What Is an ASHA Online SLP Program?
ASHA Accredited Online Speech Language (SLP) Programs (ASHA online SLP program) are convenient options. Many learners nationwide want to pursue a career in audiology, speech-language pathology, and speech, language, and hearing science. These online SLP programs, accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), equip students with the knowledge and skills to diagnose and treat speech and language impairments in different settings. Like traditional on-campus programs, ASHA online SLP programs provide the same curriculum but with the added advantage of online coursework and clinical experience. Students graduating with ASHS-accredited online SLP programs can apply for state licensure and certification through ASHA. Also, with the demand for speech therapy services on the rise, pursuing ASHA online SLP programs can provide a rewarding career for several students enrolled in the programs.
What Is Speech-Language Pathology (SLP)?
Speech-Language Pathology (SLP), also called speech therapy, is a healthcare field that focuses on diagnosing and treating communication disorders, including phonology, motor speech disorders, articulation and language delays, and swallowing disorders. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), also known as speech therapists, work with people of all ages who have problems with their speech, language, voice, fluency, and swallowing difficulties. The SLPs assess and offer therapy for several conditions, such as language and voice disorders.
Therefore, with the growth of online education, ASHA-accredited online SLP programs are available for many students who wish to pursue a career in this field. With ASHA accreditation, an ASHA online SLP program must meet the highest accreditation standards regarding clinical training, faculty qualifications, and education. Also, ASHA online SLP programs are an added advantage for individuals with fixed schedules to pursue their degrees.
What Is ASHA Accreditation?
Attending an accredited school is important because accreditation affects how a college degree is considered in another country and viewed by potential employers. ASHA accreditation refers to the rigorous steps the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) takes to evaluate and recognize graduate programs in speech-language pathology and audiology that meet set quality standards.
The primary purpose of ASHA accreditation is to ensure that ASHA-accredited online SLP programs equip students with the knowledge and skills to practice in SLP or audiology after acquiring a certificate and licensure.
Institutions offering SLP programs, whether online or on-campus, must pass standards in areas such as student outcomes, faculty, curriculum, and clinical experience. It’s also important to note that the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of audiology and SLP in ASHA offers voluntary accreditation to university graduate degree programs.
Students graduating from ASHA-accredited online SLP programs are confident to have received a high-quality education that meets the set standards, preparing them for fruitful careers in SLP or audiology.
How Do Schools Become ASHA Accredited?
ASHA accreditation is important for students who want to attend SLP programs to ensure they receive a quality education that meets national standards.
For a school to be accredited by ASHA to offer audiology or SLP programs, the school must pass a series of tests that involve meeting set standards by ASHA.
This process begins with a school wishing to offer the program application and a self-study report to ASHA’s CAA in audiology or SLP. The self-study report is essential, as it outlines the school’s curriculum program, faculty qualifications, student outcomes, and clinical practicum opportunities.
The ASHA’s CAA experts will review the school’s self-study report, after which a team will conduct an on-site evaluation of the program. During the review period, the accreditation team will review the school’s program facilities, meet with faculty and students, check classes, and determine whether the school’s programs comply with ASHA’s standards.
Whether to grant accreditation to the program depends on the CAA recommendations to ASHA’s board of directors. The recommendation will be based on the self-study report and an on-site evaluation.
The requirements that higher learning institutions offering SLP programs must meet to be recognized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association are ASHA accreditation standards. ASHA standards guarantee that SLP programs provided by various schools within the country meet stringent educational and clinical requirements to prepare students for successful careers.
ASHA accreditation criteria cover several areas, including faculty qualification, clinical education and training, program administration, and the curriculum. These standards focus on integrating academic coursework with clinical practice, providing various clinical experiences, and applying evidence-based practice in clinical education.
They are reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that ASHA accreditation remains practical and relevant in promoting high-quality SLP education and practice. Learning institutions also must meet the set requirements and undergo a rigorous assessment process to continue retaining the ASHA accreditation for their SLP or audiology programs.
Why Is ASHA Accreditation Important for Online SLP Programs?
ASHA accreditation is important to both students and institutions of higher learning. This accreditation ensures schools meet national standards and students receive quality education for SLP or audiology programs. ASHA’s standards provide programs offered by schools that are current, relevant, and reflect the most recent research and best practices in the field of SLP.
Since many employers prefer individuals who are graduates of ASHA-accredited online SLP programs, ASHA accreditation helps enhance job opportunities. Therefore, this accreditation assures employers that the graduates who are their potential employees have received quality education and training.
Another importance of ASHA accreditation is that graduates of ASHA-accredited online SLP programs or audiology are eligible for licensure and certification in their respective states.
