Complete A Bachelors Degree In A Related Field
To become a speech-language pathologist, you will ultimately need to complete a graduate degree in the field. But the first step toward starting your career as an SLP will be to complete an undergraduate degree that will prepare you for graduate education.
Two undergraduate degrees closely aligned with the field include the Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and the Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. These programs are an excellent option for anyone who knows early on that they would like to pursue a career in speech-language pathology.
However, other degrees can also prepare you for your eventual graduate education, especially if paired with a relevant concentration. At Northeastern, for example, undergraduate students may complete a Communication Sciences and Disorders minor or a Clinical Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology minor.
What Education Is Required To Become A Speech Pathologist
To become a speech-language pathologist, you must first earn your bachelors degree in a related field of study, or otherwise complete leveling coursework if your bachelors degree is in another area. Aspiring SLPs then complete a specialized graduate program, such as a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology, which typically takes two years.
After earning their degree, graduates usually complete a clinical fellowship year . SLPs often must apply for a temporary state license for speech pathology to practice during this fellowship. Most clinical fellowships last for 36 weeks, for a minimum of 35 hours per week.
Additionally, in some states, aspiring speech-language pathologists must complete the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology , administered through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association . The CCC-SLP is considered the gold-standard credential in the field.
Once their education is complete, candidates must pass the Subject Assessment in Speech-Language Pathology to earn state licensure, among other requirements, depending on the state. If the educational program is in Candidate Accreditation status, graduates often need to obtain their CCC in order to apply to states to have their status recognized in the first place. Most students take the exam during their clinical fellowship year.
How Do I Know If Speech Therapy Is Necessary
If your healthcare provider suspects that you or your child has a speech disorder, theyll recommend some initial screenings. These tests will help determine the underlying cause. For example, if your child has trouble communicating, your healthcare provider will find out if its due to a speech disorder or a hearing problem. If your child passes the hearing test, then your healthcare provider will likely refer them to a speech-language pathologist.
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What Conditions Does A Speech
SLPs provide therapy for people with hearing loss, children with developmental delays, and people with communication and swallowing problems. They treat disorders such as:
These conditions make it difficult to produce sounds. Some examples include:
- â the brain has trouble directing the movements of the muscles used to speak
- articulation disorders â the inability to form certain sounds, such as âthâ or ârâ
- stuttering â when the flow of speech is broken by pauses and repetition
- resonance disorders â caused by an obstruction such as a cleft palate
- dysarthria â weakness in the muscles used in speech, caused by brain injury
These may be receptive or expressive . Some examples are:
- aphasia â difficulty speaking or understanding others because of damage to the brain
- auditory processing disorder â the brain has trouble understanding the meaning of sounds
Usually the result of an injury to the brain that causes problems with memory, attention, organization, or reasoning, cognitive-communication disorders can make it difficult for a person to speak, listen, read, or write. Causes of cognitive-communication disorders include: traumatic brain injury, stroke, or dementia.
Early Intervention And K12 Schools
More than half of speech-language pathologists are employed in educational settings. Speech-language pathologists employed in educational settings may work in infant and toddler programs, preschools, and elementary and secondary schools.
Speech-language pathologists working in early intervention may do any of the following jobs:
- Address feeding disorders in infants and toddlers
- Provide parent education and training for promoting language development in toddlers
- Visit day care centers and other preschool settings to provide services to children with receptive and expressive language delays
Speech-language pathologists working in K12 schools may do any of the following jobs:
- Provide language therapy to help children follow directions and answer questions
- Collaborate with teachers to develop literacy skills in students, focusing on both letter-sound skills and vocabulary development
- Help students with autism work on job skills to transition to work settings
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Become Licensed To Practice
To get a speech-language pathology license, candidates have to obtain their bachelor’s and master’s degrees, complete a fellowship, pass the CCC-SLP exam, and submit appropriate documentation. Many states also require additional work experience. This process generally takes 6-7 years total.
Fees and requirements for a speech-language pathology license vary by state. Once licensed, speech pathologists can become practicing professionals in their state.
About The Master Of Science In Speech
The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center graduate speech and language pathology program is an academically rigorous and comprehensive program recognized for its excellence in preparing speech pathologists who excel in their profession.
In addition to the academic coursework, over the course of the two-year program, you will gain experience in the university clinic and at least two other settings. Many clinical opportunities are available in the Lubbock community, but students can also participate in externships in other Texas cities and across the country. If you have already earned an undergraduate degree in a field other than communication disorders, we have several options for completing your leveling work.
“When applying to graduate schools, I searched for an affordable yet high caliber program that would enable me to provide exceptional patient care. My experience at TTUHSC has empowered me to confidently and compassionately provide services from birth to end of life care. I am fortunate to serve as an integral member to interdisciplinary teams across the state of Texas all while making a positive impact in the lives of my patients and their families all thanks to TTUHSC.”
