Several schools offer online master's degree programs in speech-language pathology. Most courses can be completed online, with students accessing video lectures and course materials as their schedules allow, within set guidelines. These programs usually have a clinical experience component and an internship requirement. Students may be required to visit campus for brief residency periods as well.
Students must generally hold a bachelor's degree in speech-language pathology or a related field. Courses cover the anatomy and physiology of speech, diagnostic procedures, swallowing disorders and alternate methods of communication. Much of the program is spent in clinical practice, working with children and adults with speech-language disorders. Students also learn about research methodology and may be required to complete a capstone project.
Most states mandate that speech-language pathologists be licensed. A master's degree and clinical experience are required for licensing.
Master's Degree in Speech Pathology
Online Master of Science (M.S.) programs cover topics in the natural sciences, technology and communication. Students learn to identify and treat disorders related to speech, cognition, swallowing and voice control. Incoming students usually need to hold a bachelor's degree in communication science, speech and hearing science or a related field.
Program Information and Requirements
Most online M.S. programs in speech pathology take three years of full-time study to complete. Students download videos of instructional lectures and communicate with professors through online chat programs and e-mail. The majority of instruction is completed over the Internet, but students are often required to complete clinical training exercises in person. Technological requirements generally require high-speed Internet access and word processing software.
List of Common Speech Pathology Courses
The majority of courses offered are required in the areas of speech, communication and hearing; students have limited options for electives. Coursework emphasizes the physical sciences, speech pathology prevention, rehabilitation techniques and research methodology.
This class teaches students about pathologies related to acquiring and utilizing linguistic abilities. Students learn about developmental issues in children and disorders affecting adults.
Students learn the scientific aspects of hearing. This course covers the technology and methods used to assess patients' hearing ability and improve hearing issues.
This course covers the causes, development and treatment of stuttering. Students learn the theoretical bases of stuttering intervention methods.
Pathologies affecting patients' ability to speak are explored. Topics include the causes of vocal trauma, the physiology and neurology of human speech, and therapeutic techniques.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) predicts job growth of 21% between 2014 and 2024 for speech language pathologists. During that decade, the BLS states that there should be especially good job prospects for speech language pathologists who work with aging patients. Median yearly earnings in the profession were $73,410 in May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Online M.S. program graduates usually need to earn a state license before they can work as speech language pathologists. Most states require people to pass a written exam and complete a supervised clinical internship. Speech pathologists often need to take continuing education courses to renew their license.
Speech-language pathologists can also earn a professional certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Master's degree programs in speech pathology can be completed almost entirely online; coursework is usually online, with on-campus residencies and practicums sometimes required. Through these programs, students learn to identify and treat various speech and language disorders.