How to Become a Speech Therapist
What Is a Speech Pathologist?
Jumpstart Your Career in Speech Pathology, Explore Online SLP Programs
Steps to Becoming a Speech Pathologist
There are three common steps that aspiring speech therapists can take to become a practicing SLP. Below, we have outlined the process:
- Bachelor’s Degree Program:
To begin, aspiring professionals can pursue a bachelor’s degree from a reputable higher education institution. Although it is common for speech-language pathologists to come from a wide variety of backgrounds, it doesn’t hurt to demonstrate interest in the field by earning a degree related to speech therapy. A few examples of common undergraduate majors for aspiring speech-language pathologists are communication sciences and disorders, linguistics, language development, education, psychology and English.
- SLP Master’s Degree Program:
In a majority of states—whether you’re employed in a clinical or a school environment—a master’s degree in speech-language pathology accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is an essential requirement for individuals pursuing a career as a speech therapist.
Master’s programs typically are paired with clinical or internship experiences to ensure that students are getting a well-rounded and practical learning experience. Coursework might cover language development, and anatomy and physiology, among various other topics. Many working professionals opt for online speech pathology programs to earn an advanced degree without having to relocate or compromise their work schedule and income.
- Pursue Licensure:
SLPs must be licensed to practice, a process that varies by state and requires supervised clinical experience. For SLPS who want to work in schools, a teaching certification may also be necessary, depending on the state.