There are four requirements to earn a speech therapy degree: meet the application criteria, select the appropriate school, pay the tuition, and complete the coursework. A speech therapy degree program is available from a broad range of universities and community colleges. This type of degree provides training in speech development, working with speech impediments, and how speech is processed in the brain. These programs may be listed as speech language pathology in the academic calendar.
In order to gain acceptance into a speech therapy degree program, there are specific application criteria that must be met. Candidates must have successfully completed high school courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and English. The number of applicants for speech therapy degree programs is decreasing, as people move toward other health science related positions, where there is a greater demand.
When selecting a school for a speech therapy degree, it is important to review three main items: reputation, breadth of program offerings, and internship opportunities. A school with an excellent reputation has dedicated significant money, time, and resources to the program over a period of years. Look at the qualifications of the professors, their areas of expertise and research. Review recent publications in speech language pathology magazines and journals to learn more about their philosophies and approach. Read the school website for detailed biographies.
Internship and cooperative job placement opportunities are critical to gaining valuable experience. When selecting a school, this may be the most important item to consider. Speech therapy programs with free clinics or connections to local hospitals or schools can provide a wider range of potential opportunities and greatly improve your resume.
A speech therapy degree is one of the less expensive programs and is typically the same price as a bachelor of arts degree. Talk to your academic adviser about scholarships, student loans, bursaries, and grants to help reduce this cost. When selecting a school, look for ones that have a strong health sciences faculty, as it will increase the opportunity for inter-discipline learning.
The coursework for a speech therapy degree is a combination of theory and application. The theoretical courses focus on how the brain processes sound, the communication center, the psychological impact of speech issues, and common speech disorders. The application portion of the courses focus on interpersonal counseling, methods to engage clients at all ages, and how to work with people who have experienced a sudden loss of speech.
While the quality of the training program is very important, the most critical element required to earn a speech therapy degree is the level of effort by the student. Even the most basic training program can create top caliber candidates if the student is dedicated, hard working, and focused. Think about how much work is required and be prepared to apply yourself to the best of your abilities.