Why earn a speech therapist degree online?
Gain clinical contact hours that will give you the real-world expertise you need before you graduate.
Learn to care for diverse populations with communication and swallowing disorders.
Career placement support
Have access to the same resources as on-campus students.
Browse accredited online SLP programs New
Master's in Speech Pathology
What can you do with a speech pathology master’s degree?
As life expectancy increases and early intervention for children with speech, language, and cognitive disorders become more prevalent, speech language pathologists are needed and valued more than ever. Speech-language pathologist (SLP) is currently ranked no. 10 on U.S. News & World Report’s 100 Best Jobs List,¹ and employment in this field is projected to grow 29% between 2020 and 2030.²
Speech-language pathology is a foundational area of study within the field of communication sciences and disorders (CSD). SLPs assess, diagnose, and treat communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults. An online master’s in speech pathology program prepares aspiring practitioners to pursue certification and licensure as speech-language pathologists.
As a student in an online SLP program, you will learn to deliver life-changing support and care to individuals who live with autism, aphasia, language and literacy challenges, motor-speech disorders, and more. You will be able to practice in a variety of settings including public and private schools, rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Admission requirements for a master’s degree in speech pathology
Both traditional and online SLP programs require a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university to apply. While admissions requirements vary by university, common requirements include:
Letters of recommendation
Depending on the master's program, your application fee may be waived or reduced if you meet certain deadlines. Additionally, some programs do not require GRE scores.
Online SLP programs generally offer the same curriculum as their on-campus equivalents, meaning, you will earn the same degree as on-campus students. A typical speech language pathology curriculum includes both academic and clinical coursework.
Academic courses will explore graduate-level communication disorder topics such as aphasia, language and literacy disabilities, social communication development disorders, speech sound disorders, and fluency disorders. If you do not hold a bachelor’s degree in communication and sciences disorders (CSD), most online SLP programs offer foundational courses to prepare you for graduate-level courses.
All accredited speech-language programs include supervised clinical experiences that allow you to apply your learnings from the online classroom to real-world settings. Clinical practicum hours vary by state, but some SLP programs will defer to ASHA requirements.
Most of our online SLP programs offer on-campus opportunities as well. In these on-campus immersions, you will connect with your peers and faculty while practicing hands-on application of concepts in supervised settings.
Master’s in speech pathology jobs
When you complete your online SLP degree program, you will have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings and advance into leadership roles.
SLPs employed in educational settings — such as early intervention, preschool, K-12, and college — conduct screenings and diagnostic evaluations for individuals and small groups. In healthcare settings, SLPs serve as members of multidisciplinary treatment teams and provide counseling to patients and their families. SLPs in private practice work with clients of their choice, allowing for flexibility and specialization. In corporate settings, SLPs help clients with presentation skills, social communication, accent modification, and more.
Graduates could go on to assume leadership positions such as director of rehabilitation, senior speech-language pathologist, staff speech-language pathologist, clinic/field placement director, and clinical supervisor.
Which states have the highest speech pathologist salaries?
Speech pathology jobs are in high-demand² with high earning potential to match. The median annual SLP salary in 2021 was $79,060.³ California offers the highest paying salary for a speech-language pathologist at an annual salary of $102,650. New York follows with an annual salary of $98,850.⁴ The two top-paying settings for speech-language pathologists are in hospitals (local, state and private) and nursing and residential care facilities.
How to become a speech pathologist online
Speech-language pathologists play a significant role in cognitive, social, and language development of their clients. An online SLP master’s program will prepare you to step into this critical role. Here are the technical skills you will need to master as an SLP:
Research (basic and evidence-based)
Collaboration with other professionals
While you can learn these technical skills through coursework and clinical practice, it is also necessary to embody the appropriate soft skills for a long-lasting, impactful career. Here are ideal qualities of an SLP:
Good communication skills
A combination of these hard and soft skills will take you far in your career as a speech therapist. And more importantly, they will help you improve the lives of your clients.
Find the best online program for your speech pathology career
With some research, you will be able to find the online SLP program that works best for you. Here are factors to you may consider before you apply to the program of your choice:
School prestige: Decide if the mission, values, and reputation of the university and its online SLP program aligns with you.
Accreditation: Make sure you choose a program that is accredited and valid for SLP licensure in your state.
Length of study: Choose an online master’s program that suits your schedule. Search for programs with full-time and part-time options.
Clinical placements: Gain hands-on SLP experience with supervision from expert SLPs and unlimited guidance from mentors.
Graduation rates: Compare graduation rates to find the highest quality SLP program for you.
Career outcomes: Explore the future of speech-language pathology and discover current employment rates.
Frequently asked questions
While the Council on Academic Accreditation does not identify specific courses by name, it does require a master’s program to include content and opportunities that highlight the following areas: Foundations of Speech-Language Pathology Practice; Identification and Prevention of Speech, Language, and Swallowing Disorders and Differences; Evaluation of Speech, Language, and Swallowing Disorders and Differences; Intervention to Minimize the Effects of Changes in the Speech, Language, and Swallowing Mechanisms; and General Knowledge and Skills Applicable to Professional Practice.
Online SLP programs allow you to complete foundational and core courses in an online classroom. However, students have to attend on-campus immersions and complete clinical practicum hours in real-world clinical settings to satisfy program requirements.
Yes. An accredited master’s degree program is required for a career in speech pathology. In order to practice as a speech-language pathologist, you have to pass the national exam and apply for licensure. A master’s degree in speech-language pathology will prepare you to achieve these two steps.
The path to becoming a licensed speech-language pathologist is not always linear. To become an SLP, you will need to earn an undergraduate degree, complete a master’s degree, pass the Praxis Examination in Speech-Language Pathology, complete your post-graduate clinical fellowship, and apply for state licensure and certification. This could take six to nine years. Ultimately, the time length will vary based on your own pace and personal commitments outside of study.
A speech pathology master’s program generally takes two years to complete, give or take. However, the length of time depends on if you are completing the program on a full-time or part-time schedule, and if you have to take foundation courses before starting graduate-level courses.
The median annual wage for speech-language pathologists in 2021 was $79,060.⁵ This will differ based on location, specialty, work setting, years of experience, and more.
¹ 100 Best Jobs. (2022). U.S.News & World Report. Retrieved on July 27, 2022, from https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/rankings/the-100-best-jobs
² Job Outlook. (2022). Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved on May 17, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/speech-language-pathologists.htm#tab-6
³ Summary. (2022). Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved on May 17, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/speech-language-pathologists.htm#
⁴ Occupational Employment and Wages - Speech Language Pathologists. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved on May 17, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291127.htm#