Many popular universities in the state of Tennessee offer an accredited Master's degree in speech-language pathology. Designated by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), five institutions have gone through rigorous review and their curriculum will prepare graduates for the national Praxis exam and a clinical fellowship on their path to obtaining a state licensure.
A unique aspect in the state is nearly having even offerings for the Master's degrees toward SLP and a Doctorate in Audiology.
Popular Locations in Tennessee with SLP Degrees
Nashville is the only location that has multiple university options with accredited programs - Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Tennessee State University. The latter institution is the only accredited university that does not also offer a Doctorate in Audiology.
Other locations that have designated ASHA institutions are Johnson City, Knoxville, and Memphis. These cities have many SLP career choices, along with Chattanooga and Clarksville.
University of Memphis - Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology
The School of Communication Sciences and Disorders has a two-year program worth 60 credit hours at the University of Memphis. Courses are divided up into subjects like communication processes, speech disorders, language disorders, clinical practicum, and various electives. Students will choose at least six credit hours in speech and language disorders, with options such as Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Disorders, Disorders of Phonology and Articulation, Dysphagia, and determining language disorders in children and adults. It is not required to have studied this discipline in an undergraduate program, but those without prior coursework will need to complete 15 total credit hours in behavioral, biological, and physical science, and statistics.
Clinical studies will begin at the Memphis Speech and Hearing Center before taking place at other affiliated locations. The practicum will have different experiences each year, beginning with foundational information, then leading into evaluating disorders, discussing these issues with the patient and their family, ethical law and regulation procedures, and professional issues in the field. Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree with at least a 3.0 GPA and the submission of GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement on their goals in this career. Deadline for admission is February 1st each year and the program begins in the fall.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center - Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology
At least five semesters, or between 49 to 59 credit hours, are needed to complete the program that is distributed through the university's School of Medicine. Students obtaining this degree will be able to continue pursuing the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology from the ASHA and a state licensure in the field. There is a School speciality track offered by the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences for students planning to work within school districts and mainly with child-age patients. Elective coursework will be geared toward working with children and they will complete practicum sessions in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and in the Vanderbilt Reading Clinic.
Another speciality track is Early Identification and Management of Children with Hearing Loss. There will be specific training in this process along with coursework in audiology. For those looking at a more generic focus, the other option is to complete the program with a Master's thesis. This is an optional choice and submission intentions should be given to faculty in advance. 98.3 percent of all students over the past three years have completed the program, and the school has a 100 percent success rate in job placement and passing the national Praxis examination.
SLP Licensure in Tennessee
The Tennessee Department of Health goes through the verification of licensures for speech-language pathology and audiology. There are two methods that applicants are able to take in order to get a license. One way is to obtain a Master’s degree in the field of communication disorders and getting a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) from the ASHA. The other method is to complete 400 clock hours within a clinical practicum, take a clinical fellowship, and pass the Praxis and jurisprudence exams.
Getting the CCC-SLP also requires a graduate degree, completion of a clinical fellowship, and Praxis exam scores. There is a waiver for examinations for those that have already been licensed in a different state. In order to have a license renewed, holders must have at least 10 hours of educational hours and they will need to accomplish this each year. The clinical fellowship must be at least nine months, with typical opportunities in school districts, hospitals, and hearing and speech centers.
Tennessee SLP Career Options
Children’s Hospital at Erlanger is located at Chattanooga and is affiliated with the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga. Therapy services include audiology and hearing, speech-language disorders, feeding and swallowing, and physical and occupational. They will serve all patients under the age of 21 and evaluates many disorders, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, feeding and fluency issues, dysphagia, neuromotor and sensorimotor dysfunction, and attention deficit disorder.
Broad River Rehabilitation is headquartered in North Carolina and has locations across the state of Tennessee. They are partnered with the Tennessee Health Care Association and offer services such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Speech pathologists will work with patients directly, diagnosing them with various disorders and developing a treatment plan. All rehab centers will also have a director that reviews caseload management and treatment plans to make sure that workers are following ethical regulations.