Dalan Gore, M.S., MBA, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathology Class of 2019 Speech-Language Pathology
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What Type Of Field Training Is Required
The journey towards the SLP credential may also involve training that takes place in the real-world environment. In total, you can expect to spend around 400 hours gaining relevant experience in the field, as well as a 36 week fellowship among your peers.
During this experience, you may spend a portion of your time observing licensed professionals providing speech services to the public. The first few weeks of your training may consist of accompanying your licensed supervisor during normal clinical hours, when may then be followed by a debriefing and a question/answer period.
Once you have conducted your observations, your supervisor may then allow you to begin working directly with clients in the field. It is at this point that you can exhibit the skills that you have learned during your degree program and observations.
Your work in the clinical environment is what essentially begins your career is a SLP. In order to ensure that you are remaining compliant with state requirements, you should recognize any application requirements for training, as well as keep up with the required supervision paperwork outlined by your state.
When you have completed the supervision period, your supervisor will need to sign off on your documentation for you to then send in to the state.
Slpa 126 Neurogenic Communication Disorders For The Slpa
- Prerequisite:SLPA 300 with a grade of “C” or better
- Catalog Date:August 1, 2022
This course explores neurogenic cognitive-communicative disorders in adults and is designed for the speech-language pathology assistant . It covers basic neuroanatomy, cognitive-communicative disorders acquired in adulthood, as well as therapeutic approaches and strategies for service delivery. The scope of responsibilities and the role of the SLPA are reviewed.
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- label basic neuroanatomy structures and describe their function.
- formulate information related to etiologies, variations, and disorders of human communication as it relates to the adult client.
- critique common treatment strategies used in remediation of cognitive-communication disorders.
- investigate principles of evidence-based practice.
- demonstrate functional knowledge of the therapeutic processes addressing the adult with cognitive-communication disorders.
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Language Delays And Disorders
SLPs can help patients who struggle to understand what others are saying or communicate their own thoughts and feelings. Patients with expressive language disorders struggle to convey ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Children or adults with receptive language disorders have trouble understanding spoken or written words. Language disorders are often diagnosed in early childhood, and SLPs can work with children and use play to help them communicate despite language disorders.
What Are The Educational Requirements For Slps
Speech pathologists must first meet rigorous educational requirements set forth by their state’s licensing agency. At the master’s level, students in speech pathology degree programs can thoroughly explore the basics of human communication, as well as research diagnoses and treatments that can be influential on a person’s ability to utilize functional communication skills.
The lowest degree program that you can achieve to become licensed in the master’s. It is recommended that you choose the Master’s in Speech Pathology or alternatively the Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology. There are also certain specifications of your degree program that must also be scrutinized before solidifying your enrollment.
Degree programs that lead to licensing in this field must be reviewed and accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association . ASHA’s Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology is responsible for the regular review and approval of master’s programs for upcoming licensed professionals in this field.
During your initial review of a potential degree program, you should locate the accreditation information and verify that it holds CAA accreditation. This type of accreditation can help you rest assured that your degree program can be directly applicable to a career in speech pathology and that it consists of topics that are current and relevant to the field.
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Where Do Slps Work
SLPs work in a variety of environments, such as hospitals, residential care facilities, nursing homes, rehabilitation clinics, schools, and private therapy practices. Educational settings are, by far, the most common employers of speech therapists.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 38 percent of SLPs work for state, local, or private educational facilities, while 22 percent practice in occupational, speech, physical, or auditory therapy offices.
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What Is The Difference Between The Slp And Ccc
During your review of licensing requirements in your state, you might note that there might be alternative paths to achieving your license to practice. Not all states require that speech pathologists hold certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association , making it possible to bypass this extra step along your way.
A large majority of states allow you to choose either the standard SLP path that was outlined above or first receive certification prior to applying for licensure. The SLP path is directly specifically by your states requirements, while the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology is governed directly by ASHA.
The educational and experience requirements for both paths are similar in both paths, making your preference on certification a factor in determining which option would be better for the career you are seeking.
Slpa 127 Childhood Language Development
- Catalog Date:August 1, 2022
This course prepares the student for a complete review of how children develop language within their established language communities. It is designed to prepare people who work with children with the knowledge of developmental stages of language acquisition, as well as receptive and expressive language milestones. Topics include the hearing mechanism, comprehension of language, gestures, social pragmatics, semantic development, morphology and syntax, language impairment, as well as cultural variables impacting communication.
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- describe developmental patterns in early language learning which lay the foundation for the communicative process.
- identify the aspects of culture which impact the development of language.
