Several schools offer online master's degree programs in speech-language pathology. Some programs offer all courses online, while others combine online and on-campus instruction. Students may be able to access archived lessons and view them at any time or they may be required to log on for interactive class sessions at specific times. Internships or extensive clinical experience are required; therefore, the program cannot be completed entirely online.
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree. If that degree is not is speech pathology or a related field, they must complete prerequisite courses before beginning the master's program. The courses and clinical practica can be completed in about three years. Students may be able to choose a specialization such as working with individuals with cochlear implants.
When choosing a program, students should ensure that it is accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. All states require that speech-language pathologists be licensed, and graduation from an accredited master's degree programs is one of the requirements.
Speech-Language Pathology Master's Degree
An online master's degree program in speech-language pathology provides students with an education in audiology, language development and language and hearing disorders. Some schools require students to have a bachelor's degree in speech pathology or a related area such as communication sciences, while others accept a bachelor's degree in any discipline. A graduate degree program in speech-language pathology commonly results in a Master of Science or Master of Speech Pathology. In some cases, students might obtain a Master of Communication Disorders.
Program Information and Requirements
Online graduate degree programs in speech-language pathology may be entirely online, or hybrid programs with both live and distance education classes. Students may be required to attend rotations and internships at local clinics. Classes can be Web-based or offered through an interactive audio-video or teleconferencing system.
Common Speech-Language Pathology Courses
Foundational coursework in an online master's degree program in speech-language pathology covers anatomy and physiology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, ethics and brain injuries in addition to specific speech and language courses. Most online programs include a clinical internship completed on-site.
Introductory and advanced courses address the evaluation and treatment of speech and language impairments, particularly in young children. Language diversity, language disorder classifications and autism might be discussed.
Hearing and Speech Science
Acoustics, speech production, articulation and resonation are likely to be discussed in hearing and speech science courses. Auditory and speech mechanism anatomies and nervous systems might also be examined.
Language development classes generally focus on language components, learning theories and normal development. Cognitive and sociological issues impacting language are also studied.
Hearing loss and therapies used to overcome hearing loss are the main focuses in aural rehabilitation courses. Hearing aid technologies, conserving hearing and deafness are also addressed.
Graduates can work as speech-language pathologists in medical settings, private offices or schools. Job growth in speech language pathology was expected to be 21% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median yearly salary for speech language pathologists was $73,410 in 2015, the BLS reported.
Continuing Education Information
Nearly all states require that speech-language pathologists obtain licensure, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association provides certification. While voluntary, certification can satisfy licensure requirements in some states. Continuing education requirements apply to both license and certification renewal in many states.
Graduates might also pursue a doctoral degree in speech-language pathology, which are not typically conducted online.
Those pursuing licensure and seeking a master's in speech-language pathology may find online or hybrid master's programs to be their next step after earning a bachelor's degree. Along with clinial experiences, these programs offer online courses in language disorders, the science of hearing and speech, language development and aural rehabilitation.