Speech pathology is the study and treatment of communication, language and speech disorders. Speech pathology programs focus on the neurological, biological and physical causes and effects of speech disorders, learned through both coursework and practical experience such as internships and field experience. A bachelor's program in speech pathology prepares students for graduate work at the master's degree level, which is required for licensure and employment in speech pathology.
Bachelor's Degree in Speech Pathology
Bachelor's degree programs in speech pathology include anatomy and biology courses, communication science courses and basic medical courses relevant to speech and vocal anatomy. Through internships and speech pathology clinical experiences, students also learn to treat and communicate with patients. Common courses include:
- Speech perception
- Speech and language disorders
- Communication sciences
- Advanced educational audiology
- Human language development
Licensing and Continuing Education Information
Becoming a practicing speech-language pathologist requires a master's degree in speech pathology and a license. The Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology has a database of accredited speech pathology graduate degree programs. Though licensing requirements vary from state to state, students must pass a speech pathology exam administered by the Praxis Series of the Educational Testing Service before obtaining licensure. Students may also be required to have a minimum amount of supervised clinical experience.
Employment Outlook and Career Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), there were approximately 135,400 speech-language pathologists in 2014. Almost half of all speech-language pathologists worked in elementary and secondary schools. Speech-language pathology is expected to grow at an occupational rate of 21% between 2014-2024.
The average annual salary for speech-language pathologists in May 2015 was $76,900, as reported by the BLS. Speech-language pathologists working in home health care services earned the highest salaries within the career, with an average annual wage of $97,410 in 2015, according to the BLS.
Students who would like to learn more about speech pathology can obtain a bachelor's in speech pathology. Students who want to be a speech pathologist must go for a master's in speech pathology though.