Is a Speech-Language Pathology Degree Right for You?

Earning a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology is usually a precursor to a master’s degree, which is the prerequisite for an entry-level position as a speech pathologist. There are over 250 postsecondary institutions that offer a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology. Students generally enter the Speech-Language Department in their junior year of college and work for two years in concentrated upper levels of study. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for speech pathologists is anticipated to grow 23% by 2020, which is faster than the national average.

Advice for Earning Your Speech Pathology Degree Online

Which degree path you select will depend upon your academic and professional goals. Students who wish to become speech pathologists will need to select an online degree program that is accredited and considered sufficient preparation for a master’s degree. Like traditional programs, many online SPL departments admit college students only after they have completed their core classes, allowing students to concentrate strictly on speech and communication courses until graduation. Admission into these programs requires that students maintain minimum GPAs and fulfill all the prerequisite courses. Because online programs will not offer clinical experience, it is advisable to take advantage of the flexible schedule offered by online courses to participate in internships or other experiential activities.

Although online courses offer flexibility, they also lack the rigid structures that hold students accountable. To succeed in an online program, students must be comfortable with technology, exhibit self-motivation, and display excellent time management skills. Students pursuing an online degree in language-speech sciences may also specialize in working with the hearing impaired. For example, a student who studies Communication Sciences and Disorders can minor in American Sign Language or Interpreting Training in order to become a translator. This is one way in which a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for employment.

Required Courses

Students will cover the many disorders of speech, language, and hearing that afflict people of all ages. The program draws heavily upon the sciences, covering topics like anatomy, neuroanatomy, and physiology. However, there is also an element of language arts within language-pathology, requiring students to study applied phonetics and other language science applications for communication disorders. Most programs require capstone achievements through introductions to clinical processes.

Common Career Paths

Becoming a licensed speech pathologist is the most popular career path for students who major in communicative disorders and speech-language pathology. Though it requires at least a master’s degree to become a licensed speech pathologist or audiologist, some states allow those with bachelor’s degrees to become Speech-Language Pathology Assistants. Another option for a student who studies speech-language pathology or communication disorders is to work as a translator for the hearing impaired.

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