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How to Become a Speech Pathologist

Master's degree

Certain speech-language pathologists specialize in working with particular age groups including children. Most require a master's degree and a license.

Education & Training

Typically, a master's degree is required for speech language pathologists. Even though master's programs do not require a specific undergraduate degree to be considered for admission, some classes must be completed prior to entering a program.

Courses commonly included in speech and language development include: swallowing disorders, speech disorders that are age specific, classes in language development and alternative communication methods. Supervised clinical experience is a part of the program.

The CAA or Council of Academic Accreditation is a part of the American Speech Language Hearing Association. This council provides accreditation education courses focused in speech language pathology. Certification relies on graduating from an accredited program and these graduation requirements are often necessary for licensure.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most places require licensure for speech language pathologists. A license needs a minimum of supervised clinical experience along with a master's degree. In order to obtain a license, graduation must be obtained from an accredited master's program.

The CCC-SLP or Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech Language Pathology is offered by the American Language Hearing Association. Certification satisfies all or some of the requirements for licensure and certain employers prefer it.

Individuals seeking work in schools may require specific teaching certification.

Skills and Qualities that will Help

Analytical skills: Speech language pathologists need to choose the best diagnostic tools and analyze the results accordingly to determine an accurate diagnosis. These factors are used to create an appropriate plan for treatment.

Communication skills: Speech language pathologists must communicate diagnoses, test results and specific treatments in a manner that patients and their family members can comprehend.

Compassion: Speech language pathologists often work with individuals who are frustrated with their condition. It is necessary to offer emotional support to demanding clients and their family members.

Critical-thinking skills: Speech language pathologists must adjust their treatment plans as required; considering alternative methods for helping their patients.

Detail oriented: Taking detailed notes regarding patient progress and treatment is required by speech language pathologists.

Listening skills: It is necessary to listen to a patients concerns and symptoms in order to determine the appropriate type of treatment.