Graduate Programs in Speech Language Pathology

Students will be well prepared for careers in educational and medical settings to help people with speech difficulties by obtaining a graduate degree in speech-language pathology. Get details on the courses you'll take, licensing, career outlook, and salary stats.

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Essential Information

Available at the master's and doctoral levels, these programs teach students how to diagnose and treat issues involving speaking, swallowing and the cognitive aspects of language. To enroll in a master's program, you must have a bachelor's degree in a related field. For doctoral programs, you must have a master's degree in a related field. Some schools combine master's and doctoral degree programs. Clinical work is required for both types of degree programs.


Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology

Master's degree programs in speech-language pathology prepare individuals to work in clinical, medical and educational settings with a variety of patients. Students gain a fundamental knowledge of how to assess and treat language, speech and other communication disorders.

The coursework for master's degree programs in speech-language pathology focuses on assessment and intervention theories and techniques for a variety of patients that ranges from children to the elderly. Students have the opportunity to gain clinical experience after completing their first year. The following courses are often required:

  • Diagnosing language disorders
  • Motor development in children
  • Phonetics
  • Dysphagia
  • Stuttering

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Doctoral Degree in Speech-Language Pathology

Doctoral degree programs in speech-language pathology are designed for people interested in taking leadership roles or advanced research positions in the field. Students can often work with an academic advisor to design their own curricula, focusing on classes relevant to their preferred specialty. Most programs provide students with the opportunity to complete original faculty-supervised research in the field.

Speech-pathology doctoral program students are often afforded a great deal of freedom in the courses they take. Programs require students to complete dissertation projects in their area of specialization demonstrating their ability to conduct original research. The topics below are usually covered:

  • Neuropsychology of language
  • Speech pathology research design
  • Statistics in speech pathology
  • Communication disorders
  • Physiological causes of speech disorders

Career Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for speech-language pathologists was $73,410 in 2015. The BLS also reported that job growth for speech-language pathologists is expected to be about 21% between 2014 and 2024.

Speech-language pathologists can work their way to leadership and management positions. The BLS listed that the top 10% earned $114,840 and upwards in 2015.

Continuing Education Information

Nearly every state has unique qualifications that speech-language pathologists must meet to earn a license. Most states require speech-language pathologists to have at least a master's degree, pass a written exam, and complete several hundred hours of supervised experience in clinical settings.

People who hold a doctorate in speech-language pathology are subject to the same licensure requirements as those who have a master's degree in the field. Some states allow speech-language pathologists to obtain recognition in certain specialties, such as learning disabilities or swallowing disorders.

Speech-language pathologists have to earn a minimum of a master's degree to practice, but some choose to get a doctorate degree for career advancement. Upon completing their education, speech-language pathologists should have numerous opportunities for work since this field has job growth that is faster than average.

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