulation, and language.
If there is an issue that impedes the education process, pathologists should determine this and the methods needed to resolve the problem. In some cases, they will need to collaborate with school professionals and university officials to set up therapeutic processes in order for the student to succeed.