Popular ASHA-Accredited Online SLP Programs
Various institutions across the country offer many ASHA-accredited online SLP programs. Some popular options include the following:
- Auburn University: The Master of Science degree in speech-language pathology program at Auburn University is fully accredited by ASHA’s CAA.
- George Washington University: This program offers an online Master’s in Arts in SLP program, which provides a comprehensive insight into communication disorders and their consequences for individuals and society.
- Ithaca College: This institution provides a master’s program in speech-language pathology that equips students with broad clinical experience and academic instruction. Hence, students are well-positioned to enter the workforce.
- Kansas State University: The Master of Science degree program in SLP at Kansas State University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. This program provides students with clinical knowledge of the speech-language pathologist’s societal role.
- Miami University: The institution offers Master of Science and Master of Arts educational programs in speech-language pathology and is accredited by the CAA of ASHA.
Full List of ASHA Online SLP Programs
According to ASHA.org, over 300 learning institutions offer degree programs in audiology, speech-language pathology, and speech, language, and hearing science.
It is important to always refer to the ASHA website for current information regarding accredited institutions offering SLP programs.
ASHA Online SLP Program Coursework
According to ASHA.org, the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC) is the council within ASHA that formulates rules and regulations for certification in SLP programs. The CFCC announced changes to the SLP certification standards in November 2017, in which physical science requirements must be met by completing coursework in chemistry or physics.
All the master’s coursework and classes are listed in Standards IV-A through IV-C. The council requires them to be completed and passed at the undergraduate or graduate level at an ASHA-accredited higher learning institution. It must appear on a student’s undergraduate or graduate transcript.
The council also disqualifies high school-level classes for not being eligible to meet the requirement. However, advanced placement (AP) courses appearing for credit on a student’s college/university transcript are eligible.
As of January 1, 2020, the council recommended that ASHA-accredited master’s coursework in physical science should include content in either physics or chemistry. Also, the CFCC does not accept coursework from massive open online courses (MOOCs) such as edX, Khan Academy, and many more.
Benefits of Attending an Online ASHA Accredited SLP Program
Attending ASHA online SLP programs offers numerous benefits to students. This can especially benefit students with tight schedules, such as work or family commitments. The following are the various benefits of attending an online ASHA-accredited SLP program:
1. Access to many programs: ASHA Online SLP programs provide students access to more than one program than they have been able to attend on-campus due to location or other limitations.
2. Accreditation: For a school to offer SLP programs, it has to pass ASHA accreditation. This accreditation ensures students can access high-quality SLP education and prepares them for professional certification in speech-language pathology. ASHA accreditation also ensures that institutions of higher learning meet national standards to offer SLP programs.
3. Career advancement: ASHA online SLP programs can equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to advance their careers in the speech-language pathology field.
4. Flexibility: With online learning, students from different locations can access SLP programs of their choice on their schedules. ASHA Online SLP programs are more flexible in terms of scheduling and location. Students complete their education at their own pace and from anywhere with an internet connection. Also, online SLP programs can benefit students who live in remote areas and those with disabilities or health concerns. This allows students to learn on their own schedule without attending in-person learning.
5. Cost: When it comes to online or on-campus learning, the cost is usually an important factor students must consider. Compared to on-campus learning, online SLP programs can be very cost-effective, as students don’t have to incur other costs associated with commuting or on-campus housing expenses.
6. Personalized learning: Unlike in-person learning, online programs can provide students with personalized learning experiences. This is because ASHA online SLP programs allow students to interact with their teachers one-on-one.
7. Inclusion: Online SLP programs can bring students of diverse backgrounds and experiences, creating a more inclusive and diverse learning environment.
It is also important to note that ASHA online SLP programs may not be suitable for every person wishing to pursue the program for their career path since it requires discipline and commitment in an online setting. However, they can be effective for students suited for online learning.
How to Apply for ASHA Certification
Before acquiring ASHA certification, there are several steps you will have to follow. The steps involved in applying for ASHA certification include the following:
1. Eligibility requirements: As the first step, you must check on the ASHA website to see if you meet the requirements for education, professional licensure, and clinical experience to apply for ASHA certification.
2. Open an ASHA account: As a new member, you must first create an ASHA account. By visiting the ASHA website, you will find a section to create or access your account if you have already opened one.
3. Complete the application: After creating an ASHA account and accessing your account, you can start the application process, where you will need to share your professional education, clinical experience, and licensure information. Also, before submitting your documents, you must pay a nonrefundable processing fee of $50, according to ASHA.org.
4. Submit required documents: For ASHA to certify your eligibility, you must submit your supporting documents for verification. The documents can include transcripts or employment verification.
