Speech-language pathology is a growing field in the health industry that allows you to help different people ranging from children to the elderly.
Speech disorders can affect someone at any age, so you may work with a variety of patient populations.
As a speech-language pathologist, you can prevent, evaluate, diagnose and treat many language, speech, communication and swallowing disorders.
Coming up I will be sharing all the reasons you need to get a Master’s Degree for Speech-Language Pathology.
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With this in mind I put together this quick guide on the reasons to get a master’s degree in speech-language pathology.
In the U.S., the regulations that govern the field of speech-language pathology require a master’s degree from an accredited institution to become a licensed speech-language pathologist. This degree is necessary if you want to be able to practice in the U.S. and work in different settings.
According to legal regulations, some insurance will not cover seeing a speech-language pathologist unless this person is licensed and has a master’s or doctoral degree in the field. Although licensing requirements vary from state to state, they all require a person to have an additional degree after the bachelor’s degree.
The first step to becoming a speech-language pathologist is to obtain an undergraduate degree. Most people choose to get a degree in communication sciences and disorders (CSD). More than 200 colleges offer this type of bachelor’s degree in the U.S.
This type of degree covers a variety of topics, including communication, language disorders, physical sciences, mathematics, social sciences and other classes. Each program is unique and may have its own requirements for graduation. Although the communication sciences and disorders major is not required for getting a master’s degree, it is helpful as you consider which major to choose.
You will need to complete a master’s degree that is accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Council on Academic Accreditation for Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). Once the degree is complete, you will receive a temporary license valid for a year.
You can choose from a Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees in this field. You can also choose to attend classes in person or find an online Master of Science in speech pathology program. For example, Maryville University’s M.A. in speech-language pathology is accredited.
Once you have completed a master’s in speech pathology online or in person, the next step is to do a post-graduate fellowship. You can usually begin this process after you have received the temporary license. The license is valid for one year, which is long enough to finish a fellowship.
Requirements vary from state to state, but most require 1,260 hours or 36 weeks. This is about 35 hours per week. During this time, you should be mentored by a certified speech-language pathologist and have at least 80 percent clinical contact.
If you plan on working another job or have a family, you will need to carefully plan out your work-life balance with apps, journals or other resources. Passing the fellowship is essential to move to the next step.
You must take the Educational Testing Service’s (ETS) Praxis II: Subject Assessment in Speech-Language Pathology exam. Although you can take the exam at any point after the master’s degree, you may want to wait until you have started the fellowship or are close to completing it.
The exam covers a variety of topics, including professional practice, legislation and client advocacy, feeding and swallowing disorders, communication disorders and many other areas. It is a comprehensive evaluation of your skills and knowledge, so you must prepare by studying extensively for it.
After the successful completion of the Praxis exam, you can apply for a state license. This requires a fee for the application, master’s or doctor’s degree transcripts, Praxis exam scores and a criminal background check. Upon receiving your state license, you will have to keep up with continuing education requirements based on your state’s rules.
You can choose to apply to receive the Speech-Language Pathology Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC-SLP) from the AHSA. This is a voluntary certification, so you can practice without it. However, having this certificate may open more career doors for you and may lead to more prestige or money down the road.
A master’s degree in speech-language pathology allows you to work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, residential health care and other settings. Working in schools is another popular area with many choosing to help students from pre-kindergarten to high school. Whether you choose a hospital or a school setting, your career will be fulfilling and busy.
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