Earning a Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology
By Jessica Lewandoski, May 2014
1. Evidenced Based Practices
As you take many of your classes that are based on articulation, language, and developmental disorders, you are likely to learn the importance of using evidenced based practices in your therapy sessions.
These classes may help teach you how to research the latest evidence and where to look for reputable sources. Once you start your clinical experience, you’ll likely learn how to bridge the research you have gathered into your therapy sessions. Many sessions you plan are likely to be based on current research in the field as you incorporate the strategies that have evidence that supports their efficacy into your sessions.
In some of your courses you are likely to be required to work in a group in order to complete assignments or conduct research. This is a valuable tool for your future career as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). This is an important time to learn from others and understand their perspectives on various topics in the field.
Why is this so important? As an SLP, you are likely to be collaborating with others on a daily basis. No matter which setting you choose to work in during your career as an SLP, you may find that you need to collaborate.
Communication with parents is necessary in order to have children excel at home. Speaking with other providers such as psychologists, social workers, medical doctors, occupational therapists, and physical therapists may help you to understand your clients’ strengths and weaknesses. This, in turn, might help assist you in providing the best services possible for all of your clients.
3. Time Management
You have two papers due next week and on top of that, three midterms to study for. Does this sound familiar to you?
Once you start your job as an SLP you are likely to have to manage your time for evaluations, data collection, record keeping, collaboration, and lesson planning. Graduate school is a terrific time to learn how you work under pressure and teach yourself the strategies that will help you succeed in your future practice as an SLP.
4. Public Speaking
Whenever your teacher asks you to present in front of your classroom it can be a nerve wrecking experience. Take this time to learn how and get used to speaking in front of others.
As an SLP you may find that you are asked to attend meetings with groups of professionals, family members of your clients, and you might even be asked to provide professional development training to your colleagues. Having the opportunity to practice for this during graduate school might help you to feel comfortable in front of a crowd. It’s a great time to learn what calms you, like taking deep breaths or practicing at home beforehand. Everyone has his or her own comfort level in front of crowds, but this is the time you get to practice, no matter how comfortable or uncomfortable you currently feel.
5. How to Choose the Proper Evaluation Tool for your Clients
During graduate school you start learning how to use various evaluation batteries. You are likely to learn what questions to ask and which testing batteries are available for SLPs. There are so many evaluations on the market and knowing the right questions to ask your clients or their family members may be a useful tool to help you to find your client’s strengths and weaknesses. There is no “one size fits” all assessment, so being knowledgeable of what is out there might be an asset and may assist in time management.
About the Author: Jessica Lewandoski,MS, CCC-SLP is a certified speech pathologist living in New York State.