5. Wait for the review: After submitting your documents, you will have to wait for some time, approximately six weeks, according to ASHA.org, for verification by the ASHA team to verify your eligibility requirements for certification.
6. Receive ASHA certification: ASHA will determine whether you are eligible for certification after verification. If you are eligible for certification, you will be certified as a speech-language pathologist or audiologist. With the certification, you can use the ASHA certification in practice, and you will also be listed in the ASHA certification directory. However, if you are deemed ineligible for ASHA certification, you will receive a refund of the initial application fee, less a $50 nonrefundable processing fee.
ASHA Certification of Clinical Competence
ASHA also offers a Certification of Clinical Competence (CCC) in SLP. CCC certification is recognized nationally as a credential that demonstrates a person’s expertise in providing high-quality speech and language services.
To obtain a CCC certificate, you must meet the following educational and clinical requirements:
- Graduate from an accredited program
- Pass an exam
- Complete a fellowship
- Complete required clinical practicum hours
After obtaining your CCC-SLP certification, you must engage in ongoing professional development and comply with ASHA’s Code of Ethics to maintain your certification. According to ASHA.org, the ASHA Code of Ethics reflects professional values and expectations for scientific and clinical practice. Therefore, this certification ensures that certified members are current with the latest research and practices in the speech-language and pathology field and provide speech and language services that meet the set standards.
ASHA Clinical Fellowship
ASHA offers a clinical fellowship program for graduates who have completed their master’s or doctoral degrees in SLP and want to receive clinical experience under the guidance of a licensed speech-language pathologist.
To be certified through ASHA’s clinical fellowship program, you must complete the following steps and requirements:
- Obtain a master’s or doctoral degree in SLP from an ASHA-accredited CAA program
- Completed a clinical fellowship of 36 weeks of full-time supervised clinical experience or part-time of 1260 hours
- Find a qualified speech-language pathologist who is a holder of ASHA certification
- Register for ASHA’s clinical fellowship program and pay the required dues and fees
- Submit your supporting documents to ASHA
- Pass praxis examination in SLP
Once your application has been reviewed and deemed eligible, you will be awarded the CCC-SLP certification from ASHA. This certification is a nationally recognized credential.
Is ASHA Accreditation Required for Licensure?
According to ASHA.org, ASHA certification is voluntary. This is because licensure requirements vary from state to state. Some licensure requirements may include meeting education and clinical experience, passing an examination, and getting certified by a professional body like ASHA.
It’s also important to note that even though ASHA accreditation for licensure is voluntary, the certification is a nationally recognized and respected credential in speech-language pathology. ASHA-accredited SLP programs are deemed too high for national academic and clinical training standards, and some employers may prefer job seekers with ASHA accreditation licensure.
Therefore, it’s important to always check your state’s licensure requirements to become a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist.
How to Become a Speech Language Pathologist
Becoming a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) involves a specific educational path, professional certification, and licensure. Here are the general steps on how to become a speech pathologist:
Obtain a bachelor’s degree: Begin by completing a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as communication sciences and disorders, psychology, or linguistics. Including coursework in subjects like biology, anatomy, and language development is essential during your undergraduate studies or from ASHA-accredited online SLP programs.
Earn a master’s degree: SLPs must have a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. Graduate programs in SLP are typically two to three years in duration. These programs provide more in-depth knowledge and clinical training in the field.
Most SLP graduate programs include clinical practicum experiences. These hands-on training opportunities allow you to work with clients under the supervision of licensed SLPs. You will gain practical experience in diagnosing and treating speech and language disorders.
Supervised Clinical Fellowship
After completing your master’s degree, you must also complete a Clinical Fellowship (CFY), a supervised practice period. It typically lasts about nine months and involves working with clients to gain practical experience.
Obtain Professional Certification
After completing your CFY, you can pursue certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Certification by ASHA, known as the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), is a highly respected credential.
Obtain State Licensure
To practice as an SLP, you must be licensed by the state where you plan to work. Requirements for a license include proof of education, clinical experience, and passing a licensing exam. Be sure to research the specific requirements for your state.
With this information, you’ll know how to become a speech pathologist. However, to become a speech pathologist and be successful at it, it’s crucial to develop strong communication and interpersonal skills and a genuine interest in helping individuals with communication disorders. SLPs play a vital role in diagnosing and treating speech and language issues, enabling people of all ages to improve their communication abilities and quality of life.
Types of Speech-Language Pathologists
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can specialize in various areas within the field to address their clients’ diverse communication and swallowing needs.
