Students seeking a bachelor's degree program in speech therapy could enroll in Bachelor of Science programs in speech-language pathology or communication disorders. The science-based degree field involves mastering concepts of speech and hearing anatomy, speech production and control, language psychology and sound history.
These 4-year programs are often designed as preparatory training for master's and doctoral programs, though some provide career-focused training for those seeking to become speech therapy assistants. There are also a number of schools that offer this degree program online for students who have earned or are currently earning an associate's or bachelor's degree.
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Bachelor's Degree in Speech Therapy
Throughout a speech therapy bachelor's degree program, students are trained through a combination of theory-based courses, laboratory research and clinical experiences. Though specific prerequisites vary by program, useful high school coursework includes the natural sciences, foreign languages and English. Courses in the bachelor's degree program may include the following subjects:
- Anatomy and physiology of hearing
- Speech-language pathology
- Language development
- Speech disorders
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates of a speech therapy bachelor's degree program are prepared for assistant careers or to enroll in master's degree programs to become speech-language pathologists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), around 135,400 speech-language pathologists were employed in 2014 (www.bls.gov). Between 2014 and 2024, this number was expected to grow 21% due to rising needs among many key population segments. These include premature infants who are surviving at a higher rate and baby boomers who are reaching advanced ages. The BLS reported that the median annual wage was $73,410 for speech-language pathologists in May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Most states require speech therapists to be licensed. Requirements vary by state, with some states requiring completion of a master's degree and most states requiring an acceptable score on the speech-language pathology national exam, which is administered by the Educational Testing Service's Praxis Series. In pursuit of licensure, as well as many career opportunities, individuals often pursue a master's degree in speech therapy. Ph.D. programs are also common and allow students to develop advanced skills in speech and language science.
Pursuing a bachelor's degree related to speech therapy gives students the opportunity to focus their studies on speech-language pathology or communications disorders. Upon graduation, students often choose to pursue graduate degrees and seek licensure, as most states will require a license to practice as speech therapists.