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How to Become a Speech Therapist

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A speech-language pathologist, or speech therapist, typically needs a master's degree. In addition, you must complete your state's licensing requirements to work in this career field.

Education and Training

During a master's degree program in speech pathology, you take classes in communication methods as well as age-specific disorders. These courses prepare you with a broad knowledge of the types of conditions that lead patients to seek speech therapy. A supervised clinical experience is an element of a master's program. This allows you to work closely with a veteran pathologist, where you can meet patients who present various symptoms and needs.

Certification and Skill Development

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that most states require you to have a license to practice speech pathology. A master's degree from an accredited program that includes clinical training is a common requirement for licensure. During education and training, you need to develop compassion and effective communication skills to listen to patients' concerns, understand their unique needs and prepare an effective therapy plan. Patience and detail-orientation are vital because many patients develop speech and language skills slowly.