Guide / Degree Program Overview

Master’s Speech-Language Pathologist Programs Overview - 2024

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 1st, 2024

What is a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP)?

A master’s degree in speech-language pathology is a graduate-level program that prepares individuals to become licensed speech-language pathologists and also prepared to earn a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) if they wish to do so. This program typically takes two years to complete and includes coursework and clinical training in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of speech, language, and communication disorders.

What is involved in a standard Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology Program?

To begin with, this overview is geared toward individuals who already have completed an undergraduate education in a communication sciences and disorders discipline. It’s certainly okay if you majored in another discipline for your bachelor’s degree program, but you may be required to complete Speech-Language Pathology leveling education. Leveling is additionally required coursework that prepares to you for your graduate coursework. Most SLP programs will provide opportunities for leveling, but you will need to discuss this with the program coordinator.

SLP Education Categories

Education Course Requirements: ~45 semester hours of SLP Education
Clinical Practicum Hours: ~400 hours of supervised clinical hours
Examinations: National Praxis Examination

Typical SLP Courses:

Below is a non-exhaustive list of common courses and experience completed during a speech-language pathology master’s program. For more in-depth information on the substance of common courses, see Standard Curriculum of a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology.

  • Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) Evaluations and Interpersonal Practice
  • Speech Sound Disorders
  • Birth to 5 Language Disorders
  • Aphasiology
  • Dysphagia
  • Fluency Disorders
  • Augmentative Communication and Severe Populations / Talking with Technology
  • Voice Pathology
  • Acquired Adult Language Disorders
  • Acquired Cognitive Disorders
  • Neurogenic Speech Disorders
  • Resonance Disorders
  • Autism and SLPs
  • Bilinguals with Communication Disorders
  • Research Experience (with a faculty mentor)

What can you do after completing a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology?

Completing a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology can open up a wide range of career options in the field of communication disorders. Here are some potential career paths:

  1. Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP): This is the most common career path for individuals with a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. SLPs assess and treat individuals with communication disorders, including speech, language, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders. They work in a variety of settings such as schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and private practices.
  2. Clinical Educator: Clinical educators work in universities and colleges to teach future speech-language pathologists the skills needed to work with patients with communication disorders. They also provide clinical supervision and mentorship to students during their clinical practicum.
  3. Researcher: Individuals with a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology can pursue a career in research. They can work in academic institutions, government agencies, or private research organizations to conduct research on communication disorders and develop new interventions.
  4. Clinical Coordinator: Clinical coordinators work in healthcare facilities to manage speech-language pathology programs. They oversee the day-to-day operations of the program, manage the budget, and supervise the SLPs and support staff.
  5. Private Practice Owner: Individuals with a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology can start their own private practice. They can provide assessment and treatment services for patients with communication disorders, as well as offer consultation services to schools and other healthcare facilities.
  6. Telepractice SLP: Telepractice is the delivery of speech therapy services via the internet. SLPs with a Master’s degree can work remotely, providing therapy services to clients in their homes, schools, or other settings.

How to select the Master’s in SLP program that’s right for you?

When selecting a specific Master’s degree program in Speech-Language Pathology, there are several factors to consider. Here are some attributes of a Speech-Language Pathology program that can make it better than others:

  1. Accreditation: It is important to choose a program that is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). Accreditation ensures that the program meets the highest standards of quality and prepares students for the national certification exam.
  2. Clinical Experience: Look for a program that offers a variety of clinical experiences. A good program should provide students with hands-on experience working with patients in different settings such as schools, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers.
  3. Faculty: Look for a program with experienced and knowledgeable faculty members. The faculty should have a strong background in Speech-Language Pathology and be actively engaged in research and clinical practice.
  4. Curriculum: Look for a program with a curriculum that covers a broad range of topics in Speech-Language Pathology, including assessment and treatment of various communication disorders, as well as coursework in related fields such as linguistics, psychology, and neuroscience.
  5. Technology: A good program should incorporate technology into the curriculum, as technology plays an increasingly important role in Speech-Language Pathology. Look for a program that uses cutting-edge technology in assessment and treatment, as well as for teaching and learning.
  6. Support: Look for a program that offers academic and career support, such as tutoring, advising, and job placement services.
  7. Reputation: Look for a program with a good reputation in the field. Talk to current and former students, as well as professionals in the field, to get their opinions on the program.

How much does a Master’s in SLP typically cost?

The cost of a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) can vary depending on factors such as the institution, location, and whether the student is an in-state or out-of-state resident. According to data from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the average cost of tuition and fees for a Master’s degree program in SLP for the 2020-2021 academic year was around $26,000 for in-state residents at public institutions and around $43,000 for out-of-state residents at public institutions. Private institutions tend to be more expensive, with an average cost of around $50,000 per year for both in-state and out-of-state residents.

It is important to note that these figures are only for tuition and fees, and do not include other expenses such as textbooks, clinical materials, and living expenses. In addition, some programs may require students to purchase clinical equipment or pay for travel to clinical sites, which can add to the overall cost of the program.

It is always a good idea to research the specific costs of the programs you are interested in, as well as any financial aid options that may be available. Many universities offer scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid to help offset the cost of tuition and fees.

Do I need a GRE score to apply for a Master’s in SLP and what scores would I need?

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is not always a requirement for admission to a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology program. However, it is important to note that admission requirements can vary among institutions, and some may require or recommend GRE scores as part of their application process.

If GRE scores are required or recommended, the scores needed to gain admission to a Master’s in SLP program can also vary depending on the institution. Generally, a competitive GRE score for admission to a Master’s in SLP program is considered to be around 150-155 in both Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning, and a 4.0 or higher in Analytical Writing.

It is recommended that you research the admission requirements of the specific institutions you are interested in and reach out to their admissions office or program director for more information on their specific GRE score requirements. It is also important to keep in mind that GRE scores are just one factor in the admission process, and other factors such as letters of recommendation, essays, and experience in the field may also be taken into consideration.

How long does a Master’s degree take to complete?

A Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology typically takes about 2 years to complete. However, the length of the program may vary depending on the specific program and the institution offering it.

Some Master’s programs in SLP may be designed to be completed in less than 2 years through an accelerated curriculum or by offering classes during summer or winter sessions. Other programs may be designed to be completed in more than 2 years by offering part-time options or by requiring a thesis or additional coursework.

It is important to review the specific program requirements and curriculum to determine the expected length of the program. It is also important to note that the length of the program may affect the total cost of the degree, as longer programs may require additional tuition and living expenses.