2020 Accredited Online Speech Pathology Degrees & Programs
Online speech pathology degrees are offered at 20 accredited colleges and universities. Speech pathology is the study and treatment of speech and language problems that can occur in both children and adults. Online degrees in the field are available at the bachelor's, master's, and certificate levels. In addition to the comprehensive list below, we highlight the best online master's in speech pathology programs, ranked based on tuition rates and alumni salaries provided by PayScale.
Prospective speech pathology students should pursue degree programs that have been accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA). In addition to accreditation, students should be aware of the professional certification and licensure requirements which vary by state. Certification and licensing can be sought upon completion of a degree.
Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Speech Pathology Degrees
Degree Overview & Career Information
Online speech pathology degrees are available at the bachelor's, master's, and certificate levels. Online bachelor's degrees in the field can provide a solid educational foundation for students interested in becoming speech pathologists. However, entry-level positions as speech-language pathologists and assistants require at least a master's degree. An online master's program, typically comprised of about 36 units, takes around two years to complete. An online certificate degree is also available for aspiring speech pathologist assistants, which can be earned with 24 units of coursework as well as eight hours of clinical training.
Online Associate Degrees in
Speech-language pathology (SLP), often referred to as speech pathology, is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of speech, language, voice, and swallowing disorders that may occur in both children and adults. SLP is considered an allied health profession, as speech pathologists are involved in the identification, treatment, and prevention of medical conditions. An online associate degree in speech pathology prepares students to become speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs), who work under the supervision of licensed speech-language pathologists (SLPs). SLPs may provide treatment or therapy for a wide range of disorders: some are classified as cognitive communication disorders and may be rooted in developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, while others (such as lisps) are classified as articulation disorders. SLPs also provide therapy and guidance for patients with vocal damage (e.g., vocal nodules).
Coursework in speech-language pathology programs includes the study of all physiological systems involved in hearing, speaking, articulation, and language comprehension. An online associate in speech pathology program will include core curriculum classes as well as major classes that focus on topics such as human communication and public speaking. Students may also study audiology, linguistics, and American Sign Language (ASL). These programs can be found at technical colleges, community colleges, and four-year institutions. An online associate degree in speech pathology usually takes two years to complete. Admission requirements typically include a high school diploma and transcripts.
After earning an online associate degree in speech pathology, graduates may be required to obtain licensure, certification, or become registered before working as an SPLA. In addition, they may also be required to complete a certain amount of continuing education hours every year to maintain their SLPA credentials. These requirements will vary by state. SLPAs are responsible for a variety of tasks, such as cleaning and preparing equipment, maintaining medical records, documentation, and standard therapeutic activities. Graduates may also choose to continue their education by pursuing a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in the field.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in
A career in speech pathology requires professional training to practice. Interested individuals will need to pursue a master’s degree or certification as a speech language pathologist assistant. To prepare for professional training, individuals interested in pursuing a career in speech pathology can first explore online bachelor’s programs in the field of communication sciences and disorders (CSD).
Online bachelor’s programs in CSD include coursework in liberal arts and sciences as well as courses related to speech, language, and hearing. Programs normally require at least 30 hours of major coursework focused on language development, speech and language disorders, anatomy, physiology, and diagnostic procedures. In addition, most programs require supervised clinical observation of diagnostic and treatment sessions with professional speech pathologists.
Online bachelor's degrees in communication sciences and disorders usually take four years to complete. Interested individuals can generally find these programs at large public institutions of higher education. Applicants will need a high school diploma or GED as well as ACT or SAT test scores. Admission to a bachelor’s program in CSD is competitive. Some programs do not admit students directly to the bachelor’s program and require at least a 3.0 college GPA through their first two years of general study. Because degrees in communication sciences and disorders are pre-professional and prepare students for graduate study, students may need to maintain a 3.0 GPA to graduate and typically need a GPA of 3.75 or better to continue their studies at the graduate level.
Online Master's Degrees in
Prospective speech pathologists will need a master's degree to practice in the field. There are multiple schools offering online master's degrees in the form of either a master of science or a master of arts. To learn more about online master's programs in speech pathology, see our master's overview which includes a list of the best programs.
An online doctoral degree in speech pathology is designed for working professionals who seek to further their knowledge, leadership, and problem-solving skills to advance in the field. Professionals holding a doctoral degree typically go on to work as clinical speech pathologists as well as conduct research. Others go on to work at colleges or universities to educate future professionals. A doctorate in speech pathology can be completed in three years as long as the student is attending full time; part-time students are likely to take around five years to complete their degrees. Typical programs consist of around 36 to 53 credits plus a dissertation with coursework in subjects like gerontology, genetics, supervision, evidence-based practice, professional writing, ethics in speech pathology, pediatric development, voice and swallowing, and survey research.
