How to Get into Speech Pathology School
5 Steps to Speech Language Pathology Therapy School
Follow these steps to get into speech language pathology school:
- Graduate with a bachelor’s degree
To pursue a career in speech language pathology, you must complete a bachelor’s program. You can obtain a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders, but a specific major is not required, reports the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
If you choose a different major, or you obtained your bachelor’s degree before considering an SLP, you will likely need to complete prerequisite coursework. Peruse accredited SLP programs through ASHA EdFind and review the requirements.
- Take the GRE (up to 5 times)
Many traditional and online SLP programs require a GRE score, though the minimum or average scores vary by university. To obtain a strong score, study independently or participate in a structured program.
You have more than one chance to get a great score. You can retake the GRE every 21 days, up to five times within 12 months. Repeating the test can help you achieve a higher score because you know what to expect.
You also do not have to worry about prospective SLP schools seeing your lower score. Through ScoreSelect, you can decide which scores are sent during the application process.
SLP schools may have a deadline to submit a GRE score. Make sure to take the GRE early enough so that you can retake the exam before the deadline.
- Shadow SLPs in different work settings
Shadow one or more licensed SLPs to get to know the field and the work a speech-pathologist performs. It is also an AHSA requirement for certification. You must complete 25 hours in guided clinical observation before you can begin clinical hours at the graduate level.
SLPs work in a variety of settings, including:
Early intervention programs.
Preschool and elementary school.
Colleges and universities.
Hospitals (acute care, rehabilitation, and psychiatric).
Residential health care facilities.
Non-residential health care facilities.
Public health departments.
The U.S. armed forces.
The U.S. Public Health Service.
Shadowing one or more licensed SLPs requires being proactive. Reach out to SLPs in your area and inquire about shadowing opportunities. Some facilities may not allow shadowing, while others have established programs. Many licensed SLPs are happy to help.
If you can shadow, keep track of who you observed, the number of hours, and the setting. Have the licensed SLP sign your record. When you apply to SLP programs, you may want to provide this information.
- Work or volunteer in the SLP field
Volunteering or working in the speech language pathology field is important if this is your desired career. It helps you fill out your resume for your application and gives you more to work with when crafting your personal statement.
One of the ways to stand out from the crowd of applicants is to work or volunteer in a research setting. SLP is a research-based career, and many graduate programs like to see people with research exposure or experience. Working or volunteering in a research setting demonstrates you understand a fundamental aspect of the field and have a skill that can help you succeed in an SLP master’s program. Colleges and universities near you may have research opportunities.
You can contact facilities, nonprofits, universities, professional organizations, and licensed SLPs in your area about volunteering or job opportunities. If you are interested in travel, ASHA has a list of international nonprofit organizations that may offer volunteer opportunities abroad. You also can use LinkedIn and job boards to find entry-level positions.
- Network with SLPs in your area
Learning to network and getting to know SLPs can help you prepare for the admissions process, graduate studies, and your career. Networking can help you learn about the field and lead to shadowing, work, and volunteer opportunities. Some of the people you meet might even write letters of recommendation.
If you are pursuing a CSD bachelor’s degree or your university has an SLP program, start by networking with that department. Go to informational events. Reach out to students and faculty.
Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to connect with SLPs. You can find SLP blogs, Facebook groups, podcasts, and much more to learn from and connect with professionals in the field.
Other SLP Application Requirements
Prepare for the SLP School Personal Interview
3 Tips for your SLP School Interview
To get into speech language pathology school, focus on getting involved
|University and Program Name||Number of Credits||Enrollment Type||Study Length|
Master of Science in Communication Disorders|
|72||Full-Time and Part-Time||As few as 20 months|
New York University
Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders|
|48||Full-Time and Part-Time||As few as 6 terms|