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Help with becoming a Speech Pathologist

Discussion in 'Speech Pathology [ Ph.D. ]' started by Lovermyliar, Jan 3, 2009.

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  1. Lovermyliar

    Lovermyliar

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    Hi,

    I am an English major at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine which is a highly selective liberal arts school. I have been taking a considerable amount of psychology classes but after a job shadow with a speech pathologist I found that becoming a speech pathologist in a pediatric setting is my true calling. What can I do? SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!:)
  2. CXC09

    CXC09

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    Are you graduating this year or do you still have some time left at Bates? I am also coming from a small liberal arts college and am set on graduate school in audiology. When I developed an interest in audiology, I started to take courses that I thought would be relevant and useful for future work in the field. I say "relevant" because my school does not have a speech and hearing department directly addressing the subject (I'm assuming this is the case at Bates?) I am a linguistics major, and I have also been taking more science classes (in biology and physics). Courses in psychology (ie, developmental, physiological, etc) are valuable as well. I have also sought out opportunities to explore audiological issues through some independent study, gained research experience and was granted school permission to conduct clinical observations outside of my schoolwork. So, I suppose that I recommend trying to work the system at your school. I feel that a liberal arts college should be willing to give you the freedom to take on extra projects in support of your interest in speech pathology. In all, as is the nature of a liberal arts education, I think that the best preparation for graduate work in speech-pathology is one that is multi-faceted. So just keep taking psych, hit up some science and make opportunities for yourself (independent projects, research, hands-on experience as you have already done) even if that means taking on extra work outside of your regular load. :) Hope this is somewhat helpful. Best of luck to you!
  3. Music333

    Music333

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    I'm curious about this too. I'm a psych major, but no longer want to go the route of getting a doctorate.

    How tough are admissions into SLP Master's programs for non-SLP majors? Do we need a significant number of volunteer/shadowing hours? Can you take undergrad SLP classes at one place and then go to the Master's program somewhere else?

    How long are the internships after grad school? Is the career outlook good?
  4. Lambert56

    Lambert56

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    From what I have found out, all you have to do is take the prereqs at any university that offers them. Once you have those done, you can apply to any program you want and will have pretty much the same chances of getting in as any applicant with a BA in comm disorders. I am not aware of any mandatory observation hours needed to apply, but have volunteer/observation hours will help your application. Internships after grad school range from 9mos-1 year and the career outlook is amazing.
  5. Zorlio

    Zorlio Junior Member

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    One of the "easier" things about getting into an SLP program is that you don't have to be an undergrad major in communication disorders (even thought I'm sure that helps). Most graduate slp programs have about 7-10 prerequisite classes you need to take to be considered for admissions. The good thing is that these prerequisites are more or less the same for most schools out there (including phonetics, anatomy of speech and hearing systems, intro to disorders, intro to audiology). You can take the pre-reqs in as many schools as you need to, as long as you take all the ones that the program you are applying to requires. You'll also need recommendations, and probably will need to take the GRE.

    Check www.asha.org; it has a section where you can look up schools by state. They should have a link to the school's admissions place and you can find the prerequisits. I do know that New York Medical College's School of Public Health SLP program does not require any speech pre-reqs. Getting into a program is not too easy as you need around a 3.5GPA and probably want to have high grades in your pre-reqs.

    After you graduate, you have to do 9 months of a clinical fellowship aka CFY (clinical fellowship year). This is you going out there looking for a job and getting hired (yes, you'll be getting a paycheck) and working under supervision (not over your shoulder - about 25% of the time). Why 9 months? ASHA requires a certain amount of after-graduating-working-under-supervision hours to allow you to practice on your own. 9 months = full time 35ish hours a week (if you want to part-time there are separate rules where you have to work no less than a certain amount of hours per week). I'm not sure if 9 months applies to all 50 states, but it's around that time frame. You also have to take the PRAXIS test. After that you get your license and CCCs (but that's all the way down the road)

    The career outlook is good and will probably stay this way. If you enjoy and are comfortable working with children ages 0 - 3 and are creative, this field will give you lots of dollars.

