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Specialized Degree: Healthcare

What to Know if You’re Considering a Speech-Language Pathology Degree

December 2021

The ability to communicate is arguably the most effective tool that most living creatures possess. It comes in many forms such as verbal, vocal, visual, body language and, in the human world, technological and artistic. It’s an integral part of any social ecosystem for all creatures from insects to humans, and when that communication process is disrupted or impaired, the system is affected. If a person has impaired communication issues, it can be frustrating for both the person and those they are trying to communicate with.

A rewarding career

This is where speech-language pathologists, or speech therapists, as they are sometimes referred to, come in. Children and adults who have cognitive issues, social communication issues, or swallowing issues from stroke, trauma or cleft palates are primarily the types of patients these professionals work with. It can be a rewarding career. Depending on the population you want to work with, there are numerous environments in which to pursue your career. Private practice, hospitals, nursing homes and schools are some of the places where speech-language pathologists are highly needed. With a median pay of $80,480 and a projected 25% growth rate through 2029 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), it’s no wonder that a master’s degree in speech-language pathology is on the rise; however, if this is a career you are considering, it’s important to be aware of a few things.

Education matters

A master’s degree is required to work as a speech-language pathologist, and while there are no required undergrad majors to pursue a graduate degree, there are prerequisites that must be fulfilled. If you know that this is your field of choice in undergrad, a bachelor’s degree in communications sciences disorders is recommended, though not required. If you’re returning to school after being in the workforce or have an unrelated bachelor’s degree, you may need to take a few courses before applying to speech-language pathology (SLP) graduate programs. Program recruiters at the institutions you are exploring can help you with the specific requirements needed.

Proper accreditations

When searching for a master’s program in SLP, it’s important to make sure that the school is accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, which is part of The Council on Academic Accreditation. Your program’s accreditation will be required for certification and usually for state licensure. Being well informed about the requirements and skills needed to become a speech-language pathologist is key to your success in being accepted to a master’s program and working in this growing field.

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