Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders
Helping people communicate is just one of the many rewarding aspects of being a speech-language pathologist. Earning a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology allows you to work in the vast field of speech, communication and swallowing disorders, and to specialize in different components of speech and language development. Since these skills are developed during infancy and childhood, speech therapists are commonly hired in school settings.
Speech therapists work in other settings as well, such as nursing homes, private facilities, universities and rehabilitation centers. They work closely with a diverse client group, tailoring treatment for each client’s individual needs. Demand for speech therapists is expected to grow by 39% in the next decade, making it an attractive career choice.
A master's degree from an accredited institution may be required to become a practicing speech therapist. This, along with state certification, will allow you to become a speech therapist at any grade level.
Each MS-SLP program has its own prerequisites, so you should contact your accredited institution for detailed information regarding its policies. Depending on your school, you will be required to submit some or all of the following:
- Application: Fill out an initial application, which you can find on the website of the accredited institution of your choice. Paper and online forms are both generally accepted.
- Bachelor’s degree: You should have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from an accredited institution prior to applying to an MS-SLP program.
- Transcripts: Request transcripts in advance of the application deadline, and upload one official copy of each transcript from any postsecondary schools you have attended.
- Experience: Include any experience in social work that may be relevant.
- Personal statement: Write a personal statement, which is typically in the form of an essay. You may be required to submit multiple essays to fully express the intent and purpose of your application. Below are some common topics that should be mentioned in a statement.
- Your main academic and personal interests
- Experiences in school or work that have helped to prepare you for this course of study
- Why you wish to study for the degree you’ve chosen
- Why you wish to study at the university
- Your plans for the future after you earn your degree
The curriculum and number of credits required to complete an MS-SLP program vary widely depending on your school and specialization. However, a typical program includes courses in:
- Speech-pathology foundation courses
- Language disorders
- Clinical practicums
- Speech-language electives
After completing an MS-SLP program, the next step is to get certified. This certification will enable you to officially work in the field of your choice. Every state has its own licensure requirements to become a speech therapist. The median annual salary for a speech therapist was $73,410 in 2015. Licensed speech-language pathologists who hold an MS-SLP can work at the elementary through high school level.
In addition to these common speech therapist roles, there are also specializations and different roles that a graduate with an MS-SLP can pursue, including:
- Child language disorders
- Fluency disorders
- Swallowing disorders
Discover more about how to start a career in Speech-Language Pathology here.