Here are some common types of speech-language pathologists and their specializations:
Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist
A pediatric speech-language pathologist is a specialized professional focusing on diagnosing, treating, and providing therapeutic services to children with speech, language, communication, and swallowing disorders. These SLPs work with infants, toddlers, and school-age children, addressing various developmental and acquired communication challenges.
Adult Speech Language-Pathologist
This specialty focuses on diagnosing and treating communication and swallowing disorders in adults. They work with clients who may have suffered strokes, brain injuries, or age-related communication issues.
Medical Speech-Language Pathologist
These specialists work in medical settings, such as hospitals and rehabilitation centers, to assess and treat patients with speech, language, voice, and swallowing disorders resulting from medical conditions.
School-Based Speech-Language Pathologist
Some speech-language pathologists provide therapy to students in educational settings to help children overcome speech and language difficulties that impact their learning. Others may offer assistance to second language learners.
Fluency specialists focus on treating individuals with fluency disorders, including stuttering. They help clients improve their fluency and confidence in communication.
Audiology-SLP (Audiologist-Speech-Language Pathologist)
Trained in audiology and speech-language pathology, they can work with individuals with hearing impairments and related communication challenges.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Specialist
An AAC specialist works with clients with severe communication impairments, often due to conditions like cerebral palsy or ALS. They help individuals use AAC devices and systems to communicate.
Neurogenic Speech-Language Pathologist
This specialization focuses on individuals with neurological conditions affecting speech and language, such as Parkinson’s disease, aphasia, or traumatic brain injuries.
Accent Modification Specialist
They help individuals modify or reduce their accents to improve their communication in professional or social settings.
Typical SLP Salary
The salary of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can vary based on location, experience, setting, and education. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2022, the median annual wage for speech-language pathologists was approximately $84,140. At the same time, the lowest 10% earned less than $56 370, while the highest rated $126 680.
SLPs in educational services (working in schools) had a median annual wage of around $74,900. In contrast, those in healthcare settings, such as hospitals or nursing care facilities, had a higher median annual salary of approximately $84,170.
It’s essential to remember that SLP salaries can vary by state and region. Areas with a higher cost of living or a greater demand for SLP services may offer higher wages. Additionally, years of experience and advanced certifications can increase earning potential.
Typical Speech Pathology Career Path
A typical career path in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) involves several vital steps to become a qualified, experienced professional. Here is a general outline of the career path for SLPs:
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
Start with a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as communication sciences and disorders, psychology, linguistics, or a related discipline. During your undergraduate studies, focus on coursework that provides a foundation in language development, anatomy, and psychology.
Earn a Master’s Degree
Pursue a master’s degree in speech-language pathology (SLP). SLP graduate programs typically take two to three years to complete and provide in-depth knowledge and clinical training.
Gain Practical Experience
Most SLP graduate programs include clinical practicum experiences. These hands-on training opportunities allow you to work with clients under the supervision of licensed SLPs.
Clinical Fellowship (CFY)
After completing your master’s degree, you must complete a Clinical Fellowship (CFY). This typically lasts about nine months and involves supervised practice. It’s a crucial period for applying your knowledge and developing clinical skills.
Obtain Professional Certification
After completing your CFY, you can pursue certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). ASHA certification, known as the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), is a respected credential.
Obtain State Licensure
To practice as an SLP, you must be licensed by the state where you plan to work. Licensure requirements vary by state and often include proof of education, clinical experience, and passing a licensing exam.
Specialization and Advanced Training
SLPs can specialize in pediatric speech therapy, voice therapy, fluency disorders, or neurogenic communication disorders. Discipline often requires additional training and certification.
Maintain Certification and Licensure
To keep your ASHA and state licensure, you must engage in continuing education and professional development activities. This ensures you stay current in the field.
You can start working as an SLP with your certification and state licensure. Opportunities exist in various settings, including schools, healthcare facilities, rehabilitation centers, private practices, and more.
Stay engaged in professional development to enhance your knowledge, skills, and expertise. Attend conferences, workshops, and training to stay updated with the latest research and best practices in the field.
Advancement and Leadership
As you gain experience, you may have opportunities to take on leadership roles, such as becoming a clinical supervisor program director or pursuing a Ph.D. to engage in research and teaching.
Consider joining professional organizations like ASHA to access resources, networking opportunities, and the latest information in the field.
A career in Speech-Language Pathology offers diverse opportunities to work with individuals across the lifespan, from children with developmental disorders to adults recovering from neurological injuries. The career path provides a chance to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those facing communication and swallowing challenges.
