MS in Speech Pathology
MS or Master of Science in Speech Pathology is typically a 2-year program with coursework, research, and hands-on training in clinical, educational, or medical environments through Practicum or Internship. In most cases, application of this degree requires additional certification/s or licensing as well.
Specializations in Speech Pathology Programs
A Master’s in Speech Pathology online is a broad approach to speech impairments. Specializations are therefore essential to focus on one or more key areas and study, research, and work on them. Some specializations that a Master’s in Speech Pathology student would qualify for are:
- Fluency Disorders: those who stutter while speaking.
- Phonological Disorders: Those who have issues with speech and language that stem from the brain.
- Voice/Resonance Disorders: those who need to relearn how to speak due to an injury, disease, or surgical complication.
- Swallowing Disorders: those who need to learn to swallow correctly or regain the ability to swallow after a stroke or brain injury.
- Child Language and Language Disorders: Those having language difficulties typically found in children.
- Feeding Issues: preemies in the NICU who need to overcome breastfeeding or bottle-feeding issues.
- Articulation Disorders: Those who have speech impairments associated with structural issues in the body (motor disorders).
- Aural Rehabilitation: Those who have lost part or all of their hearing and have to learn or relearn speech (usually in partnership with an audiologist).
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Those who find and learn to use adaptive communication methods (often technological).
Students who wish to dedicate themselves to research can also choose from a wide range of specific areas of communication disorders, including but not limited to:
- Language Processing
- Speech Perception
- Speech Science
- Hearing Science
- Language and Literacy
- Aural Rehabilitation Methods
- Developmental Disorders
- Autism and Language Development
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Speech Pathology Online Programs
The Master’s in Speech Pathology degree offers students unique clinical and academic opportunities. The curriculum of this degree is crafted around a core of critical competencies and has a broad array of elective courses as well. In many cases, Colleges allow the use of community resources to provide students with an experience in a variety of real-life scenarios. Additionally, there are also research opportunities available to students in areas such as autism, speech-sound disorders, cognitive neuroscience, and more.
In broad terms, there are common courses in a Master’s in Speech Pathology online program, but they too can vary by college. The list of featured Speech Pathology courses/subjects below is only indicative of what one is expected to learn in this Master’s Program:
- Voice Disorders
- Motor Speech Disorders
- Anatomy and Speech
- Neurogenic Communication Disorders
- Communication Disorders
- Language Development
- Craniofacial Abnormalities
- Language Disorders in Children
- Principles of Intervention
- Assessment and Intervention of Language Impairments in Preschool and School-Age Children
In addition to core courses, students are required to complete at least three elective courses, 2 in the field of language disorders in children and 1 in language disorders in adults. Again, these mandates can vary by college and program.
Many Colleges also insist on some Practicum or Internship in Communication Disorders each semester. (It is recommended for students to check with Program requirements as they differ considerably.)
Graduates of a Master’s in Speech Pathology are trained to handle a complete range of human communication and swallowing disorders across all age groups. Some of the skills students would have learned by the end of the program are:
- How to evaluate, diagnose and treat speech, language, communication, and swallowing disorders.
- How to provide training and education to family/caregivers and other professionals.
- How to provide counseling and consultative services.
Accreditation for Masters in Speech Pathology Online Programs
A Master’s in Speech Pathology online program is of no use to anyone if the program is not accredited. Accredited Speech Pathology programs are not only important for further specializations, but they are also usually a basic requirement to work as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Never overlook accreditation for a Master’s in Speech Pathology online Program. Almost all top universities are accredited by the CAA or Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. They are designed to meet the academic and clinical requirements of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA).
Timeline for graduation from Masters in Speech Pathology Online Programs
Most Masters in Speech Pathology online Programs last 2 to 3 years. There are accelerated programs that combine a Bachelor’s Degree with a Master’s Degree, which takes five years to complete, instead of 6 years. Colleges that emphasize credits often require a minimum of 48 semester credit hours, not including fieldwork. If time and money are constraints, students have the option of enrolling for part-time Masters in Speech Pathology online programs that can take anywhere from 3 to 7 years to complete.
Masters in Speech Pathology Online Programs Admission Requirements
The basis for admission to a Master’s in Speech Pathology online program is a BA (Bachelor of Arts) or BS (Bachelor of Science) Degree, usually in Speech-Language Pathology or Communication Science and Disorders. A BA or BS in any other field may require certain prerequisite courses to be undertaken, such as:
- Articulatory Phonetics
- Anatomical and Physiological Bases for Speech & Language
- Speech Science: Acoustic Phonetics
- Language Acquisition Across Life Span: Early Years
- Audiology – Hearing Science
- Introduction to Communication Disorders Across the LifeSpan
In other Speech Pathologist education requirements, students are usually asked to present a brief Personal Statement describing their interest in the field and career objectives, official transcripts, a GRE score, academic or professional letters of recommendation, and sometimes a Résumé as well. Needless to say, a completed application form and its requisite fee are also a must.
Grad school requirements for Speech Pathology vary by program. Therefore, students are advised to conduct their own research on getting into SLP grad school by reading the published program guidelines.