Speech pathology graduate programs are available at the master’s, doctorate and certificate levels. In order to become a speech language pathologist (SLP), sometimes also called a speech therapist, students must hold a bachelor’s degree, usually in communication sciences. Speech language pathology is the study of speech and language disorders that can occur in both adults and children. SLPs examine these disorders and help in the diagnosis and treatment of speech and language problems. Speech therapists study best practices effective treatment plans and use vocal exercises and top cognitive therapies to improve the communication skills among the patients.
Speech Pathology Graduate Programs & Therapy
Speech language pathology (SLP) graduate programs are generally concerned with therapy. Classes may look at identifying disorders and providing treatment. The goal is to help a patient or client function independently in a healthy way. Graduate speech pathology programs may be more theoretical in nature and focus on developing expertise regarding systems and conditions. Programs that prepare students and train speech pathologists might also cover treatment models, research, and related topics.
Types of Speech Pathology Graduate Programs
Graduate speech pathologist programs might issue a few different degrees. The type of degree you’re working toward could in some cases significantly impact the nature of the program and the prerequisites. Some programs might tend to be designed for students with little to no speech and language pathology experience. Meanwhile, more advanced speech pathology degrees might require an educational and professional SLP background.
Masters in Speech Pathology Programs
Many Speech Pathology Masters programs build their curricula to help students become credentialed to practice as a speech language pathologist. That’s because a masters degree is often a prerequisite for obtaining those credentials. However, different types of speech language pathology roles may have different professional requirements. This could impact the courses offered. For example, a masters program focused on speech language pathology in an educational setting might be somewhat different from one that is more clinically focused. If you’re looking for a speech language pathology master program to work toward licensure, make sure you review the specific requirements in your state.
Doctorate Speech Pathology Programs
Speech Language Pathology Doctorate Programs may offer a wide variety of speech pathology degrees. Your professional goal could have an impact on the type of SLP doctoral program you choose to attend. Generally, PhD in speech pathology programs are research-oriented or academic. They involve a dissertation and may prepare students for academic roles. However a variety of clinical doctorates may also be available. This could include AuD (Doctor of Audiology) and Doctor of Clinical Science (CScD) degrees, among others. Contact speech pathology schools to learn more.
Graduate Certificates in Speech Language Pathology
Graduate Certificates in Speech and Language Pathology programs often have fewer required courses than degrees. As a result, they might focus in-depth on a specific topic, rather than surveying the whole field. Earning a graduate certificate in speech pathology could be one way for somebody in the field to expand expertise in a new area. It could also be one avenue for people in related fields to learn more about relevant aspects of speech pathology. Keep in mind that individual programs within each of these categories may vary from what is described here. Some full time program options might also not be listed here. For more information, get in touch with your selected school or program.
Professional insight into Speech Pathology
“I would tell prospective students entering the field of speech pathology: if you truly want to help people it is one of the best careers you can have. My career as a speech-language pathologist has given me passion and purpose every day when I go to work. The relationships I have built with my patients over the years are the greatest of treasures to me. To watch the children and the families I work with grow while knowing I played a small part is what makes my work so purposeful.” – Ginger Geldreich Jones, M.A., CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert AVT Speech-Language Pathologist, Certified Auditory Verbal Therapist, Founder, CEO, Jones Therapy Services, LLCClick To Tweet!
Graduate Speech Pathology Program Formats
Speech pathology graduate programs could be available in a variety of formats. So no matter what your preferred schedule or mode of learning, you might find a program that fits. Each one might have unique advantages when it comes to your education and lifestyle.
Online Graduate Speech Pathology Programs: This option could be appealing if you need something flexible. Online speech pathology graduate programs may allow you to access your courses and materials on the go, on your schedule. And since you wouldn’t need to commute, you could choose a program that focuses on what you want. Many programs mirror the classroom with resources like message boards, video and digital libraries. Contact preferred programs to learn more about what they might offer.
Graduate SLP Schools: Prefer to learn face-to-face? In speech pathology schools, you could learn in the classroom, while having access to the valuable resources of a physical campus. You could take advantage of lab space and get hands-on experience. And a campus based program might be anchored in the community. That could potentially impact your opportunity for internships or clinical experience. It might even be a perk in your job search once you earn a speech pathology degree.
Speech Pathology Terms To Know
Speech language pathology is a broad discipline in itself. So it’s no wonder that graduate speech pathology programs could be equally diverse. Many programs may survey speech language pathology as a whole, building a generalized expertise. Others may instead focus primarily on one area of responsibility. It is also important to note that speech pathologists are often referred to as speech therapists. That is why sometimes you may hear the term speech therapist degree. Here are some other important terms you might come across when you’re reading about these programs. This may help you better understand what each program and course might entail, and choose one that works for you.
Cognition: In a basic sense, this term refers to processes related to thinking. In speech language pathology, cognition has to do with the mental aspects of communicating and understanding others. This could include organization of thoughts, memory, reasoning, and executive functions.
Phonation: This refers to the physical function of producing sound, and the systems that enable that to happen. In a speech pathology graduate program, it might also be used to refer to voice disorders.
Articulation: This means the physical action of pronouncing words and sounds. A relatively common example of this is when young children have difficulty pronouncing an American “R” sound. Sometimes articulation problems are the result of voice disorders. However, these issues could also arrive from differences in a person’s first language.
Phonology: This concept is similar to and sometimes confused with articulation. The difference is subtle. While articulation refers to the physical act of making the sounds that comprise a language, phonology refers to the brain’s process of organizing those sounds into contrasting patterns so that words can be understandable.
Morphology: In SLP, as in linguistics, this has to do with understanding the meanings of different parts of words and phrases. In other words, understanding how an individual prefix, root word, and suffix could come together to communicate something new. Morphology has to do with the cognitive aspects of communication.
Language Processing: This somewhat broad term refers to how the brain perceives, understands, and uses language. It could include how the brain processes auditory speech and perceives meaning. It could also refer to the opposite—how the brain constructs language to communicate, orally or otherwise, to others.
Speech Language Pathology Career Info
As a speech language pathologists, or speech therapist, you may may work in a variety of settings. This could range from hospitals to schools to local clinics. Speech pathologists are generally responsible for diagnosing and treating communication and swallowing disorders. The typical entry-level education for speech-language pathologists is a masters in speech pathology degree. That makes graduate education an important aspect of achieving career goals in this area. Speech language pathologists also might need certification or licensure, though the specific credential needed might vary by work area, discipline, and even location. In 2019, the median annual salary for speech-language pathologists was $80,480. This could vary by state and level of advancement. The job outlook is also much faster than average, predicted to grow by 25% between 2019 and 2029.
Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Speech-Language Pathologists
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Best 1 Speech Pathology Graduate Programs in Connecticut