Speech pathology master's degree programs build on basic speech and communication theories. Drawing from coursework in biology, anatomy and speech processes, courses in a master's degree program elaborate on speech disorder origins and the biological and emotional effects of those disorders. Courses also teach students to effectively communicate with patients and provide quality speech rehabilitation services.
Applicants to a master's degree program in speech pathology must have a bachelor's degree and have completed phonetic or audiology coursework. Students enrolled in a master's degree program are prepared for professional work through clinical experiences and internships, working directly with mentors and patients in areas of auditory and speech disorders.
Master of Science in Speech Pathology
In addition to medical knowledge, coursework in a speech pathology master's degree program develops essential qualities, such as analytical and communicative competence. Some typical classes include:
- Diagnosing disorders
- Speech anatomy
- Phonology and cognition
- Research methods
- Speech rehabilitation
- Phonological disorders
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were around 135,400 speech and language pathologists practicing nationally in 2014. According to the BLS, jobs in the field of speech and language pathology are expected to grow by 21% between 2014-2024. Speech and language pathologists earned a median annual salary of $73,410 as of May 2015, with the highest median salaries belonging to speech pathologists working in nursing and residential care facilities, followed by those employed in private, local and state hospitals.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
After obtaining a master's degree in speech pathology, students can become licensed. According to the BLS, most states require speech pathologists to be licensed before gaining employment. Typically, individuals must pass a speech pathology exam, in addition to meeting education and clinical experience requirements, before they are eligible for licensure. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association offers certification for professionals who meet academic and experiential requirements. A student can continue to study at the doctoral level by enrolling in a Ph.D. program in speech pathology, audiology, hearing science or a combination of similar disciplines.
Students in speech pathology master's degree programs are exposed to different speech disorders and treatments through clinical internships. Graduates are equipped with the skills, knowledge and experience generally required for obtaining state licensure.