Part 1: Education

Note: This page will focus on careers in the United States. If you have information about the SLP licensing process in other countries, please do not hesitate to contact me at chandru@speechscience.org, and we can set up a guest post! 

Congratulations! You have chosen a field that is extremely rewarding; you will have the ability to positively impact the lives of your clients. Speech-language pathologists work in a diverse range of settings, from schools and hospitals to even people's homes. Clients are all ages, from infant to geriatric, and have a variety of disorders, including those related to articulation, language, and swallowing.

Below is the first in a multi-part series about how to become a speech pathologist!

 Part 1: Education

A master’s degree (M.A. or M.S.) in communication sciences and disorders is required to be licensed as a speech-language pathologist. Below are some frequently asked questions about the education process:

 What universities offer a degree in communication disorders?

 The most up-to-date information is on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s “EdFind” website: http://asha.org/edfind/. You can filter the results by location, type of degree offered, and more.

 You say a master’s degree is required...How about a bachelor’s degree?

Yes. To my knowledge, there is no master’s program that accepts students without a bachelor’s degree, in any field.

Do I need to have a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders to get a master’s degree in communication disorders?

No. Many graduate programs accept students without a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders. Students stay an extra semester or two in order to catch up on undergraduate courses, often referred to as transitional master's degree. In addition, there are certificate and second (post) bachelor’s degree programs where students take undergraduate courses for a year, and then apply to graduate schools with all of the courses needed. That being said, there are some institutions that will not accept you without a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders, or the equivalent coursework.

 I am currently at an undergraduate institution that does not have a degree in communication disorders. Should I transfer? 

 You don’t have to! As mentioned above, there are programs that will accept you even without a degree in communication disorders. Alternatively, you could complete a certificate program after graduating. A third option would be to take the courses graduate programs are looking for at another institution (possibly online). Then, you can apply to graduate programs as if you have a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders.

 What courses are graduate programs looking for? 

  • Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Hearing

  • Disorders of Articulation and Phonology

  • Intro to Audiology

  • Normal Language Development

  • Phonetics

  • Speech Science

  • Survey in Communication Disorders

If you do not have these courses, you can still get into grad school! But if you have these courses beforehand, you will save time in your graduate program.

 Are there any online options for graduate school? 

Yes, there are a few options nationwide that are fully online. These are ideal for students who live far away from a graduate institution, or who work part or full-time. There are also night and weekend options available as well.

What school should I attend?

Speechscience.org does not endorse any particular school over another (except our alma maters, of course). In the future, we will have a section of the website detailing admission requirements for all graduate programs in the United States.