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Speech Pathologist Degree Requirements

Kundan Pandey
Education and training are vital to become a successful speech pathologist. Know more about this in the contents of the story that has been mentioned further.
Human beings are blessed with the unique and exceptional gift of speech communication. Unfortunately, some of us are unable to enjoy this gift effectively due to several voice or speech related disorders that may be inborn or it developed during the childhood years.
Speech pathologists, speech therapists or speech-language pathologists are the professionals who're entrusted with the task of helping such people who have hosts of voice or communication related disorders.
Most of the speech pathologists work in elementary, primary and secondary schools with kids who have fluency, speech rhythm, cognitive-communication, voice, and swallowing problems.
Voice related disorders can stem from brain injuries or medical problems like developmental delays or disorders, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, hearing loss issues or emotional disturbances. If you're an individual who is keen to help such people, then a mere desire to do so won't suffice.
You've got to be willing to become a trained professional in handling voice and communication problems. Ready to help kids and people with communication related disorders, you need to be trained properly. Right education will empower you to make a difference in lives of numerous people who're struggling to gain control over their communication faculties.

How to Become a Speech Pathologist - Degree Requirements

In almost all the US states, it is mandatory for prospective speech pathologists to obtain special certifications before they can officially diagnose and treat speech related disorders in younger and older patients. Moreover, before one graduates towards applying for state licenses, it is essential to satisfy all the degree requirements.
To obtain speech pathologist jobs, an individual is expected to have some minimum qualifications. Speech pathologists are expected to have sufficient clinical practice and internship experience so that they can successfully apply for higher educational programs.
The field of speech communication and speech therapy is very competitive and candidates willing to make a mark in this field must strive towards gaining good exposure.

The Stepping Stone - Seek a Bachelor's Degree

Although, it is great to have a master's degree in speech pathology for better employment opportunities, a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for getting an entry-level job in this profession.
To obtain a bachelor's degree in speech pathology from an accredited graduating school, an aspirant must hold a high school diploma besides scoring satisfactory marks in the ACT or SAT exams.
During the graduation years, students are exposed to multitude of subjects covering the basics of speech pathology, language development and speech disorders.
It is expected of students to master fundamentals of speech therapy during graduating years so that when they go for higher education, the concepts are crystal clear. Internships and work experience matter a lot in the graduation years.
The graduating school must have accreditation from the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.

Add Another Feather in Your Cap - Obtain the Master's Degree

Right after graduation, one can apply for master's degree in speech pathology and similar core specialties. Some may prefer to work as language pathology assistants, treatment plan coordinator and researchers in organizations dealing with speech disorder patients.
Gaining some work experience before one proceeds to seek a master's degree is a welcome move, as it helps prospective speech pathologists to gain practical work experience. It is your individual decision (along with your parent's suggestions) if you wish to pursue a master's degree just after your bachelor's degree or you want to gain some work experience.
For post graduation in speech pathology or similar core specializations, it is not essential to have a degree in speech pathology but a degree in speech pathology helps greatly, as one is already exposed to the subject matter.
Prospective speech pathologists who wish to seek a degree in master's programs are expected to submit their GRE scores (if the college demands so) while filling application form for different colleges giving a postgraduate degree. The course and subject matter taught in master's programs is extensive and deals with lots of clinical experience.

Be What You Always Wanted to Be - Obtain License and become a Professional

After completion of the postgraduate degree, one needs to appear for standardized exams known as the Praxis Exam in Speech-Language Pathology conduced by the Educational Testing Service. In some states, license requirements are also dependent on 300 - 375 hours of supervised clinical practice and 9 months of clinical experience in postgraduate years.
You have got to inquire at your State Department of Education office for detailed rules and regulations. There are also several national level certifications through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). An individual can also choose to go for doctorate programs after post graduation or after some years of work experience.

Competitive Earning Potential

The salaries of speech pathologists are dependent on several factors, chief among them being the number of years one has worked and the type of employer (private/public) one has worked for. On an average, a fresher in this field has the potential of earning anywhere between US$60,000 to US$77,000 per year.
Salaries generally increase with work experience and can shoot up to as high as US$97,000 with few years of work experience. Established speech pathologists who continue their learning and education are able to move up the ladder at managerial positions in speech therapy organizations.
Well established speech pathologists with 15 to 20 years of work experience can earn as high as US$100,000 - US$120,000.
Candidates willing to become successful speech pathologists must develop virtues of patience, deep understanding and compassion for teaching people with speech disorders as working with them can be very time-consuming and challenging.
After completing the aforementioned requirements, an individual can apply for several jobs in the speech therapy profession. Skilled speech pathologists are in demand and those interested in this field must make efforts to succeed in it.