    I would say this: before deciding to get on the path to be a speech pathologist, make sure this is really what you want to do. Observe, shadow, volunteer for, stalk (ok, maybe not that one) a speech pathologist in as many settings as possible for as long as allowed (including hospitals, nursing homes - as observing an SLP who works with kids will probably be easier) to get a complete understanding of what an SLP does/doesn't do. Make sure you really, truly, fully understand what a speech pathologist does for a living and decide that this really is the field for you. If you don't have the complete picture and decide to go into this field, chances are you could be pretty miserable (especially if you are going into it thinking that speech pathology is based in concrete evidence-based science - I would say 50% of it isn't). I'm not saying being an SLP is bad; I'm just saying that this is one of those careers that unless you love it, you'll hate it.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009
  6. Lovermyliar

    Lovermyliar

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    Hi Zorlio,

    Thank you for the thorough advice. I understand what you mean about finding out what a speech pathologist actually does before committing myself to this particular career but if you read I actually have and I do find this line of work very challenging and rewarding at the same time. Like any profession there are going to be times where you dislike what you do and times when you are pleased with your career choice. This is not a country where people are tracked into particular jobs from an early age. At twenty years old you have no idea what type of jobs are most appropriate for you and what jobs are not. Luckly the college that I attend allows me to shadow people in the community with different careers. I have so far shadowed a nurse, a teacher, a SLP, and a Medical Social Worker. I felt that the quality of life of an SLP was the most appropriate for me out of all the choices. Also I feel that there needs to be more bilingual SLP's who are also of color because of the diverse population in the United States. In all fairness, I believe that job shadowing is not actually living the life of the person with that career but if I decide somewhere down the road that this is not the career for me I can always start another career. I am also curious to know about what makes this profession so tedious and uninteresting. I don't mean to sound adversarial but I am trying to find a suitable career that's meaningfull and in a subject that I care about. My beloved grandmother just recently had a stoke and with the help of an SLP she is beginning to speak again. Thank you so much for your insights once again and I wish you all the best.;)
  7. RemiJP

    RemiJP

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    So glad to hear that you are interested in the field! Sounds like you are definitely on the right track. I received my B.S. in Communication Disorders and I'm now in my first year of an MS/PhD program in SLP. Some additional things that you can do to give a boost to your grad school applications would be to volunteer and/or work in a setting with people with communication disorders during your remaining time as an undergrad. Not only with this provide you with important background knowledge about what different therapy sessions are like, but it may also give you a chance to get to know an SLP who'd be willing to write a letter of rec for you down the road! Two programs I know of that are particularly kind to students without backgrounds in communication disorders are MGH Institute of Health Professions and Emerson College in Boston. MGH provides a "science summer" session before your first fall semester in which you can complete all the prereqs.
  8. allyshoet

    allyshoet

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    I am in the process of applying to graduate schools, and the competition out there is crazy. I have recieved straight A's in my undergraduate program requirements, have volunteered/observed, and I work in the office of my faculty, and I'm not even sure if I will get in to any program. It is a cut throat field. I love what I learn and I'm good at it, but it is really tough to get in. At my school there are 175 applicants and only 20 students get in. 89% of the people that apply will not get in. :(
  9. Music333

    Music333

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    How cut-throat is SLP? I dropped the whole med school thing because I didn't want to be in an uber-competitve field (and the PhD route because of the rigorous admissions process and amount of time).

