A master's degree in speech-language pathology is typically the minimum academic requirement for professional speech therapist licensure. Students in these programs learn how to assess and treat swallowing, speech, voice, language and literacy disorders in all age groups. Students also gain experience by working in language and auditory labs as well as completing a supervised externship. Programs may offer concentrations like child intervention or neurological disorders.
Students will usually need at least a bachelor's degree in order to apply, as well as GRE scores, recommendation letters, and a statement of purpose. Many programs also require supervised externships.
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Master's Degree in Speech Pathology
The curriculum provides students with courses in the scientific theories, diagnostic tools and treatments found in speech and language pathology. Coursework will allow the student to explore classroom-based theories in articulation, phonology and fluency, and examine the cognitive and developmental differences found in impaired patients. Curriculum also provides students with practical experience working in language and auditory labs and through externships. Programs may also feature concentrations in child intervention or neurological disorders. Common courses include:
- Motor development and learning
- Acoustic phonetics/Auditory phonetics
- Language and cognition
- Developmental neuromotor disorders
- Craniofacial disorders
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Speech-language pathologists are qualified for positions in healthcare, private practice and schools. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 21% growth for speech-language pathologists over 2014-2024. The projected growth is expected to come from the development of hearing losses or occurrences of strokes in older adults, as well as the increased employment of speech-language pathologists in elementary and secondary schools. The BLS also reported an average annual salary of $76,900 in 2015.
Licensure and Continuing Education Information
Careers in speech-language pathology typical require graduates to obtain professional licensing. Licensing requirements vary by state but typically include a master's degree, supervised clinical experience and passing a national exam. Graduates may also receive professional certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Master's program graduates seeking advanced clinical and research expertise may choose to enter into a doctorate program in speech-language pathology.
Students enrolled in a master's program in speech-language pathology will learn essential scientific principles, diagnostic tools and medical treatments needed for diagnosing and treating different types of speech disorders. These programs will provide students with necessary qualifications to pursue a career as a speech-language pathologist.