Speech Pathology Graduate Schools and Universities in the U.S.
Speech pathology is the study of language disorders. Those seeking advanced training can find programs in this field at many graduate schools in the United States.
How to Select a Speech Pathology Graduate School
First, prospective students should know what level and field of study they're pursuing. The minimum educational requirement to work as a speech pathologist is a master's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Graduate schools typically award the Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology. However, double-majors with coursework in audiology or related fields are also available.
Another important item to consider when choosing a speech pathology graduate school is the clinical portion of the curriculum. Prospective students should look for plentiful opportunities to gain clinical experience with patients. Then they have the opportunity to work under the guidance of experienced and certified speech pathologists prior to entering the workforce.
One helpful resource is the website for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). It allows potential students to search through all available speech pathology programs in the nation. They can narrow their search by part-time or distance-learning study options, program type, location, financial assistance, accreditation status and more.
Master's degree programs in speech pathology prepare graduates to obtain certification or licensure in speech pathology. When choosing a school for speech pathology, students may want to consider schools that hold accreditation through the Council on Academic Accreditation, because it's necessary to obtain a license in some states. Individuals may also want to pursue voluntary Certificate of Clinical Competence certification through ASHA. It is a national credential that can help graduates gain employment opportunities.
Those with a master's degree can seek work at hospitals, schools, universities and government agencies. Aspiring speech pathologists may want to choose a school with career placement support or internship partnerships that have a high rate of post-graduation employment from within the school's ranks of alumni.
Speech-Language Pathology Program Overview
M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology
Students learn to assist individuals with speech, language, cognitive and hearing disorders. Although programs prefer to enroll those with a bachelor's degree in speech pathology, they may accept those with 4-year degrees in other disciplines who satisfy additional prerequisites. Program length varies from 40-60 credit hours; both a written thesis and comprehensive exam is necessary to successfully complete the program. Courses include:
- Aural rehabilitation
- Early language development
- Principles of intervention
- Later language development
M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology
Schools that offer the Master of Science program require the same coursework as those with the Master of Arts program, but without the thesis requirement. Non-thesis students select a specific elective to replace the thesis, and must receive department approval. They must still complete a comprehensive exam.
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