The educational requirements to be a speech pathologist include having a master’s degree and proper certification and licensing. Many speech pathologists go on to get a doctoral degree in order to specialize in research or education.
A speech pathologist evaluates different types of communication disorders and tries to create a therapy plan that helps the individual improve his ability to speak clearly. The pathologist's master’s degree is usually in speech pathology or speech-language pathology. Most states require a master's degree, though the exact licensing and certification required can vary by state. The master’s degree is the most common degree for this field.
A master’s degree in speech pathology requires two additional years following the undergraduate degree program. It includes up to 400 hours of clinical experience under the observation of a supervisor. Students with a bachelor’s degree in the field may be able to earn a master’s degree in less than two years.
The curriculum typically includes speech system anatomy, research methodology, psychology, neurology and physiology. The student must learn about different causes of speech problems, including dysphagia, cognitive factors, physical causes, brain damage and motor disorders. Students who go on to get a doctorate in speech pathology go to school for another three to five years.