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Speech Pathology Masters Degree Programs

Master's degree programs in speech pathology prepare students for licensure, certification and careers as speech-language pathologists. Details are ahead on the coursework of these programs and prerequisites, as well as information on salary and employment projections.

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Essential Information

A Master of Science in Speech Pathology program can prepare students to become fully licensed and practicing speech pathologists. One of the admissions requirements is having a bachelor's degree, though not particularly in speech pathology. Throughout an M.S. in Speech Pathology program, students can gain foundational knowledge in communication, cognition, evaluation and treatment in areas related to speech disorders. They also can prepare for professional work through clinical experiences, working directly with mentors and patients in areas of auditory and speech disorders. Graduates will likely need to secure licensure, as most state require it. Alternatively, certification is voluntary.

Educational Prerequisites

To enroll in a speech pathology master's degree program, a student must already have earned a bachelor's degree, though not necessarily in speech pathology. Some programs require that students have previously taken specific courses, such as studies in phonetics or audiology. Students typically are required to submit official transcripts, personal statements and GRE test scores for evaluation.

Program Coursework

A master's degree program in speech pathology may include courses on biology, anatomy and speech processes. Building on basic speech and communication theories, programs can provide advanced coursework on speech disorder origins, as well as biological and emotional effects. Courses can teach students to effectively communicate with patients and provide quality speech rehabilitation services. Common courses include:

  • Audiology
  • Diagnosing disorders
  • Speech anatomy
  • Phonology and cognition
  • Research methods
  • Speech rehabilitation
  • Phonological disorders
  • Dysphagia

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were more than 100,000 speech and language pathologists practicing nationally in 2008 (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, jobs in speech pathology are expected to grow by 19% in the period 2008-2018.

Speech and language pathologists earned a median annual salary of $66,920 in 2010. The highest median salaries belonged to speech pathologists working in nursing care centers, followed by pathologists in health care offices and hospitals. Speech pathologists in secondary and elementary schools earned an average salary of $64,310 in 2010. Despite offering lower salaries, schools and educational centers employed more speech pathologists than any other sector.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

After obtaining a master's degree in speech pathology, students can become licensed. As of 2009, 47 U.S. states required licensure, according to the BLS. Individuals typically must pass a speech pathology exam, in addition to meeting education and clinical experience requirements, before they're eligible for licensure. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association offers certification for professionals who meet academic and experiential requirements. A student could continue to study at the doctoral level by enrolling in a Ph.D. program in speech pathology, audiology, hearing science or a combination of similar disciplines.

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