Speech Pathologist Professional Development Guide

Speech pathologists have the rewarding task of helping people with communication disorders find their voice. With various educational, clinical and licensure requirements in speech language pathology, this guide can help SLPs with the next steps on their professional development journey.

Who Is This SLP Professional Development Guide For?

Whether you are showing interest in becoming an SLP student, a post-graduate starting your career with a clinical fellowship, or a mid-career professional looking for a change in work setting, this guide can help you at any stage of your SLP journey.

You Think You Might Be Interested in Speech Pathology

Becoming a speech pathologist may be for you if you have an interest in helping people who need support with speech and language development. The educational requirements to become a professional SLP starts with a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a related field such as communication sciences and disorders, and a master’s in speech language pathology accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.

You Are a Current Speech Pathology Student

Graduate SLP programs include both academic coursework and clinical practice. While gaining clinical experience, you will have the chance to explore various settings and seek out potential clinical fellowships and mentors. Clinical fellowships are designed to help SLP graduates transition from academic and clinical training to beginning careers as independent speech pathologists. You can apply for a temporary license with your state to practice speech pathology under the supervision of a licensed SLP.  

You Are a New Speech Pathology Graduate

New SLP graduates will begin putting their training into practice through a clinical fellowship. In addition to the clinical fellowship, passing the national Praxis Exam and other state exams are required to obtain your speech pathology license. This is also a great time to develop your support network and begin crafting your resume as you look toward career options to practice speech pathology.

You Are a Licensed SLP

Depending on the state, professional SLPs are expected to complete a number of continuing education hours in order to renew and maintain state licensure. Licensed SLPs can pursue careers in a variety of fields such as research, education and health care, so there is opportunity to change your work settings or grow into a different role. In this case, it would be helpful to review job interview tactics as you begin looking for different speech pathology jobs.

Last Updated June 2020