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What education do you need to become a speech pathologist?

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Quick Answer

Education requirements for speech pathologists include having at least a master's degree. In most cases, a speech pathologist must also be licensed in the state in which he is employed. License requirements include a graduate degree from an accredited program and supervised clinical experience.

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Full Answer

A majority of speech pathologist master's degree programs do not require applicants to have a specific undergraduate degree to be admitted. Any program in which a person enrolls should be approved by the Council on Academic Accreditation. Graduating from an accredited program is required for state licensure in most cases and certification.

Speech pathology programs usually focus on language development, swallowing disorders, alternative communication methods and speech disorders unique to specific ages. Supervised clinical experience is also often included in graduate programs.

Speech pathologists can also attain a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology. This certificate may be required by an employer and might also satisfy state licensure requirements. Depending on the school, a pathologist could also need to earn a teaching certification, the requirements for which can vary from state to state.

Besides a master's degree, a license and certification, specific qualities exist that serve speech pathologists well. Such qualities include listening skills, analytical skills, compassion and being detail oriented.

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