During the application process, an applicant must provide his or her master's degree transcripts indicating that he or she earned a GPA of at least 3.2 from an accredited school. Applications are also likely to require a resume showcasing relevant work experience along with two letters of recommendation by individuals who can attest to the applicant's likely success in the doctoral program. Applicants must also provide proof of current state licensure. Some programs will conduct an interview before admitting a student to the program.
Online Certificates in
Online speech language pathology certificates are primarily geared toward those already holding a bachelor's degree to provide them with further education and preparation for a career in the field. Some certificates enable students to provide speech-language therapy under the supervision of certified speech pathologists as assistants. After completing one of these online programs, students may go on to work as assistants to speech pathologists in a variety of settings—typically in schools, clinics, and rehabilitation agencies.
Students in an online speech pathology certificate program must usually complete 24 units of core coursework and an additional eight hours of hands-on clinical training. Required classes for online certificates often include those in speech and language development, speech and language disorders in children, speech and language disorders in adults, competencies and strategies, aural rehabilitation, and phonetics. In order to be eligible for admission, applicants must have previously earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and turn in all official transcripts. A letter of intent or a personal statement may also be required.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Speech Pathology Degree
Before enrolling in an online degree program, students should verify that their school is accredited. Accreditation helps to ensure that the quality of education received at a particular institution meets national standards. Accrediting organizations require that approved institutions participate in rigorous reviews and recertification to maintain accreditation. In addition to the academic benefits of attending an accredited institution, there are also financial benefits; only students who attend accredited schools are eligible for federal financial aid. Furthermore, those wishing to transfer schools or programs should note that most credits are only transferable if they were earned at an accredited school. Before choosing an online degree plan, students should also conduct in-depth research in their field of choice to determine what kind of credentials employers within the industry look for.
Programmatic accreditation is also important when looking for a speech pathology degree program. The Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) is the main accrediting body for speech pathology programs. The CAA examines a variety of areas within the academic program to assess its quality and effectiveness. These areas include administrative structure, faculty, academic curriculum, student assessment, and program resources. Education programs seek accreditation through CAA on a voluntary basis. Programs are then required to file annual reports showcasing continued compliance.
Speech Pathology Licensure
When choosing a program, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) advises prospective students to look for CAA-accredited schools. After graduating, students can apply for certification via ASHA's nationally-recognized Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP); however, students are only eligible to apply for this certification if they have graduated from a CAA-accredited program. It is important to note that this certification is different from licensure. While the certification is often preferred for practicing speech pathology, licensure is required in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia. Requirements can vary by state, so prospective students should be aware of their local requirements for licensure.
Careers in Speech Pathology
There are a variety of settings in which someone with an online degree in a speech pathology may find themselves working including private practice, healthcare facilities, and educational environments. Speech pathologists work with both adults and children to help treat a wide range of communication disorders. On a daily basis, they will evaluate and diagnose patients with speech or swallowing disorders and then work with them through counseling, activities, and other treatments to help improve their speech. Other tasks that a professional may encounter include conducting research to establish new and effective treatments, managing a private practice, researching human behavioral patterns to better understand the communication process, and working with employees to improve overall communication with clients.
- Accreditation. Council on Academic Accreditation. Accessed February 2018. http://caa.asha.org.
- Arizona State University. Accessed August 29, 2018. https://chs.asu.edu/programs/speech-language-pathology-assistant.
- University of Houston. Accessed February 2018. http://www.uh.edu/class/comd/programs/slpa/curriculum/.
- Arts in Speech-Language Pathology. University of Northern Colorado. Accessed February 2018. http://www.unco.edu/nhs/audiology-speech-language-sciences/programs/slp-online/.
- Entrance Requirements. Nova Southeastern University. Accessed February 2018. http://healthsciences.nova.edu/slp/doctor-speech-language-pathology.html?drop=EntranceRequirements.
- Graduate Admissions. WKU. Accessed February 2018. https://www.wku.edu/communicationdisorders/graduateadmission.php.
- Master of Science in Communicative Disorders. Tseng College. Accessed February 2018. http://tsengcollege.csun.edu/programs/CDS/programrequirements.
- Planning Your Education in Communication Sciences and Disorders. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Accessed March 2018. https://www.asha.org/Students/Planning-Your-Education-in-CSD/.
- ASHA State-by-State. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Accessed March 2018. https://www.asha.org/advocacy/state/.