Speech pathologists diagnose, evaluate, and treat communication and swallowing disorders. For example, this would include working with patients who have speech difficulties following a stroke or brain injury, or working with children with delayed language development. Speech pathologists might be employed by public or private schools, hospitals, short and long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, government agencies, and community clinics.
It is possible to earn either a MS or PhD in speech pathology, or a doctorate in audiology (Au.D.). The MS degree is required for national certification, and enables one to practice as a speech pathologist. The PhD generally leads to an academic career, which may involve research in the field.
Required courses. Requirements vary by program. But many programs require the following:
Human Anatomy and Physiology
Wake Forest offers a minor in Linguistics. Linguistics is the scientific study of human language, how words are formed and organized, and their meanings. Any student wishing to study speech pathology should consider the linguistics minor. The minor requires 15 hours. Courses include:
LIN 150 Introduction to Linguistics
LIN 301 Semantics and Language in Communication
LIN 301 Introduction to Psycholinguistics and Language Acquisition
LIN 350 Topics in Linguistics (sometimes includes phonetics)
Also recommended: Courses in Math, Counseling and Education
Graduate Record Exam (GRE): The general test is required.
Years of post-graduate education required: The MS program in speech pathology is generally 2-3 years. The PhD program is another 2-3 years.