Are you planning on becoming an SLPeep? Congratulations, you’ll join the ranks of over 160,000 Speech Language Pathologists in the US! In order to best prepare you for this career path, we’ve outlined the steps necessary to become an SLP, as well as the requirements Humanus looks for in SLPs.
Background and Work Settings
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), Speech Language Pathologists (aka Speech Therapists) “work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults”. They are most often placed in school settings, but can also be found in research and healthcare settings with various roles, responsibilities, and client types. In this type of position, you’ll be expected to work collaboratively with a team including teachers, audiologists, social workers, physical/occupational therapists, and many others depending on the client.
The first step is obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders, or a related degree with an emphasis in arts and sciences. Luckily, there are over 300 colleges and universities in the United States that offer these programs.
Next, you’ll need to earn a master’s degree. On average, it will take 2 years of full-time study to earn a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology. The degree program must also be accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. Both academic and clinical coursework is involved, as well as clinical practicum experiences.
When applying to Graduate school, keep in mind that it is very competitive. Be sure to read over each program’s requirements carefully.
As part of the education requirements, you’ll need to complete 400 hours (25 hours of observation and 375 hours of direct contact) of supervised clinical experience. Afterwards, you would move into your Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY). This consists of 36 full weeks of full time clinical practice (1,260 hours). Finally, you must earn a passing score on the Praxis Exam in order to obtain an ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) in Speech-Language Pathology, a state license, and a state teaching certification.
If you’re interested in working in research, a private practice, or as a college professor, you’ll need to earn a doctoral degree. This will take 2-3 years beyond obtaining a Master’s degree, on average.
Find a Job
Once you have all of your degrees and certifications in order, it’s time to put them to good use and find a job. A majority of SLPs will apply to their local school systems. However, a third-party staffing agency like Humanus is another great way to find the latest employment opportunities in your area. Another option is to scour job search sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and LinkedIn.
Keep in mind that in order to renew your license and keep your certifications, you will be required to take a certain number of Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
Interested in working with us to find a job? Here are the requirements we look for in our SLPs:
- Masters in Speech-Language Pathology or Communication Disorders.
- MUST have completed a 9-month Clinical fellowship following completion of Master’s program.
- State-licensed Speech Language Pathologist.
- Certificate of Clinical Competence/ASHA Certified.
- If school-based: School Speech Language Pathologist Certification.