Speech Pathology is a rewarding and fulfilling career. The speech pathologist works in a variety of settings such as schools, hospitals, and private practices. Their job is to help people with communication problems be able to learn to verbalize their thoughts in a way that others can understand. Depending on the setting, a speech pathologist may work with children with speech impediments, hearing challenged individuals, and people who have experienced a stroke or traumatic brain injury that affects their speech. Some speech pathologists work with people with autism and others with Parkinson's disease. Being able to help someone who was formerly unable to communicate finally be able to express themselves clearly is a rewarding career, and finding the right online degree program is essential. The best speech pathology degree programs online help students achieve their dreams conveniently and affordably. Ask the following questions when pursuing a speech pathology degree progam online.
Because getting your license as a speech pathologist requires at least a Master's degree, most programs will require at least a bachelor's degree. Depending on the program, a certain undergraduate degree, or at least some classes that are speech development-related, may be required. It is important to know what these requirements are.
Who is the accrediting body for your program?
The Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) is considered the most credible agency when it comes to accrediting programs for speech pathologists. Even if a school is accredited, a student needs to make sure that the speech pathology program also has recognition in order for the state licensing board in your state to allow you to take the required tests.
Does the program offer preparation for certification tests?
This may not be something you consider necessary but if the program does offer preparation classes, it indicates they are invested in their student's success and that will help determine the quality of their regular classes.
What are the graduation requirements?
Some programs may require hands-on experience. Many state licensing boards require a certain number of practical hours before they license a speech pathologist. If this is also a requirement of the program, the hours may be able to count toward both.
Who is responsible for setting up any required practical hours?
Sometimes a school will partner with your local hospitals to help you fulfill this requirement. If they don't, you will need to start early to find openings and get permission. You will also need to determine if the program you find meets the required conditions.
Will my financial aid options be accepted?
If the online speech pathology program is based in another state than which you live, some of your financial aid may not be accepted. It is better to know this in advance so you can seek out other options or arrange a work-study program if one is available.
How accessible are instructors for questions?
The more accessible professors are for extra help or to answer questions, the more likely you are looking at a program that is vested in student success and not simply a school hoping to graduate as many people as possible for profit.
Can I specialize?
If you feel your interest would lead you to work with a certain population, it may be possible to take extra classes directed toward that population. There may be specialized certificates or at least an advantage to taking classes in a particular area.