How to become a Speech therapist

  • To become a speech therapist, one should complete an entry level education (high school diploma or general equivalency diploma or GED degree) before enrolling in a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders program. One should select a speech therapy program based on the state’s licensing department. The undergraduate in speech language pathology are offered at universities and research colleges. Apart from completing speech therapy programs, some candidates also earn fellowship degree to promote their careers as advanced speech therapists. The entry level education to become a speech therapist is to pursue master’s degree. Preferred graduate degrees include either a Master of Science (MS), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Education (MEd) or Master of Health Science (MHS). Keep reading for more information about how to become a speech therapist.

  • In fact, to become a Certified or Registered speech Therapist, one should ensure that the speech therapy program is accredited by the part of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA). It has been reported by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that the candidates pursuing a graduate degree in speech therapy programs should complete a clinical practicum and college coursework. Moreover, the candidates pursuing speech language pathology degree program take courses in various health fields such as microbiology, anatomy, age-specific speech disorders, alternative communication methods, physiology and swallowing disorders. In addition, the graduates of speech therapy programs should be well trained to evaluate the patient condition and perform diagnostic procedures. They should guide and support the emotionally demanding patients. Speech language pathologists should communicate with the patients about the diagnoses, test results, and proposed course of therapy.

    Moreover, one should complete a specific coursework in speech therapy program by learning various types of subjects in order to gain work experience in a clinical setting. Various schools offer different speech therapy courses. The speech therapists are trained to treat the conditions related to language, speech, stuttering and voice. One should study basic subjects like human anatomy, physiology, child language disorders, neurological-based speech disorders, stuttering, adult language disorders, acoustics, dysphasia, and development of speech and language related parts of the body. The coursework also includes general health care topics such as create and start treatment programs, language development and function, and methods to counsel the patient and support their families. One should complete clinical training in speech therapy by working on patients under the direct supervision of a licensed and trained speech therapist.

    One should obtain a license on passing an examination officially conducted by the state certification board. Certificate can be obtained by passing a speech-language pathology national examination officially conducted by the Praxis Series of the Educational Testing Service. The candidate can then obtain the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology after graduating from a program accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association such as the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.

    Read more about What does a speech therapist do.

    Why to become a speech therapist ?

    There has been a sudden hike in demand for the speech therapists as the number of people with speech related disorders has currently increased and thousands of therapists are employed immediately on completion of their accredited speech therapy programs. This is also due to increasing number of speech therapy clinics that offer affordable speech therapy services to large number of patients of all age groups. Moreover, one can have a lucrative and respected career by treating speech related disorders and by improving an overall state of wellness in patients. In addition, one can start earning soon after completing their masters’ degree and after gaining hands on experience in speech therapy training program.

    Currently, the speech therapists are at a higher demand than before and according to the BLS, the employment for them is more likely to increase by up to 23 percent by the year 2010 to 2020. Speech therapists tend to get new job openings due to faster than the average growth of speech therapy services in future. Apart from receiving competitive salary, one can gain more salary benefits by becoming a certified speech therapist.

    Moreover, the due to the aging of baby boom population in future, there is more incidence of health conditions that cause speech or language impairments, such as hearing loss and strokes. There is an increased demand to create awareness of speech and language disorders, such as stammering or stuttering in younger children. Hence there is an increased demand for speech therapy services and treatments thus, increasing the job opportunities at mostly hospitals and nursing homes.

    In addition, the assistance and support from speech-language pathologists plays a key role towards improving the state of patients suffering from strokes and trauma; and to enhance the standard of premature infants, whose survival rate has been improved by the recent medical advances.

    Speech therapist requirements

    What are the requirements to become a speech therapist ? Speech therapists should first complete an entry level education (school or GED equivalent degree) before enrolling in a bachelors’ degree in a speech therapy program such as pre-professional speech-language pathology or a related field. One should complete a bachelor’s degree in speech therapy that is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA), which is a part of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Those aspiring to advance their careers as advanced speech therapists should mandatorily pursue graduate degree. One can also pursue fellowship degree as well if planning to improve job opportunity.

    In general, one should select a speech therapy graduate program that is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. On completion of program and after gaining enough practical experience, the candidate becomes eligible to obtain the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

    The speech therapist should possess a minimum entry-level credential of either a master’s degree or gain 2 years of hands-on speech therapy care and training experience. Then, the candidate should pass a certification exam to become a certified speech language pathologist. Moreover, one can become a certified speech therapist by the completion of a master’s degree program in speech language pathology from an accredited school and by passing the exam. One can gain the Certificate of Clinical Competence officially from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association on successful completion of advanced education, exams and training experience.

    Speech therapist training

    The training program for a speech therapist includes the following course subjects: one should complete a typical educational coursework that includes medical subjects like human anatomy and physiology of speech and hearing. Moreover, one should learn the undergraduate subjects like pathophysiology, communication disorders, articulation disorders, normal language development, phonetics, audiology, diagnostic methods, behavioral neuroscience, language disorders of children, disorders of hearing, clinical observation and clinical practicum. The courses included in master’s program include aural rehabilitation, fluency and stuttering, modification of articulation, acquired language disorders, swallowing disorders, motor speech disorders, advanced clinical practicum, research design and a research project. The education and training for a certified speech language pathologist initially focuses on speech disorders, procedures to treat speech related conditions, patient care, diagnostic tests, and applying clinical practice through hands on experience.

    Speech therapist certification

    On completion of program, one should learn whether the state requires certification. One should apply to the exams, the national examination on speech-language pathology offered by the Praxis Series of the Educational Testing Service. On receiving a passing score, the speech therapist can receive the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Alternately, one can obtain the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association to become a certified speech therapist and earn a license to practice.

    Speech therapist degree and education

    To become a speech therapist, one should complete an entry-level education (high school diploma or GED or its equivalent) before enrolling in a bachelor’s degree in pre-professional speech-language pathology or a related field. One should graduate from a four-year bachelor’s degree in a program followed by the enrollment of master’s degree program in speech pathology accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The program curriculum can include both theory classes and clinical procedures. The state certification can be obtained by passing a speech-language pathology national examination officially conducted by the Praxis Series of the Educational Testing Service. The candidate can then obtain the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology after graduating from a program accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

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