What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?

Speech language pathologists work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults. Speech language pathologists practice in hospitals, private practice, and schools.


Quick Facts: Speech-Language Pathologists
2021 Median Pay $79,060 per year
$38.01 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Master's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Internship/residency
Number of Jobs, 2021 159,800
Job Outlook, 2021-31 21% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2021-31 34,000


From U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/speech-language-pathologists.htm


How do I become a Speech-Language Pathologist?

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree, taking prerequisites for SLP master’s or Ph.D. programs as part of your major or elective/core requirements. Many common prerequisites can be completed as part of a Linguistics major at Rutgers.
  • Observe ASHA-certified SLPs in different employment settings (private practice, schools, hospitals) to learn more about the field. Many programs look for 25 hours of guided observation experience with an ASHA-certified SLP. Keep a log of your hours, including the name and ASHA number of the SLP you observe and location and date of the observation.
  • Apply to a master’s or doctoral level graduate program. Check with individual program, but many use a standardized application service: https://www.capcsd.org/csdcas-participant-resources/csdcas-cycle-dates/

What prerequisite courses do I need to take to apply to Speech-Language Pathology programs?

Prerequisites vary by program. You can research requirements for specific programs here: https://find.asha.org/ed#sort=relevancy/

Many of the common prerequisites can be taken within the Linguistics department at Rutgers as part of a Linguistics Major. The prerequisite for these courses is Ling 201, Introduction to Linguistic Theory. Additional science courses may also be required.

For more information, see Speech and Hearing in Linguistics or contact the Linguistics Undergraduate Program Director for questions: undergrad (at) linguistics.rutgers.edu.


How long are Speech-Language Pathology programs?

Master’s degree programs generally last about 2 years, doctoral programs will be longer.


How much do Speech-Language Pathology programs cost?

Costs vary but can range from about $15,000 year to around $30,000 per year.


What GPA do I need to get accepted into a Speech-Language Pathology program?

Most require a minimum 3.0 but average GPA for admissions may be much higher.


What standardized tests to I need to take to apply to Speech-Language Pathology programs?

Most require the GRE


What other requirements are there for Speech-Language Pathology programs?

Depending on the program, application essay and letters of recommendation.


Where can I find more information?

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association has extensive information for undergraduates, including: