Online Speech Therapy Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

There are several online speech therapy schools that offer a couple of different degree options for students. Learn more about the school and degree options, as well as a few of the things to consider when choosing a program.

How to Select an Online Speech Therapy School

Speech therapists, also known as speech-language pathologists, work with patients to treat speaking disorders or improve the quality and clarity of speech. Speech therapy degrees are not generally available at the undergraduate level due to licensing requirements. To become licensed as a speech therapist, graduates must complete a preparatory degree, such as an undergraduate pre-professional speech pathology or communication science program, in order to gain admittance into a master's degree program, which is mandatory for working in the field. Various universities and online colleges offer programs.

Degree Possibilities and Career Requirements

An undergraduate in communication science is the typical degree required to apply to a master's degree program. Those who don't have this degree can enroll in a pre-professional speech pathology program, an accelerated program designed for individuals with a bachelor's degree in another area. Both master's degree programs and pre-professional speech pathology programs are available that have online components.

Program Format

Even in an online degree program, some clinical requirements must be completed either on campus or at a nearby clinic. Additionally, the formatting of the educational program differs from program to program. Some programs require students to attend real-time class sessions, as well turn in assignments and tests on a regular basis. Other programs are designed for more flexible schedules, requiring assignments and tests to be turned in on a given due date; however, students can complete work and communicate with peers around their individual schedules.

Online Program Options for Speech Therapy

Online Pre-Professional Program in Speech Pathology

Pre-professional programs for speech pathology are accelerated programs that provide an individual from another discipline with the knowledge needed to enter into a master's degree program. Online coursework includes simulated lab activities and videotaped dissections. Students complete courses in:

  • Hearing impairment
  • Vocal mechanism physiology
  • Phonology
  • Phonetics

Online Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology

Master's degree programs in speech-language pathology provide students with the education requirements needed for licensure as a speech therapist. Programs can take up to three years worth of full time study to complete. In addition to online coursework, students must also fulfill clinical practicums to gain hands-on experience working with evaluating and diagnosing language disorders. Students typically have online access to library databases for research-related activities. Common course requirements include:

  • Phonetics
  • Physiology
  • Language disorders

Schools With Online Programs in Speech Therapy

Northwestern University has an online pre-speech pathology program that consists of five courses meant to prepare post-baccalaureate students for a master's program. The courses cover topics in audiology, phonetics, language development and more.

Idaho State University also offers an online pre-professional program, as well as an online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. The pre-professional program takes three semesters to complete while the master's program is a 36 month program. The master's program does require two on-campus practicums during the summer, as well as a practicum near the student's home.

James Madison University has an online master's degree program in speech-language pathology that can be completed in three years. Students will have a clinical placement that they may have to adjust for. The program follows a cohort model, allowing students to progress with a specific group of peers.

Online pre-professional and master's degree programs in speech therapy are available from several different institutions in the United States. Students should consider on-campus clinical requirements, career goals and more when choosing a program.

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