Language is the tool of communication. It is the means by which people are able to interact with others, and thus build relationships of any kind. However, the ability to use this tool is severely lacking in some people due to several impairments.
Speech disorders are more common than a lot of people think, and can limit the quality of life of the affected. Hence, speech therapy or speech-language pathology exists as the key to ensuring that patients are able to live well, and perform properly in both their personal and professional lives
Your work as a Speech Therapist, or Speech-language Pathologist (SLP) will involve use of different methodologies to cater to the needs of the patients, which could manifest in communication disorders, voice pitch problems, swallowing difficulties,etc. All in all, this is a great way to effect change in the world, and more people are encouraged to participate.
How to Become a Speech Therapist?
There are many bachelor programs that train you to become one, and post graduate degrees, that help you specialize or hone your skills in a particular aspect of speech therapy. Usually to kickstart your career, you require not just a bachelor’s degree, but a Master’s degree, along with a license, supervised internship program, and a pass grade on a national exam. This journey isn’t easy, but completely worth it.
No matter what school you end up at, the courses taken are designed to help you become an SLP that can provide help to those in need. There’ll be practical ways to learn about, and deal with any speech disorders, in diverse patients. These courses involve educating you on speech, its anatomy and physiology, which will serve as a foundation to build on in your journey to becoming a Speech-language Pathologist. Even better, with the awareness that more and more people suffer from speech disorders, the demand for SLPs is growing, so getting a job wouldn’t be a problem.
Best Courses for Speech-Language in Different Universities
If you’re interested in making a career path out of this, then this section will highlight the programs available in named universities to guide you properly as you get started.
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Here, we have a Speech & Hearing sciences program. It is a short program that caters to students who have degrees outside of this field, but are interested in switching career paths. It’ll only last about 1 year, with you taking only courses particular to this field, as you’ve already met the general education requirements.
There are four quarters, and you’ll be required to take three courses in Spring, Fall and Summer, and four in Winter. Courses include, Introduction to Speech & Hearing Services, The Nature of Sound etc. The average cost for this degree is about $18,360.
University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts
Here, we have a B.Sc in Communication Disorders. This program focuses on educating the students on the normal processes of different functions in the body, such as hearing, speech and language. It then teaches evaluation of, and solution to communication disorders.
You’ll be required to take 40 credits of mandatory courses such as Phonetic Processing, Introduction to Audiology, etc. You could also take other non-mandatory courses which are necessary for success, e.g., Clinical Observation and Theory of Sound.
Here in the University of Massachusetts, a letter of specialization is offered to graduating students to enable them become SLP assistants while waiting to start their Master’s degree. This helps them gain some professional work experience which will come in handy when they kickstart their own practice. The average cost of tuition is about $22, 540.
New York University, New York City, New York
Here, we have a B.Sc in Communicative Sciences and Disorders. It is an interdisciplinary degree that has been drawn from Physiology, Psychology and Linguistics. Students will also take liberal arts classes, and are exposed to clinical work, in line with their chosen career path.
There’s about 128 required credits to pass this full-time program. Also, the physiology class here is pretty great, as they make use of the cadaver lab at the Langone Medical Centre to help you properly understand the human body. This degree would cost about $40,055.
University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
Here, we have a BSEd in Communication Sciences and Disorders. The program is one of the best around, and highly rated with strict requirements. Students must have spent 2 years at the main university, before admission into this program. To apply, a minimum of 3.2 GPA is required, along with a top essay, and prerequisite classes taken in Math, English and Science.
Courses include Speech and Language development and disorders, Autism and Social Communication disorders, Hearing sciences and aural rehabilitation etc. In total, you’re required to take 33 credits, and will be part of a model where students are put into groups to work together throughout the program. The average cost of tuition for this degree is about $16,339.
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
The bachelor’s in Communication Disorders program here focuses on preparing students for their Master’s program, and essentially, their career. You’re required to complete 58 credits, and take three pre-major courses: Principles of Statistics, Human Anatomy (with laboratory work), and Intro to Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
Students don’t need to write a thesis, or take a comprehensive exam, or any minors. Classes you’ll be taking include Clinical Phonetics, Descriptive Acoustics of Music and Speech, etc. There’s a National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, which is very functional in BYU, and bridges the gap between students and professionals. The average cost for this degree is $13,820.
Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas
If you’re interested in quality hands-on experience, then the B.Sc in Speech Language Pathology offered here is your best bet. You’re required to take about 43 credits in your major, 18 credits in related electives, and graduate with a CGPA of at least 3.00.
Courses you’ll major in include Aural Rehabilitation, Audiology, as well as Language Disorders in Children. The program here is top-notch and equally demanding. You’re also required to finish with a minimum of grade C in all COSD coursework, and complete a minimum of 25 hours of supervised clinical observation, plus 20 hours of clinical practice. The average cost for this degree is $39,044.
California State University, Long Beach, California
Here, we have a B.A in Speech-language Pathology. Students are made to understand healthy developments in swallowing, speech, communication etc, various causes of speech deficiencies, and prepared for graduate training as SLPs.
The quality of this program is evident in the fact that most of their students pass the highly rated Praxis Test. Students will be required to take a combination of lower division and upper division classes, such as Speech and Hearing services, Phonetics, etc. The average cost for this tuition is $10,477.
University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont
Here, the B.Sc in Communication Sciences and Disorders program requires students to supplement their majors witlh minors, and they are encouraged to take the linguistics and special education minors, even though they can choose any.
The classes taken are to teach critical tools needed for excelling in this field, and expose you to different disorders and the best ways to deal with them. Some of these classes include, Development of Spoken Language, Linguistics for Clinicians, Culture of Disability, Augmented Communication, etc.
The average cost of tuition for this degree taken in one of the most beautiful places in the world, is $20,056.
Towson University, Towson, Maryland
Here, we have the Speech-language Pathology & Audiology. This is a screened major, meaning only top applicants are taken. It’s a four year program with initial classes like Introduction to Human Communication, then, Phonetics of American English, with the final years focusing on specific areas of practice and research work.
The program offered is in an excellent faculty, with small class sizes ensuring team work, and that each student is guided accordingly. Get into the flourishing SLP market via this program that costs about $16,848.
Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Here, we have a B.Sc in Speech-language and Communication Disorders. This high-rated program will educate the students on the concepts and principles of Speech, language, and disorsers. They’ll be equipped to look at this from a scientific and critical approach founded on research work. Classes include, Basics of Human heredity, as well as education on the past and present of SLPs, and what the future holds.
NSU offers distance learning opportunities which should come in handy, as well as Master’s programs to help you specialize better. The average cost of tuition is about $27,287.
The courses described above are the best of the best for your Bachelor’s training as you work to become an SLP and effect change in the lives of many.