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Speech-Language Pathologist: How To Become One?

Speech-Language Pathologist

Whether talking, chewing, or swallowing, you use your mouth and throat to do many things each day. However, when difficulties arise due to health issues such as strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, or even birth defects in children, a speech-language pathologist can make quite a difference.

A career that is expected to be fast-growing over the next decade and pays an average salary of $80,000 annually, here’s how to become one.

Get Your Bachelor’s Degree

To begin your career as a speech-language pathologist, you’ll need to obtain your Bachelor’s degree in a related field. Popular sites like Speech Pathology Graduate Programs.org are a good place to kickstart your journey.

Most often, this means majoring in communication sciences and disorders. However, a major in such fields as biology, communications, social work, or other related fields is also acceptable.

Prepare for Graduate School

Since you will need at least a Master’s degree and possibly even a Doctorate degree to be a speech-language pathologist, start preparing early for graduate school. To do so, get related work experience while getting your Bachelor’s degree, have a high GPA, and obtain recommendation letters from professors and others who know you and your work ethic.

Find a Good Graduate Program

While you are preparing for graduate school, start taking a close look at various schools that offer a Master’s level speech language pathology degree that will best fit your needs and career ambitions. To do so, you can scan such sites as Education Degree or use the EdFind Tool offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Pass the GRE Test

To get into graduate school, you’ll need to pass the GRE Test. However, to get into the best schools, you’ll not just want to pass it, but do exceptionally well. Therefore, plan on studying for many hours prior to test day.

Complete a Clinical Fellowship

Upon obtaining your Master’s degree, you should try to complete a clinical fellowship. Along with providing invaluable experience, it can help you to network with others in the field, increasing the chances of you being offered a position.

Certifications and State Licensing

Since being successful as a speech-language pathologist depends on having the appropriate degrees and professional certifications, you should make this a top priority while completing your clinical fellowship. Whether you plan to work for others or have decided to open up your own practice, there are several things you have to do.

The first step is to take and pass the Speech-Language Pathology Praxis Exam, which is a national test that demonstrates you understand key content and current professional practices within the field. Also, gain certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and become licensed by your state so that you can practice independently.

Read also: How To Excel In A Nursing Degree Online And Offline

Though it takes a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication to become a speech-language pathologist, the rewards are worth the effort. Along with having a stable career and an excellent salary, you will be working in a career field that can literally change people’s lives for the better. Whether you work with senior citizens or with children, you’ll make a difference each day.

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