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Overview of Master Degree Programs in Speech Language Pathology

Majors Overview April 6, 2018

This article talks about the master’s degree program in speech language pathology and its educational requirements, coursework, career options, job and wage outlook, and continuing education and licensure options.

Master’s Programs in Speech Language Pathology

Those who seek professional speech therapist licensure would benefit from earning a master’s degree in speech language pathology. Students gain the advanced clinical and theoretical expertise necessary for diagnosing and treating language and speech disorders in adults and children. Students can expect to become an expert in assessing and treating speech, swallowing, voice, literacy and language disorders in all age groups.

Program coursework involves the exploration of classroom-based theories in phonology, articulation, and fluency, and examination of the developmental and cognitive differences found in impaired patients. Coursework may also include in-depth research on current and new treatments. Supervised externships and work in language and auditory labs are devised to impart hands-on clinical experience. Concentrations in neurological disorders or child intervention may be in these programs.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree, apart from submitting recommendation letters, graduate test scores, and a statement of purpose.

Coursework

Program coursework may cover courses in the diagnostic tools, scientific theories, and treatments relating to speech and language pathology. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Diagnostic principles
•Developmental neuromotor disorders
•Auditory phonetics
•Dysphasia
•Acoustic phonetics
•Motor development and learning
•Language science
•Language and cognition
•Craniofacial disorders

Career Options

Speech language pathologists can seek careers in private practice, healthcare, and schools.

Job and Wage Outlook

Speech language pathologists are expected to see a 18% job growth over the 2016-2026 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The occurrences of strokes and development of hearing losses in older adults are expected to drive this growth, along with the increased employment of speech language pathologists in secondary and elementary schools. In May 2016, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $74,680.

Continuing Education and Licensure Options

Professional licensing is compulsory for program graduates who seek careers in speech language pathology. Each state may have its separate licensing requirements, but common requirements include supervised clinical experience, a master’s degree, and passage of a national exam. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association offers professional certification. Master’s program graduates may pursue continuing education by earning a doctorate in speech language pathology that could lead to advanced clinical and research expertise.

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