To get along in society, we need to be able to communicate as clearly as possible. If we can’t understand what someone is saying, then it’s going to be very difficult to have a productive conversation with them. There are a variety of reasons why someone might have a speech sound disorder, including things like development disorders and hearing loss. Most children can say all sounds in English by age 8. If they can’t, they may need assistance, and the field of speech pathology offers a rewarding path to providing such assistance. Speech pathologists commonly work in schools or similar settings, typically with young children. However, adults can also have speech issues that need to be addressed.

Speech pathology degrees

If you want to become a speech pathologist, you first need a bachelor’s degree in speech or a related field, but a bachelor’s degree alone isn’t enough to get you a job. You’ll need to obtain a master’s degree or perhaps even a doctorate degree to make it as a speech-language pathologist. Luckily, there are numerous ways to obtain those degrees. If there’s a traditional school in your area that offers the program, then you can attend classes on a physical campus and work your way towards a degree that way. However, not everyone has access to such programs within reasonable driving distance, and that’s where online degree programs enter the picture.

Reputable universities like Emerson College and New York University offer students the chance to take classes online and obtain the proper credentials. While online universities are a great option for many, they require a different kind of motivation than you’ll need if you’re taking classes at a brick-and-mortar campus. You’re much more in control of the online education process, and that can act as both a blessing and a curse. Let’s say an assignment is due by 5 p.m. on Wednesday. There’s no chance for you to show up to a classroom and ask questions, which means you’ll have to take the initiative to email your instructor and get clarification on anything that confuses you about the assignment. Traditional college classes might allow you time to work on assignments in class, but when you’re an online student, it’s up to you to carve time out of your schedule to ensure the work gets done.

Obtaining certification

Once you’ve fulfilled all the requirements and received your degree, you’re good to go, right? Not quite. You still have to get licensed to practice as a speech therapist in your state. Every state has different requirements. You can probably find out more information about those requirements by Googling “[state name] speech pathologist license” or something similar. For instance, Washington requires that you provide proof of education and postgraduate professional work experience, and you also have to pass something called the PRAXIS exam.

Such requirements may seem daunting, but don’t let them stop you from achieving your dream of helping children and adults who struggle with speech issues. It’s a challenging career, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Simply by helping people, you’re sending them out into the world with a better, more confident sense of who they are and what exactly they’re capable of accomplishing.