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How Do I Get a Speech Pathology Degree?

A speech pathologist working with a female patient.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 July 2014
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In order to get a speech pathology degree, it will be necessary to attend a college or university that offers a speech pathology program. People who plan to practice as speech pathologists should be aware that they may also be required to pass certification exams that will qualify them to offer services to patients. Specific requirements for clinical practice vary between nations and individual regions within nations, and people interested in speech pathology careers should find out what the requirements for practice are where they plan to work before pursuing a degree, so that they select an appropriate program and method of preparation.

In order to become a speech pathologist, it is usually necessary to have a master's degree in speech pathology. To reach this educational level, students will first need to get a bachelor's degree in this or a related field, such as audiology, physiology, or biology. Many universities which have master's programs in speech pathology also offer undergraduate degrees; students should check on the prerequisites for master's programs that they are interested in so that they can take the appropriate classes while they get a degree at the undergraduate level.

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While taking classes as an undergraduate, someone on track for a career in speech pathology might want to consider getting a clinical internship to work with a a professional in the field. In addition to providing work experience and giving the student an idea of what the work might be like, an internship can bolster an application to graduate school for a master's degree. Master's programs can be highly competitive, so getting the edge on applications definitely helps students will get into the programs they want.

Typical training for undergraduates includes basic anatomy and physiology, along with specific explorations into conditions that cause difficulty with speaking or swallowing. A graduate degree will provide students with more in-depth information about speech pathology, possible treatments for various conditions, medical ethics involved in the practice of speech pathology, and so forth. Students should seek out a speech pathology degree from an institution accredited by a professional organization of speech pathologists, as this will facilitate certification.

After someone has graduated with a speech pathology degree, he or she can pursue professional certification to practice, along with membership in professional organizations. Working speech pathologists should plan on attending continuing education programs throughout their careers to keep up with advances in the field. They may also want to consider getting additional training so that they an achieve board recognition in a specific area of interest, such as pediatric speech pathology or stroke recovery.

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Discuss this Article

anon167718
Post 3

When I began school, my teachers referred me to the school speech therapist because of pronouncing "S" like "sh". My parents refused, saying that I would outgrow it. Every school year, my teachers would refer me just to have my parents refuse.

Finally, with the encouragement of my choir director, my parents allowed me to have speech therapy at the age of 15. It took only three months to correct a speech problem that had plagued me since early childhood. My parents were shocked. Ms. Weddle, the speech therapist for our little school system, changed my life.

oasis11
Post 2

Sunny27- I agree with you. That happened to my daughter. She went for speech therapy because her teacher felt that she was not pronouncing the “S” sound correctly.

She was only five at the time. We had to do exercises repeating words with the ‘S” sound and she had to practice keeping her tongue in so that she could create the sound properly. For example she would say “Sarah snake” while keeping her teeth clamped together with her tongue inside.

I later found out that a child should master the “S” sound by age 9. So I wonder if my child needed speech therapy after all.

Sunny27
Post 1

Good Article- I want to add that speech pathologist also works in schools and hospitals. Many children that having trouble pronouncing words accurately. If by a certain age the child has not mastered the proper formation of the sound, a child will seeks the help of a speech pathologist in order to correct the mispronunciations.

For example, many children have a problem with the “S” sound and the proper mouth formation for this sound requires the child to keep the tongue inside the mouth. However, children with a lisp let the tongue slip out thus pronouncing the “S” like a “Th” sound which is incorrect.

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