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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Speech Therapy

Majors Overview March 18, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in speech therapy and their coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Speech Therapy

Schools offer Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in Speech-Language Pathology or Communication Disorders to serve the needs of those seeking a bachelor’s degree program in speech therapy. Students enrolled in these degree programs learn about communication disorders and normal communication.

Coursework in a speech therapy-related program is devised to teach students how to prevent, diagnose, and manage speech issues, in addition to imparting instruction on related topic areas that involve voice, fluency, and swallowing. The mastering of concepts of sound history, language psychology, speech production and control, hearing, and speech anatomy are available in the science-based degree field.

Those intending to go on to enroll in master’s and doctoral programs can use these four-year programs as preparatory training. Individuals seeking to become speech therapy assistants can also expect to receive career-focused training by enrolling in some programs. Though every program may have different specific prerequisites, incoming students would benefit from completing useful high school coursework, including English, foreign languages, and the natural sciences.

Coursework

Coursework within a speech therapy bachelor’s degree program combines clinical experiences, laboratory research, and theory-based courses. Core coursework may commonly include topic areas such as:

•Language development
•Speech disorders
•Speech-language pathology
•Anatomy and physiology of hearing
•Phonetics

Career Choices

Those who complete a speech therapy bachelor’s degree program can seek entry-level careers as assistants or can go on to earn a master’s degree in order to become speech-language pathologists.

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2012, there were around 134,100 speech-language pathologists employed in the country. A faster-than-average job growth rate of 19% has been predicted for speech-language pathologists over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The optimistic projection is attributed to the expected increase in needs among several key population segments, including aging baby boomers and premature infants, who are accomplishing higher survival rates. In May 2012, speech-language pathologists brought in an average annual wage of $69,870 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Licensure is compulsory in most states for speech therapists that wish to practice there. Requirements vary from state to state, and some states require these professionals to complete a master’s degree, while most states require an acceptable score on the Educational Testing Service’s Praxis Series-administered speech-language pathology national examination.

Completion of a master’s degree in speech therapy would permit licensure as well as enhance career opportunities. Schools also commonly offer Ph.D. programs that assist in the development of advanced skills in language science and speech.

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