The right online speech pathology graduate degree is different for everyone- it depends on your schedule, where you wish to practice, where you live, and how you learn best. To make the decision on what’s best for you easier, we have compiled a list of some of the factors you should take into consideration. Accreditation About half of states require an aspiring speech-language pathologist SLP to get his or her master’s in speech pathology from a program accredited by or equal to standards set by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and its accrediting body, the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA). It is important to know what your state requires in terms of accreditation so that you can choose a program that is valid for licensure in your state. Also, if you are interested in earning ASHA’s Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), you will need to attend a CAA accredited graduate SLP program. This certificate is only required by a handful of states, but according to ASHA it can make you eligible for salary supplements is some states and school districts even if it is not required. Not all online speech-language pathology master’s programs are created equal, so accreditation or pending accreditation is a good indicator that the program you are applying to is high quality. Live vs Non Live Classes Are you looking for classes where you can watch lectures in real time and ask professors and classmates questions? Some online master’s in speech pathology programs will offer synchronous courses like this, while others will be taught in an asynchronous format where you watch pre-recorded lectures or learn in a way that is not lecture based at all. There are also a few hybrid options available, where online learning and in class lectures are both part of the program. Think about how you learn best and choose an online SLP program accordingly. Field Placement Services The practicum is an integral part of a master’s in speech pathology, often requiring 400+ hours of work in clinical settings. Depending on the program, placement services typically offered to on campus students may not always extend to online speech-language pathology students living further away from campus. Online SLP programs offer varying levels of field placement services to help secure clinical sites for online students. Some programs will require that these students find placements on their own. Other programs will use the connections they have to find placements for online SLP students who are geographically close to the school, but may not have the ability to place students who are further away. There are also programs that are able to place students in a practicum site no matter where the student is located. Some online SLP graduate programs require that some practicum hours are completed at on-site clinics, so students may need to travel to the school for up to several weeks to complete those portions of the practicum. Think about what level of assistance you will want when securing your placements, and how much you are able to travel if you do indeed need to go to campus for portions of the online program. Full vs Part Time Part time online SLP master’s programs spread coursework out over more semesters as a way to allow you more time for work or other commitments. Remember that no matter what type of online program you choose, there is usually less flexibility during practicum components. You may need to either be away from work for several weeks at a time to get clinical hours in, or be able to work at a practicum site multiple days per week over a semester. Each program is different. Is the Program Offered in Your State? Some online master’s in speech pathology programs are only offered to in-state students, usually designed to address a shortage of speech professionals in the area. Other times, a program may be offered nationwide but might not be able to operate in a few areas due to legal reasons. Make sure you are eligible to participate in the programs you apply to based on your location. Fully Online Master’s in Speech Pathology Programs Below is a table comparing all of the ASHA accredited online graduate speech pathology programs. School Live Classes1 Mobile App (Offline Capable) Field Placement Services Nationwide Availability2 New York University Featured Program ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ California State University, Northridge ✓ ✓ East Carolina University ✓ ✓ Florida State University ✓ ✓ Idaho State University ✓ James Madison University Some ✓ ✓ Tennessee State University ✓ ✓ ✓ University of Akron ✓ University of Cincinnati ✓ University of Montana ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ University of Northern Colorado ✓ ✓ University of Wisconsin Eau Claire ✓ Western Kentucky University ✓ ✓ Last Updated: 4/25/18 1 Live classes are defined as classes where there are specific class times each week where students are able to log on and communicate with each other and the professor as the professor delivers a live lecture. 2 Programs that are considered nationwide may be unable to operate in specific states. Always check to make sure that you can enroll in an online program from the state you are in. Local programs are designed for students who live in state or within a certain radius of the school, often to address an SLP shortage in that area. Online Master’s in Speech Pathology Program Descriptions New York University, Steinhardt, Master’s in Communicative Sciences and Disorders Semester Hours Required: 48 Full or Part Time: Both Time to Complete: 7-10 semesters, not including “foundation” courses that are akin to prerequisite requirements in other programs GPA Requirement: 3.0, 3.2 in Communicative Sciences Disorders (CSD) specific courses On Campus Requirements: Two 3-4 day on campus clinical immersions that will serve as your first 2 practicum requirements Featured Program California State University Northridge, Tseng College, Master of Science Communicative Disorders Semester Hours Required: 61 Full or Part Time: Part time Time to Complete: 3.5 years GPA Requirement: 2.5, but above a 3.5 in CSD related coursework is suggested On Campus Requirements: None East Carolina University, College of Allied Health Sciences, MS Communication Sciences and Disorders Semester Hours Required: 54 Full or Part Time: Full time Time to Complete: 3 years GPA Requirement: 3.0, 3.2 in SLP prerequisite courses On Campus Requirements: Orientation in July. If unable to be matched to a clinical residency, some practicum hours may need to be completed on campus Florida State University, School of Communication Science and Disorders, Master’s Program Semester Hours Required: 60 Full or Part Time: Part time Time to Complete: 3 Years GPA Requirement: 3.0 On Campus Requirements: None Other: Must be a resident of Florida to enroll in this program Idaho State University, ISU Meridian Health Science Center, Master of Science Speech-Language Pathology Semester Hours Required: 60 Full or Part Time: Part time Time to Complete: 3 years GPA Requirement: 3.0 On Campus Requirements: 8 weeks during the first summer of the program and 1 week during the second summer of the program. James Madison University, College of Health and Behavioral Studies, MS in Speech-Language Pathology Semester Hours Required: 45 Full or Part Time: Part time Time to Complete: 3 years GPA Requirement: 3.25 On Campus Requirements: Students must be on campus for new student orientation and for a practicum requirement during the second summer Some courses in the program are completely synchronous with live courses featuring professor/student interaction. Other courses do not require live online lecture attendance Tennessee State University, College of Health Sciences, Master of Science in Speech and Hearing Science with a Concentration in Speech-Language Pathology Semester Hours Required: 53 Full or Part Time: Part time Time to Complete: 8 Semesters GPA Requirement: 3.5 On Campus Requirements: May be required to go to campus for exams or activities best completed on campus. Two summer clinical practicum experiences are completed on campus University of Akron, School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology Semester Hours Required: 63 Full or Part Time: Part time Time to Complete: 8 Semesters GPA Requirement: 3.0 On Campus Requirements: None Must be within a few hour radius of the program University of Cincinnati, College of Allied Health Sciences, MA in Communication Sciences and Disorders Semester Hours Required: 65 Full or Part Time: Both Time to Complete: 3 years GPA Requirement: 3.0 On Campus Requirements: Orientation at the beginning of the program Must be within a few hour radius of the program University of Montana, Phyllis J Washington College of Education and Human Sciences, Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders Semester Hours Required: 68 Full or Part Time: Both Time to Complete: 2 years full time, up to 5 years part time GPA Requirement: 3.0 On Campus Requirements: Students must be on campus for the first clinical practicum Synchronous classes are completed at the same time as on campus students. You are able to interact with the class during lectures University of Northern Colorado, College of Natural and Health Sciences, Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology Semester Hours Required: 63 Full or Part Time: Part time, so you can fulfill the requirement of working as an SLPA as you complete the program Time to Complete: 3 years GPA Requirement: 3.0 On Campus Requirements: Students must be on campus for two weeks in July during the first summer University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, College of Education and Human Sciences, Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders Semester Hours Required: 45 Full or Part Time: Part time Time to Complete: 3 years GPA Requirement: 2.75, 3.25 in CSD coursework On Campus Requirements: Students must attend 3 one-week residencies, 1 per summer Western Kentucky University, College of Health and Human Services, Master of Science in Communication Disorders Semester Hours Required: 60 Full or Part Time: Both Time to Complete: 3-12 semesters GPA Requirement: 3.5 On Campus Requirements: Students are required on campus for 1 six week clinical internship and for a clinical externship as well Why Get a Masters in Speech Pathology Online? Flexibility Online speech pathology master’s programs offer you the flexibility to go to class wherever you are. During semesters where there are no clinical hours, online SLP curriculums often make it easier to balance work and class. Many programs have options to go to school full or part time so you can choose a schedule that works best for you. Competitive Accredited online speech pathology graduate programs have to meet the same standards as on campus programs- meaning that they will offer curriculums with the same rigor required by both ASHA and many state licensure boards. These programs often have on campus counterparts, sourcing the same curriculums and even faculty. Aside from the fact that you can be in class and in your home at the same time, some programs are essentially the sames one that you would experience on campus. Demand for Speech Pathologists is High It is a good time to become a speech pathologist, with demand for the profession growing 18% in the next 10 years (twice the national average), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth is due to a number changes occurring across all age groups: The baby boomers are growing older, and strokes, dementia and other illnesses associated with aging will increase the occurrence of speech-language disabilities in older Americans. The increase in autism diagnoses has led to a need for more SLPs to treat social communication disorders in schools. A higher awareness of stuttering and other speech impairments in children has increased the need for SLPs in school aged children. Medical advancements are improving survival among premature babies and stroke victims, two populations who are more likely to have speech disorders. Because of the high demand, a speech pathology graduate degree may offer job security. Wide Range of Career Options Speech pathology careers offer a variety of experiences – you can work in different settings, with different populations, and can choose to focus on a wide or narrow range of communicative science disorders. A master’s in SLP is certainly a degree where you can either see something new every day, or choose to master a specialty that interests you. Rewarding Communication is an essential part of life – how we express feelings, bond with others over conversation, and create plans to work towards our goals and dreams. It can be very rewarding to help others who are not able to speak so easily to communicate in ways they previously weren’t able to, or recover lost communication abilities. With every client in speech pathology, you are helping someone speak, swallow, organize their thoughts, or improve communication in another way that greatly impacts his or her life. SLPs Need a Graduate Degree To become an SLP in any state, you need at least a master’s degree in the field, so pursuing this degree is essential.