Typical Work Environments for Speech-Language Pathologists
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work in various work environments, depending on their specialization and the population they serve. Here are some typical work environments for SLPs:
SLPs in educational settings work with students of all ages, from preschool to high school. They help children with speech and language disorders improve their communication skills, often as part of the school’s special education team.
In hospitals, SLPs work with patients with communication and swallowing disorders due to medical conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, or surgery. They collaborate with medical teams to provide rehabilitation and improve patients’ communication and swallowing abilities.
Rehabilitation facilities serve individuals recovering from injuries, surgeries, or illnesses. SLPs in these settings provide speech and language therapy to help patients regain their communication and swallowing functions.
Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities
SLPs working in nursing homes and long-term care facilities assist elderly residents with communication and swallowing difficulties. They aim to enhance residents’ quality of life and facilitate effective communication.
Some SLPs operate their private practices, offering speech and language services to clients of all ages. This allows them to provide individualized care and services tailored to specific needs.
Pediatric SLPs work in private pediatric clinics, addressing speech and language disorders in children. These clinics may offer services to children with developmental delays, autism, or articulation issues.
Outpatient clinics provide speech and language therapy services for various clients with articulation, voice, fluency, and language disorders. Clients may seek therapy for different communication challenges.
Home Health Care
SLPs in home health care settings visit clients in their homes to provide speech and language therapy. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with mobility issues or who prefer the convenience of home-based services.
Research and Academic Institutions
Some SLPs choose careers in research and academia, researching speech and language disorders and teaching the next generation of SLPs at universities and colleges.
Telepractice is a growing field in which SLPs provide therapy and assessments via online platforms. This allows them to work with clients in remote or underserved areas and provides flexibility in scheduling.
Government and Public Health Agencies
SLPs may work in government agencies, public health departments, or early intervention programs, addressing communication disorders and providing services to needy individuals.
Corporate and Industry Settings
Some SLPs find opportunities in corporate or industry settings, such as companies that develop communication and assistive technology, to help design and test products that help individuals with communication challenges.
FAQ About ASHA Online SLP Programs
The following are FAQs about the online ASHA speech-language pathology master’s program:
How Much Does a Speech Language Pathology Master’s Program Cost?
The fee for an ASHA online SLP master’s program varies from school to school, with an approximate range of about $30,000 to $100,000. Some learning institutions may offer financial assistance or scholarships to their students.
How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Speech Pathology Master’s Degree?
The duration of earning an online SLP master’s program usually varies from learning institution to learning institution. However, it usually takes an average of 3 to 3.5 years to complete a part-time program. Full-time programs may take less time, about 2 to 3 years.
What is the Average Salary of Someone With a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology Degree?
Also, the average salary for some with a master’s in speech-language pathology degree varies based on location, years of experience, education, and work setting. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2019, the median annual wage for speech-language pathologists was $79120. This was almost twice the median annual wage for all workers.
Is a Graduate Degree Required to Become a Speech Pathologist?
Yes. A graduate degree in speech-language pathology is required to become a speech pathologist. Some states may also require you to have licensure or certification to practice as a speech pathologist.
Do Online Speech Pathology Programs Require the GRE?
While other SLP programs may require Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), others may not. This requirement varies from institution to institution. Therefore, if you are seeking to enroll for a master’s in speech pathology, you should check the minimum requirements for the program.
What Are Career Options for Someone with a Master’s in Speech Pathology?
You can get numerous career options with a master’s in pathology. First of all, with a master’s in pathology, you can work in the following settings:
- Early intervention and K-12 schools
- Health care settings
- Private practice
- Colleges and universities
The following are some career options for you if you have a master’s in speech pathology:
- Speech-language pathologist: This is the most common career option if you have a master’s in speech pathology. You can work with people with speech, language, and communication disorders by helping them improve their communication abilities.
- College/university professor: You might want to pursue a career as a college or university professor with a master’s in speech pathology. You can teach many student courses related to speech and language disorders.
- Speech therapist: With a master’s in speech pathology and as a certified speech pathologist, you can work remotely and provide speech and language therapy services through telepractice to individuals requiring the services in remote areas or far from the nearest health facility.
- Government/nonprofit organization: As a speech pathologist, you can work for government or nonprofit organizations that support individuals with communication disorders. Also, you can provide advocacy and awareness initiatives.
- Consult: You can work as a consultant by providing expertise in speech and language disorders to learning institutions, healthcare facilities, or businesses.
ASHA-accredited online SLP programs are vital in speech-language pathology. They provide students with a rigorous, high-quality education and offer aspiring SLPs a flexible, accessible way to achieve their career goals. ASHA accreditation serves as a hallmark of excellence, assuring that students receive the education that meets industry standards and prepares them to excel in their roles as speech-language pathologists.