Individuals who wish to pursue careers working with clients on issues concerning communication or swallowing disorders might consider earning a master's degree in speech and language pathology. While undergraduate degrees are available in this field, a master's degree is the standard for licensure in most states. Those who hold this undergraduate degree might consider an accelerated program, in order to gain entry into the field sooner.
Accelerated Master of Speech Pathology Admissions
Typically, accelerated master's degree programs in speech pathology are designed for students who are pursuing a bachelor's degree in this field of study and will continue at their university for a fifth year of study. Other programs may be available for those who have completed the bachelor's degree and wish to seek a master's. Applicants will typically be required to submit transcripts, recommendations, a personal statement, and a resume. The completion of specific undergraduate courses may be required, as well.
Students enrolled in an accelerated speech pathology master's program will be expected to be engaged in a range of learning activities. The program is typically completed in a year to a year and a half. Coursework will cover core and elective areas of study. Students may also be required to maintain a portfolio, pass comprehensive examinations, and complete a research project. Clinics and externships can provide opportunities for hands-on practice. Some academic courses to which a student may be exposed during their speech pathology graduate program include:
Evaluation and Assessment of Speech and Language Disorders
In the context of an evaluation course, students may gain a framework for how to evaluate clients for speech and language disorders. They may learn how to administer, score, and interpret assessments and other measures. The practical skill of writing an assessment might be reviewed as well.
Multicultural Speech and Language Practice
A course of this nature may provide practitioners with an introduction to how culture can influence the provision of speech therapy services. Considerations of bilingualism and linguistic variations may be touched upon. In addition, students may consider how health and educational disparities affect the provision of this type of care.
Speech pathologists may focus on disorders of the voice. This kind of course might review normal vocal development as well as pathologies of the voice. Considerations in diagnosing, treating, and managing disorders could be provided.
Those practicing speech pathology may work with clients who are non-vocal. This course could provide both academic theory and hands-on experience in designing aided and unaided systems for alternative communication. The incorporation of technology into a communication system might be reviewed.
Swallowing disorders, or dysphagia, may be a cause for seeking the services of a speech pathologist. A course of this nature might consider normal swallowing development, as well as swallowing disorders. The diagnosis and treatment of dysphagia in children and adults is often covered.
A course in research may introduce students to the methods utilized to study communication disorders. Students may review current literature to understand modern studies in speech pathology. They might then learn how to interpret qualitative and quantitative data and present such data to a relevant audience. A research project is likely to be a component of this course.
Individuals holding a bachelor's degree in speech and language pathology might seek an accelerated degree. Courses, independent research, and client-facing experiences are likely to be crucial components of such a program.