There are different circumstances where people need help to be able to communicate with others.
During childhood, or even at an adult age, accidents or illnesses might affect how the person articulates words or how they put words together in order to communicate.
In the next few sections, we’ll check some of the most important facts about Speech Therapy, Speech-Language Pathologists, and how much it costs to become one.
Table of Contents
- What Is Speech Therapy?
- What Is a Speech-Language Pathologist?
- Where Can a Speech Therapist Work?
- What Do I Need to Become a Speech Therapist?
- How Long Does It Take to Become a Speech Therapist?
- How Much Does It Cost to Become a Speech Therapist?
What Is Speech Therapy?
Speech Therapy refers to the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of any disorder that affects our communication, speech, language, or our ability to swallow.
Some of the most common speech disorders are articulation disorders, fluency disorders, and voice disorders.
Among language disorders, there are cognitive-communication disorders, expressive disorders, and receptive disorders.
As previously mentioned, these disorders can develop in the early years of a person’s life or can be a consequence of certain illnesses or accidents that affect a person’s capability to communicate.
What Is a Speech-Language Pathologist?
Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) or Speech Therapists are professionals that have a profound knowledge of speech, language, and swallowing disorders and can therefore assess, diagnose, provide treatment and prevent those problems.
Educating and offering training and tips to family members of the affected person is another main responsibility of a Speech Therapist.
Where Can a Speech Therapist Work?
There are various settings where Speech Therapists can work, and it will depend on the therapist’s interests or preferences.
The most common areas are healthcare, education, and research.
What Do I Need to Become a Speech Therapist?
If you want to become a Speech Therapist, you will have to obtain a Bachelor’s degree and then a Master’s Degree.
Getting a PhD is optional, although it could be necessary if you want to focus on research or education, for instance.
You first need to gain a BA (Bachelor of Arts) or a BS (Bachelor of Science) degree in a related area, such as language development, linguistics, psychology, or communication sciences and disorders.
Choosing between a BA and a BS will vary according to what you want to focus on most, if you’re more inclined to humanities or science.
In this case, you also have two options, an MA (Master of Arts) or an MS (Master of Science), depending again on your preferences and educational background, as well.
Since obtaining this postgraduate degree is one of the requirements in order to eventually become a Speech Therapist, the Master’s degrees are usually called Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology.
These programs also have substantial clinical experience besides theory and classes.
Clinical Fellowship Year
A Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) is a mandatory internship and another important requirement to become a Speech Therapist.
During this year, the work will be supervised by a certified Speech Therapist, which will help to improve the knowledge and skills the future therapist already has.
Pass the Praxis Examination In Speech-Language Pathology
This exam has been developed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) with the assistance of the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which also manages other important exams.
This exam allows you to get the certification and state licensure, as well, so it’s definitely a must.
Certificate of Clinical Competence
After passing the exam, you’ll need to apply for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP).
This credential means that you have successfully completed all the academic and clinical requirements to become a Speech Therapist.
You’ll need to apply directly to ASHA to get this certificate.
The requirements will vary depending on the state you want to work in, as well as the area where you wish to develop your career.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Speech Therapist?
On average, it could take between 7 and 8 years to become a Speech Therapist studying full-time.
If you can’t dedicate all your time to your studies, though, it could take longer.
How Much Does It Cost to Become a Speech Therapist?
The total cost of becoming a Speech Therapist will mostly vary according to the state where you live and the university where you wish to study.
The cost of a BA or a BS can greatly differ depending on the major you choose.
A Master’s degree in Speech-Language Therapy can cost from $4,000 to $65,000.
This mostly depends on the type of degree you select (online or on-campus) and the university you prefer.
The Speech-Language Pathology Praxis exam costs $146, while the Certification including ASHA membership, costs $511.
If you decide not to get the membership, then the certificate will cost $455.