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Associate Degree Programs in Communication Disorders

Majors Overview January 4, 2014

Those seeking entry-level careers in speech language pathology would benefit by earning an Associate Degree in Communication Disorders. Coursework is devised to impart instruction about speech disorders, language development and American Sign Language (ASL). Additional training is imparted to students in the hearing clinics of schools. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


It takes about two years to complete these programs. Coursework is a combination general education courses and human anatomy and language skills, and may include topic areas such as:

•Biological acoustics
•Language development
•Communication disorders
•Physiological acoustics
•Healthcare communications

Job and Wage Outlook

Those who complete associate degree programs, in communication disorders, can seek entry-level jobs in speech-language pathology assistant roles. In 2010, these professionals earned an average hourly wage of $14.56 (source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). A job growth rate of 14-19 percent has been predicted for these professionals during the period from 2008 to 2018.

Continuing Education and Licensing Choices

Many states require speech-language pathology assistants to obtain licensure including the completion of a state-approved associate degree program and 70-100 hours of work experience in the field. Completion of supervised practice is required as an additional norm for licensing in some states.

Those who complete these programs may seek continued education by earning a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology or audiology. Schools also offer Bachelor’s degree programs in communication disorders. Coursework in these programs often includes topic areas such as language processing, aural rehabilitation, and articulation and fluency disorders that students can use as preparation ahead of enrolling into a bachelor’s degree program.

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