- label anatomical structures involved in the hearing mechanism and speech mechanism.
- describe the differences between phonology, morphology, syntax and pragmatics.
- examine and describe prelinguistic communication behaviors.
- identify markers of a potential language impairment.
- compare a transcribed language sample with Brown’s Stages of Morphological Development.
- correlate sound play and phonological development to expressive language.
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What Speech Pathologists Do
A speech pathologist is a trained medical professional who works with patients who are injured or ill and are having difficulty speaking or swallowing. They work to prevent, assess, and treat language, swallowing, and communication disorders in adults and children. These disorders can result from an injury or a chronic disability.
Speech pathologists help people communicate, and this may involve:
- Expressive communication: The ability to communicate verbally and nonverbally
- Receptive communication: The ability to understand verbal and nonverbal communications
So, if you are having trouble forming words to speak, your speech therapist may help. If you are having difficulty understanding language or speech, an SLP may provide treatment.
Some speech therapists work closely with audiologists to ensure that you are able to hear and understand language correctly. Others work with otolaryngologists, also called ear, nose, and throat physicians , to help patients swallow food and drink safely and to assist patients with oral motor function.
What Are The Steps To Become A Speech Pathologist
To become a speech pathologist, learners must graduate from accredited undergraduate and graduate programs. Most programs include a graduate-level internship or fellowship.
After graduation, qualified candidates obtain a license based on state requirements. Many professionals pursue the speech-language pathology certificate of clinical competence .
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Conditions That Slps Treat Include:
- Speech sounds how one makes sounds and put sounds together in words. Disorders of phonology, apraxia or dysarthria.
- Language how one understands what we hear or read, as well as how we tell others what we are thinking. Loss of language may be called aphasia. SLPs often work with children and adults who have problems with reading, spelling and writing.
- Social communication often referred to as pragmatics. Individuals can have difficulties with taking turns, following rules or how close to stand to someone when talking.
- Voice individuals who have voice disorders may sound hoarse, lose their voice, talk to loudly or be unable to make an appropriate-sounding voice.
- Fluency refers to how well speech flows. People who stutter and clutter are often described as having a fluency disorder.
- Cognitive communication problems related to memory, attention, problem solving, organization and other thinking skills.
- Feeding and swallowing referred to as dysphagia. These are conditions related to how an individual sucks, chews and swallow foods and liquids. Swallowing disorders are life threatening and lead to poor nutrition, weight loss and other health problems.
- also known as AAC. These are systems for individuals with severe expressive and/or language comprehension disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder or progressive neurological disorders.
Altered from asha.org.
What Are Some Speech Therapy Techniques I Can Try At Home
Kids and adults alike can practice speech therapy techniques at home. Your healthcare provider can recommend exercises for your specific condition. Some general techniques for children and adults include:
Speech therapy techniques for children
Activities to try with your child at home:
Speech therapy techniques for adults
Adults with speech disorders can also benefit from at-home exercises. You can try:
- Tongue exercises. Stick your tongue out, hold for two seconds, then bring it back in. Repeat this process several times. You can also try this same exercise, but move your tongue to each corner of your mouth for two seconds. Finally, move your tongue up and down in the same fashion. These exercises help train your tongue to move in coordinated patterns.
- Smiling. Simply smiling in front of a mirror can help improve motor skills. Smile. Relax. Smile again. Repeat this process several times.
- Puckering your lips. Try puckering your lips, then relaxing. Repeat this several times. This can help you control the movement of your mouth.
- Reading out loud. If your speech disorder prevents you from moving your mouth and tongue properly, reading out loud can be excellent practice. Start out with a few small sentences and work your way up from there.
- Playing word games. Studies have shown that memory games, word searches and crossword puzzles can help maintain cognitive function and improve thinking skills.
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Job Description Of A Speech Pathologist
The day-to-day duties of a speech-language pathologist may vary based on the work setting and area of specialization. However, some key responsibilities SLPs share are as follows:
- Conduct screenings to assess a clients speech and swallowing challenges.
- Evaluate and diagnose speech, language and communication disorders.
- Develop an appropriate treatment plan.
- Provide rehabilitation or communication strategies for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Train, communicate and educate family and caregivers of those with communication or swallowing disorders.
- Offer augmentative and alternative communication systems for clients who experience challenges with severe social expression or language comprehension disorders, such as those on the autism spectrum.
- Use an interdisciplinary approach to address a clients communication and swallowing needs.
- Complete administrative tasks, including the recording of a clients progress during and after treatment and the maintenance of client records.
There are a variety of work settings that a speech-language pathologist can choose from. SLPs can work in nursing and residential care facilities, offices of audiologists and physical therapists or have offices of their own.