Colleges with Speech Pathology Majors: How to Choose

Speech pathology is an area of communications expertise that covers the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of individuals with speech, hearing or other communication disorders. Associate's and bachelor's degree programs are available at colleges and universities across the country, many of which lead to graduate programs and certificates.

How to Select a Speech Pathology Program

Depending on whether the goal is to become a speech-language pathology assistant or speech-language pathologist, relevant programs can be found at community colleges or 4-year colleges and universities. An associate's degree is generally required to become a speech-language pathologist assistant (SLPA), although some states require a bachelor's degree, and most states require SLPAs to be licensed. Professional practice as a speech-language pathologist typically requires earning a master's degree or higher and obtaining state licensure.

Consider the following when looking for a Speech Pathology school:

  • Depending on career goals, students will want to decide on an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree program.
  • Because many states require SLPAs to be licensed, students should select a school with an associate's program that includes the coursework required by the state in which they plan to work.
  • Students may want to consider programs that incorporate hands-on experience in professional environments, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools and nursing facilities.
  • Some schools offered combined or accelerated bachelor's and master's degree programs that allow students to complete both degrees in five years, instead of six.
  • Students may want to consider graduate degree programs accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) because this accreditation is necessary to be eligible for ASHA's certification, the Certificate of Clinical Competence in the field.

Speech Pathology Program Overviews

Associate in Applied Science in Speech-Language Pathology Assistant

An Associate in Applied Science in Speech-Language Pathology Assistant degree program includes practicums in addition to classroom coursework. Students take courses in topics such as the following:

  • Communication disorders
  • Phonetics
  • Anatomy and physiology of speech and hearing
  • Language development

Bachelor's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

A Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology degree program includes clinical practicums, providing students with opportunities to practice speech-language pathology methods. Diagnostics and evaluation training help students learn to evaluate, diagnose and plan appropriate treatment or rehabilitation for individuals with communicative disorders. Courses that students could take include the following:

  • Language development
  • Communication disorders
  • Articulation disorders
  • Phonetics
  • Audiology

Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology

A Master of Arts or Master of Science degree is required for most careers in speech pathology. A master's degree program in speech-language pathology prepares students for employment by incorporating hands-on experience in professional settings. Programs include clinical practicums, and students may complete a thesis or take a comprehensive exam. Program graduates are eligible for additional certification of clinical competency made available by the ASHA. Students take classes in these topics, among others:

  • Research methods
  • Dysphagia
  • Counseling for communication disorders
  • Fluency disorders

Top 10 Speech Pathology Schools

College/University Institution Type
University of Iowa 4-year, Public
University of Wisconsin-Madison 4-year, Public
University of Washington 4-year, Public
Vanderbilt University 4-year, Private
Northwestern University 4-year, Private
Purdue University-West Lafayette 4-year, Public
University of Arizona 4-year, Public
University of Kansas 4-year, Public
University of Pittsburgh 4-year, Public
University of Texas-Austin 4-year, Public

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