Graduates of of an associate's degree program in speech pathology may be prepared to work as speech-language pathology assistants (SLPA's). Through the study of phonetics, speech disorders, language therapy and more, they learn to screen children and adults and implement therapy plans in clinical practicums, as directed by the supervising pathologist. Common communication issues addressed include articulation, comprehension, hearing and stuttering. Programs take approximately 2 years to complete and students should have a high school diploma along with SAT or ACT results to qualify for admission.
After completing an associate's degree, students can begin working or go on to pursue bachelor's and master's degrees in the subject.
Associate's Degree in Speech Pathology
Applicants to an associate's degree program in speech-language pathology generally enroll at a community college or technical school. The curriculum within a speech-language pathology associate's degree program includes general education coursework, professional coursework and a clinical practicum, which includes observation and fieldwork. Classes may include the following topics:
- Human development
- Voice and diction
- Communication disorders
- American Sign Language
Career Outlook and Salary Info
Healthcare support workers who assist speech-language pathologists might work in a wide range of locales, including schools, medical offices and hospitals. The employment of speech-language pathologists was expected to grow by 27% between the years of 2018 and 2028, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to the BLS, the average salary for a healthcare support worker was $37,830 in 2018.
Baccalaureate and master's degree programs in speech-language pathology are readily available; according to the BLS, a master's degree is the standard set by most states to achieve professional licensure. Upon completion of a master's degree, students are eligible for the national certifying examination and licensure as a speech-language pathologist.
For students with an interest in speech pathology, pursuing an associate's degree in the field may be the right choice. Graduates can immediately find jobs if they wish or continue going to school to receive more advanced degrees.