How to Become a Speech-Language Pathologist

Becoming a speech-language pathologist takes a lot of hard work, but it is doable for anyone with the necessary dedication.

There are several specific steps to achieve on the road to getting licensed as a speech-language pathologist. After completing these steps, your career as a speech-language pathologist will be ready for takeoff.

Completing a Bachelor’s Degree

To begin the process of becoming a speech-language pathologist, it is necessary to first obtain a bachelor’s degree from a four-year undergraduate university.

The most specific degree major for becoming a speech-language pathologist is Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD), which is provided by over 200 universities across the country.

A CSD major will teach many different classes on behavioral and anatomical sciences, plus statistics and linguistics.

This degree is the most optimal for preparing for the necessary master’s program, but it is not mandatory for entering the next step. While learning CSD in university, there may be real-world research and working opportunities included in your program.

Completing a Master’s Degree in a CAA-Accredited Program

After receiving your bachelor’s degree, the next step is to get your master’s. However, the choices are not infinite because your degree needs to be from a program that is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, also known as the CAA.

Its requirements include certain essential classes from your undergraduate degree, including courses like physical science and statistics. You will need to also bring a 3.0 GPA and a letter of recommendation to your master’s program from your undergraduate degree.

Moreover, other requirements to move to the next step from your accredited master’s program are to obtain a certain amount of hours of supervised experience in a speech pathology clinical setting. The exact number of hours varies from state to state.

Performing a Fellowship After Your Master’s Program

After you complete your master’s program, the next step is to do a yearlong fellowship with a temporary speech pathology license. You can apply for a temporary license from your state if you present your master’s degree along with the authorization of a licensed speech pathology professional.

The fellowship allows you to gain the necessary speech pathology work experience to eventually get licensed. The exact timing requirements of the fellowship are different between states, but most have their regulations match the standards of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Take The Standardized Exam for Final Licensing

In order to apply for and receive your full state speech pathology license, you need to pass the Praxis II: Subject Assessment in Speech-Language Pathology. Though many people take the Praxis test during their fellowship year, it is still possible to take it afterward.

This is the final step before being granted your state speech pathology license. The exam covers a diverse array of subjects relating to speech pathology that are all learned throughout previous education.

Apply for And Get Your State Speech Pathology License

After passing the Praxis exam, you are ready to apply for your state license. The requirements are simply your Praxis score, application fee, graduate degree transcripts, and a background check. After this, you are officially a speech pathologist and can work in full practice.

Completing your SLP certification requirements is a long path with much hard work, but with interest and dedication, anyone can do it.

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