Assisting Others With Their Ability To Communicate: Speech Pathology Degree

Communication is a fundamental aspect of life and everybody has a desire to be heard and understood. However, for people with communication disorders this can be extremely difficult. If you want to play a part in helping these people to communicate, then a degree in speech pathology can set you on the right path. The assistance that you are able to give people can be life-changing for them, which makes it a very rewarding profession. When working in this field you won’t just be dealing with people who have verbal communication problems, but also those who cannot swallow properly. In fact, the longtime host of “The Tonight Show”, Jay Leno, has a degree in speech therapy, so the knowledge you gain from studying speech pathology can even be useful in your own life

Speech Pathology Degree Information

Bachelor of Science In Speech Pathology

A Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology degree can be used as a stepping stone before completing your master’s degree and working as a speech-language pathologist. Course topics may include communication science, methods of clinical management, articulation disorders, speech and language development, phonetics and more.

Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

The Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology is typically the minimum requirement to become a practicing speech-language pathologist. This degree is aimed at students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree and takes about two years to finish. For students with no previous speech-language pathology pre-professional background there are also three year courses available. A master’s degree in this field is designed to assist students with meeting all the certification standards as well as state licensure needed for working in this field. Course topics may include Phonetics, Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Swallowing, Speech Science, The Development of Language and more, as well as a speech-language pathology capstone.

Licensure Requirements

In order to work as a speech-language pathologist in most states you first need to obtain the correct licensure. In general, this involves obtaining a master’s degree or higher as well as a passing score on a national examination. Post-graduate experience while working at a clinic and verified clinical practicum hours are also a must. Additionally, some continuing education courses may be required in order to renew your license. To ensure that you fulfill all the requirements, contact your state’s medical or health licensure board for specific requirements. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website also has a wealth of information about certification, maintaining your certification, and state licensure.

Speech Pathology Degree FAQs

Who Is An Ideal Candidate To Study Speech Pathology?

Because treating patients with speech disorders requires not only an accurate diagnosis, but also the development of an appropriate treatment plan, it is a line of work that is very suitable for people with good analytical skills. Furthermore, critical-thinking skills are required for making adjustments to these treatment plans or looking into alternative means of assisting patients. As with all occupations where you have to deal with patients, it is very beneficial to have good listening skills and compassion.

Can I Study For This Degree Online?

Courses for speech pathology are available online, but because it is a field that requires practical, hands-on experience, not everything can be done fully online. Online courses tend to combine the coursework that can be done via the internet with supervised clinical experiences that are held at separate locations. When opting for an online degree in this field, look for a program that offers the academic components over the internet and the ability to complete clinical requirements at sites that are in your area.

What Type of Jobs Are Potentially Available To Those Who Earn This Degree?

There are a couple potential avenues of employment for people who want to work as speech-language pathologists. The biggest employers of people in this profession are educational services followed by hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities. In addition, speech-language pathologists are often also self-employed and work at their own private practices. Government departments and rehabilitation centers also often employ people in this profession. The employment prospects of speech-language pathologists are very good as the United States Bureau of Labor statistics indicate a projected growth of 21% from now until 2024 for this profession. This is much faster than the average employment growth of all occupations.

What Are The Usual Duties of Someone Working As A Speech-Language Pathologist?

There are a variety of reasons why someone might need the assistance of a speech-language pathologist. Communication and swallowing disorders can arise brain injuries, hearing loss, or a stroke as well as developmental delays. Other issues, such as Parkinson’s disease, autism or having a cleft palate can also result in disorders. As a speech-language pathologist your primary duties will relate to assessing, diagnosing and treating these disorders and, in some cases, helping to prevent them from occurring.

When working as a speech-language pathologist you typically have to evaluate patients to determine how much difficulty they are experiencing with speech, language or swallowing and then identify possible treatment options that can help them. This is then followed by an individualized treatment plan and working closely with patients to overcome the difficulties that they are facing.

The work doesn’t just focus on people, but also has some administrative elements, such as record keeping and tracking the progress of treatments.

What Is The Average Income For Those Working In The Field of Speech Pathology?

According to information published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, speech-language pathologists earned a median annual wage of $74,680 in May of 2016. While the lowest 10 percent of people employed in this profession earned less than $47,070, this figure rose to more than $116,810 for those in the highest ten percent. Industries with the highest earning potential for this profession are nursing and residential care facilities, followed by hospitals.

What Are The Other Benefits To Study For A Speech Pathology Degree?

In addition to being able to work in a rewarding profession where you get to help people on a daily basis, a degree in speech pathology could potentially lead to a stable career. This is because the increased awareness around the subject of speech and language disorders is driving an increase in demand for people who are specialized in this field, especially those who can treat children. Advances in medicine are also increasing the survival rate of patients who suffered a stroke, who then require a speech-language pathologist to aid in their recovery.

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