Speech Pathology

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, schools, and via telepractice.


Quick Facts: Speech-Language Pathologists

2020 Median Pay

$80,480 per year
$38.69 per hour

Typical Entry-Level Education

Master's degree

Work Experience in a Related Occupation


On-the-job Training


Number of Jobs, 2020


Job Outlook, 2020-20

29% (Much faster than average)

Employment Change, 2020-30



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 in communication sciences and disorders or a related major with an emphasis in arts and science are commonly acceptable to be admitted into a speech-language pathology master’s program. Coursework in linguistics, phonetics, psychology, math, and general science are typical classes one would take. The student should contact the school to ensure that the required prerequisites are achieved to be admitted into the master’s degree program
  • Apply to a master’s or doctoral level graduate program. Check individual program but many use a standardized application service: https://www.capcsd.org/csdcas-participant-resources/csdcas-cycle-dates/
  • Once you complete your graduate degree, you will need to complete a fellowship, take a national board exam, and apply for certification in the state you wish to practice.


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

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

But, for example, Rutgers’ proposed Master’s will require the following:

Evidence of completion with a grade of B or better in the following undergraduate-level courses.

  • Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanisms
  • Introduction to Audiology
  • Neurophysiological Bases for Communication
  • Phonetics
  • Speech and Hearing Science
  • Speech and Language Development
  • Speech, Language, and Communication Disorders Across the Lifespan
  • Documentation of 25 hours of observation with an ASHA certified SLP
  • Additional coursework required includes one course in each of the following areas: biological, physical and social/behavioral sciences and statistics.


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?