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How to Become a Speech-Language Pathologist

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How to Become a Speech-Language Pathologist. Speech-language pathologists treat people who have speech, language or voice disorders. They work in public and private facilities such as hospitals, schools and convalescent homes. A master's degree is required for entry into this field.

Peruse the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Web site (asha.org) for in-depth information about the speech-language pathology field.

Obtain a bachelor's degree in a communication sciences and disorders program. Research colleges offering such programs by going to the Petersons.com or Princeton Review (review.com) Web sites.

Maintain at least a B average in college, preferably an A. You will be facing strong competition for entry into graduate school.

Send for catalogs from accredited schools offering advanced degrees in speech-language pathology. Click on the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) Web page, within asha.org, for a list of the institutions.

Contact your top choices for their policy on the Graduate Records Examination (GRE). Some schools require that test and a minimum score for admission.

Ask your grad school advisor about the exact licensing requirements in your state. Several hundred hours of clinical experience, passing a national examination, and about nine months of postgraduate work are usual prerequisites for obtaining a license.

Plan to receive the ASHA's Certificates of Clinical Competence (CCC) after you gain solid experience.

Tip

Be aware that your grad school training will include difficult courses such as anatomy, psychology and physiology. Your interpersonal skills are extremely important, as you will often be communicating with family members as well as the patient. Read publications about the field on a regular basis.

Warning

You must be patient to be effective in this career. A patient's progress may be frustratingly slow for both of you.

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