A master's degree is the minimum degree required to become a speech pathologist; however, some schools also offer undergraduate programs in fields related to speech pathology. Research-based PhD programs are available as well.
Some of the top schools for speech pathology include the University of Wisconsin - Madison, the University of Washington - Seattle, and Arizona State University. These universities offer both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the field. Each school was also nationally ranked for its graduate-level speech pathology programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.
University of Wisconsin - Madison
In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Wisconsin - Madison tied for 3rd among the best speech pathology graduate schools in the nation. Its Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology is a clinical degree program that prepares students for speech pathology practice or doctoral study. Students learn how to diagnose and treat communication abnormalities, including traumatic, cognitive, and swallowing disorders.
Students interested in pursuing doctoral work in speech language pathology can apply to the university's Master of Science in Normal Aspects of Speech, Language, and Hearing program, a non-clinical degree that serves as a foundation for those wishing to go on to Doctor of Philosophy programs. The school also offers two bachelor's degrees in communicative disorders through its College of Letters & Science and School of Education.
University of Washington - Seattle
U.S. News & World Report ranked the graduate speech pathology programs at the University of Washington in Seattle as tied for 3rd in 2016. This school offers a Bachelor of Science and two Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology programs. The two master's degree programs include one that prepares students to work in medical settings like hospitals and rehab centers, and one that focuses on training students for clinical practice in schools, community, clinics, and private practice. Students pursuing the latter option are required to gain clinical experience through a part-time pre-internship and a full time internship, both at community facilities.
Faculty members in the University of Washington's Speech and Hearing Sciences department focus on a number of specialized research areas under three general categories: hearing science and audiology, language science and disorders, and speech science and disorders.
Arizona State University in Tempe
In 2016, Arizona State University was tied for 17th on U.S. News & World Report's list of the top speech pathology graduate programs. Its department of speech and hearing science offers several programs that are relevant for students interested in studying speech pathology. At the undergraduate level, students can pursue a bachelor of science or a minor in speech and hearing science. The department also offers a speech-language pathology assistant certificate for bachelor's degree program graduates and currently-enrolled students who want to prepare for licensure as assistants.
Additionally, American Sign Language training is available to students interested in supplementing their degree program while also meeting the university's foreign language requirement. At the graduate level, students can earn a Master of Science in Communication Disorders, which prepares students for speech-language pathologist certification, or a Doctor of Philosophy in Speech and Hearing Science, which prepares students for research careers in the field.
Top Speech Pathology Programs
These schools also offer great speech pathology programs:
|Florida State University||Tallahassee, FL||Students can gain experience by working at the school's annual summer speech and hearing communication camp|
|Indiana University - Bloomington||Bloomington, IN||Offers a bilingual (Spanish-English) track in its Speech-Language Pathology master's degree program|
|Purdue University||West Lafayette, IN||Offers a study abroad program in Zambia to undergraduate and graduate hearing and speech students|
|The University of Texas at Austin||Austin, TX||Reported a 96% pass rate on the speech language pathology Praxis exam for program graduates during the 2014-2015 academic year|
|University of Florida||Gainesville, FL||The Department of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences supports seven research labs|
|University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign||Champaign, IL||From 2011-2014, the university reported a 100% Praxis exam pass rate and a 100% employment rate for graduates of its Master of Arts in Speech Language Pathology program|
|University of Iowa||Iowa City, IA||Tied for 1st on U.S. News & World Report's list of top speech-language pathology programs in 2016|
|University of Kansas||Lawrence, KS||Speech-language programs are administered through an inter-campus collaboration between the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City and the main campus in Lawrence|
|University of Maryland - College Park||College Park, MD||Students can work in an on-campus preschool known as the Language-Learning Early-Advantage Program|
Whether students want to become speech pathologists, assistants, or academic researchers, there are top-ranked schools with relevant educational offerings in this field.