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How do I become a speech/language pathologist for children?

I am in high school and want to know:
- Where can I find a Christian college that offers programs for my major?
- What steps do I need to take after college to be able to work or run a clinic?
- What specific classes will help me reach my goals?
- Do I need Calculus? Will it help with getting my degree as soon as possible or is it unnecessary?
- How much math is needed in this career?

Thank you for taking the time to answer! It is much appreciated.

Thank you comment icon Hi Macie, How wonderful that you are interested in Speech Pathology. Why are you interested? If you have the opportunity to shadow one, please do (it may be tough because of privacy laws, but not impossible). Also volunteering with children is another way to see how it would be to work with kids or adults. Ms. Pelle below has answered your quest quite well! I work with kids and adults and enjoy both, each are a bit different. Good luck!!! Elena Gasca, MS CCC-SLP

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Margaret’s Answer

Hello! I completely agree with the above two answers and only have a few details to add. First, if you’re not able to find a Christian school/grad school CSD program, I would encourage you to explore the option of a graduate program that accepts students from non-CSD backgrounds. Some programs are always designed this was and have a track of the program specifically designed for those without a background (e.g. Syracuse University). Again, it’s an idea to keep in mind if you’re unable to find the Christian school programs you were hoping for. I came to this career a little later than some (mid-late twenties) so I did not have a CSD background. Some grad programs said they would figure something out for me, but personally that made me nervous—I wanted spring more certain since grad school is not cheap. So I was a without-a-background student. It only added a couple of semesters and I appreciated the structure. Second, if you’re not already, I would encourage to be open to going to school out of state. It’s important not to settle and you can always get your Florida license(s) when you move back. Third, I would suggest volunteering in some capacity with the age group you’d like to work with, shadow SLPs if possible, etc, anything related that will help boost your school application. Lastly, I work in NYS in a nursing home and I wish more than anything that I was conversational/able to speak medically in Spanish or Russian. We have so many patients who speak those languages and I know I’m not doing enough for them simply by virtue of needing to use a translation app. So if you can take another language and becomes conversational and know how to talk about medical topics as well (still very much applicable with children/school settings) then you would be in a wonderful spot.
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Briana’s Answer

Hi, Macie!

- Where can I find a Christian college that offers programs for my major?
The most important thing to look for is an accredited degree program that will be accepted by the state licensure board. Try Googling all accredited Speech-Language Pathology or Communication Science and Disorders programs in the area(s) you would like to attend college and do some digging about the culture of your top choices. There are many schools that's aren't religious but have strong religious student organizations, etc.

Speech-language pathology is a professional degree, meaning you will have to attend a four year university for an undergraduate degree before going into a clinical masters program. This opens up your options to Christian schools that only offer undergraduate degrees. Look for undergraduate programs in speech language pathology, communication sciences and disorders, education, linguistics, or cognitive science for a good undergraduate background.


- What steps do I need to take after college to be able to work or run a clinic?
After you attend undergraduate school (4 years) and complete your masters program (2-3 years), you need to complete a clinical fellowship year (CFY) with a certified supervisor. You must also take the Speech Language Pathology PRAXIS exam to prove competence, apply for your certification of clinical competence (CCCs) through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and apply for state-based liscensure in whatever state(s) you want to practice in. After you've completed your CFY year and gotten all of your competencies and liscenses in order, you are able to practice individually, without supervision. This is the point where you can start a private practice, if that is your goal. But know that running a private practice requires working knowledge of medical coding and billing, health insurance, and business taxes that typically aren't covered in graduate school. You may want to consider getting a certification in business, medical coding, entrepreneurship, etc to prepare for the business aspect of running a clinic.


- What specific classes will help me reach my goals?
You should focus on linguistics, biology, anatomy, early childhood development, developmental psychology, cognitive science, and hearing sciences. It is also important to have at least one statistics course.


- Do I need Calculus? Will it help with getting my degree as soon as possible or is it unnecessary?
The only mathematics requirement for speech pathology is statistics. If you want to go into audiology, that requires calculus and other math classes.

- How much math is needed in this career?
You will frequently use basic mathematics, statistics, and algebra to score standardized tests, calculate chronological age and percent delay, and to understand new research to maintain evidence based practice. I also am not a fan of math, and I've found that fundamental knowledge of algebra and statistics is sufficient.


To work specifically with children, I'd look into being a school, pediatric outpatient, or early intervention SLP for your CFY year. However, all students are required to have training and knowledge of pediatric, adult, and geriatric care.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for your response! I am trying to pick dual enrollment courses and this was a big help. Macie
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Emma’s Answer

Briana's answer here is good and comprehensive. I would only like to add some information on classes frequently seen as prerequisites for graduate programs in speech-language pathology.

General classes all programs will require (because they're necessary to become certified through ASHA)
1. Biological sciences (biology, anatomy, etc.)
2. Physical sciences (chemistry or physics)
3. Social and behavioral sciences (psychology, anthropology, sociology, etc.)
4. Statistics

Content specific courses that may be required for graduate programs
1. Anatomy and physiology of speech and hearing (general anatomy classes don't generally count)
2. Speech science, acoustics
3. Audiology, auditory rehabilitation
4. Human development (especially normal language development)
5. Phonetics, linguistics

In choosing a college, choose an accredited school that can get you all four of the general courses. It may be hard to find a Christian school that offers the content specific courses. Many people choose to take these classes in a post-baccalaureate setting (I took them online), however keep in mind that this will make it take even longer to get into and complete graduate school, as well as costing you more money. You might also explore whether the colleges you are considering allow you to take credits at other universities, such as a partnership with a state university that may offer more courses.

If you have ideas about where you'd like to go to graduate school, you can find out what classes they require. Some programs require more, some less. Some programs will help you make up any prerequisites you've missed once you're accepted.

For now, in high school, focus on honing your writing and critical thinking skills. Take science classes that give you chances to practice scientific writing and thinking. In your language arts classes, focus on learning how language works, how sentences are constructed, and vocabulary roots, prefixes, and suffixes. (These will help you with medical terminology.)

If you're planning to practice in Florida, or in most of the rest of the US, taking Spanish would be an excellent idea. Being fluent in Spanish would open many doors for you as an SLP. Another good language class to take if available would be ASL.
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LaTristaca’s Answer

Macie,

See below:
- Where can I find a Christian college that offers programs for my major?- https://find.asha.org/ed/

- What steps do I need to take after college to be able to work or run a clinic? If you would like to run the business as a SLP, then you are required to meet state requirements for SLPs. Each state has rules and regulations for businesses, so it will be important to check with the state and local agencies. Also, determine if a LLC or PLLC works for you. In addition, make sure to know the regulations and reimbursement requirements for any specific insurance companies

- What specific classes will help me reach my goals?- all required communication disorder classes; maybe marketing, managing business income, etc.

- Do I need Calculus? Will it help with getting my degree as soon as possible or is it unnecessary?- depends on the requirements of the specific university and communication sciences program. Sometimes colleges will recommend the next level math depending on the math you graduate with from high school. Check the requirements for graduation as Calculus may not be required.

- How much math is needed in this career?- depending on your area of interest- voice requires more math than language
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