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Online Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology

After a stroke or brain injury, a person may develop speech, language, or swallowing disorders. Some people may also be born with difficulties speaking or hearing because of a developmental delay, cleft palate, or cerebral palsy. And over time, hearing loss can naturally occur. For any of these instances, speech language pathologists can help. Sometimes called speech therapists, they diagnose, treat, and help to prevent any speech, hearing, or swallowing disorders in patients. A masters degree in speech language pathology is necessary to enter the profession and become certified and can take two to three years to complete, depending on the program, how many classes a student can take at once, and whether the student has the requisite undergraduate courses.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Speech Language Pathology

During an online masters degree in speech language pathology, students will learn the knowledge and practice the skills necessary to work in all types of clinical settings, such as schools, health care facilities, or patients’ homes, and with all types of clients, from infants to the elderly. Classes would teach students how to assess, diagnose, and treat age-specific speech disorders and swallowing disorders, as well as alternative communication methods. Courses you may take during a masters degree in speech language pathology include:

  • Instrumentation in Audiology
  • Anatomy and Physiology of the Auditory and Vestibular Systems
  • Audiologic Assessment
  • Human Communication and Aural Rehabilitation
  • Vestibular Physiology and Testing

Additionally, an online masters degree program in speech language pathology would require a certain number of hours spent working in a clinical practicum or externship. This allows students to practice what they’ve learned in a supervised environment, such as a school setting or hospital. Students may also have to undergo oral comprehensive examinations following this externship experience.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Speech Language Pathology

A master degree in speech language pathology is vital to joining the practice. In most states, speech-language pathologists must be licensed or certified, which generally requires a master’s as well as clinical experience to be eligible. Once properly credentialed, most speech therapists find work in schools. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, 44% of speech language pathologists were employed by elementary and secondary schools, followed by offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists (15%); hospitals (13%); nursing care facilities (4%); and home health care services (3%).

Job prospects are very encouraging for the profession, as employment of speech language pathologists is expected to grow by 23% through 2020, according to the BLS, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is anticipated due to the aging baby-boom population, which would result in more instances of health conditions that cause speech or language impairments, such as hearing loss or strokes, thus resulting in the need for more speech language pathologists to treat these conditions. On the other end of the age spectrum, increased awareness of speech and language disorders in younger children should also increase the need for speech language pathology services, especially for those specialized in treating that age group. Additionally, patients requiring help from speech language pathologists are expected to rise as medical practices advance, improving the survival rate of premature infants and victims of strokes and other trauma.

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