    Does anyone know anything about Northwestern's program? How many volunteer hours would you recommend? What is the average GRE score? Is it okay to take the SLP pre-reqs at my current university? (Finishing off my psych major and taking basic SLP pre-reqs would require less time than completely switichg to SLP major)

    Thanks.
  10. RemiJP

    RemiJP

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    SLP is certainly competitive, but not as much as med school. Average GRE score varies depending on the school, but definitely shoot for over 1000. Volunteer hours are good, particularly if you are working directly with individuals with communicative disorders, but they are not required. Most students who major in SLP for undergrad, have at least 20 hours of speech/language therapy observations and sometimes even 20 hours of an undergrad clinical practicum. Taking the SLP pre-reqs at your current school is definitely a good idea! In my first year Master's class of 25 at UW-Madison, there are three students who did not major in SLP and they all completed the pre-reqs at their undergrad as a minor before coming to school. Keep in mind that there are grad programs out there that do not require you to complete the pre-reqs ahead of time!
  11. soxfan87

    soxfan87 New Member

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    Help! Can anyone comment on the relative merits of U. of Maryland-College Park vs. Emerson? I wasn't expecting to hear anything back from anybody for a few more weeks given the deadlines (Emerson's deadline hasn't even passed yet!), but I was accepted to Maryland early this week and Emerson today. These are my top choices and I don't know what to do now. I'm from Maryland and would love to go back, but I also have family in Boston (and am a big Red Sox fan) and love that city, too! Can any current students give me insight into what criteria they used to make their decisions? I have trouble just figuring out what I want for lunch, so this is kind of scary.
  12. RemiJP

    RemiJP

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    When it comes down to it, most MS SLP programs are basically the same, since we all have to take the same classes (because of ASHA requirement) and we all have to do clinic on-campus and off-campus. But the programs do vary in tuition cost, cost of living, and special programs or clinical experiences they may offer. When I was deciding on where I wanted to go, I focused on is the kind of life I wanted to have while in school and research opportunities.

    I can only speak about Emerson, since that's where I went as an undergrad. I was accepted into the grad program, but decided not to go, because I wanted a change. If you have any specific questions about Emerson, let me know!
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  13. Rosemary

    Rosemary New Member

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    Personally I would go with the most affordable option no matter what! That is my plan, because as SLPs I don't think we make the sort of income that would justify much student loan debt. I met a woman who went to MGH and loved her educaiton and met her husband there but felt really burdened by the loans.

    Soxfan, do you mind telling me if you were the one who posted their acceptance on grad cafe? I am trying to figure out if Maryland has already sent out their acceptances, because I also applied there. I am trying not to worry because I know that I have a strong application, but the whole admissions process is sort of a mystery to me. I don't know what more I could have done. Also, how were your notified? Thanks and also congratulations! I hope you have celebrated:)
  14. soxfan87

    soxfan87 New Member

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    Rosemary, I replied to your PM, but I just saw your note on the GradCafe results search. I am not a student at Maryland, though I am an in-state resident. My application was complete December 22, acceptance letter dated February 3. I wouldn't take your failure to hear as indicative of anything at all. It's still very early. I was extremely surprised to hear anything before the end of February.

    Remi, thanks for your thoughts. At this point I think I'm leaning toward Maryland, but I'll probably make a trip up to Boston in the next few weeks to visit family up there and drop in on the school while I'm at it. I've gotten the sense that the Emerson stereotype is to be more focused toward the child population; did you find that to be the case?
  15. RemiJP

    RemiJP

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    No, I would say that is not the case. The first year clinical experiences are typically with kids, but I wouldn't say that it makes the program child-focused. Dan Kempler (dept. chair) and Cindy Bartlett (grad admission chair) both have decades of experience working with adults exclusively and will personally take you under their wings if you really want to work with adults. Both are very well-known in the adult neurogenic field. The clinical experiences working with adults (Aphasia Group on-campus, adult accent mod on-campus, rehab and skilled-nursing facilities) are excellent.
  16. soxfan87

    soxfan87 New Member

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    Remi, I'd like your input again. I'm hoping you have some knowledge of Emerson vs. MGH since you did your undergrad in Boston. I was just accepted to MGH today, and while I had sort of set that program off to the side after hearing from Maryland and Emerson, they have given me a $28,000 scholarship that has caused me to rethink that stance and give it a harder look. Do you know anything about the students and the environment there? I know the program set-up is a little unusual.

    Thanks for all your help, by the way. I feel like this is almost more taxing than actually applying!
  17. RemiJP

    RemiJP

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    Congrats on the scholarship! I was deciding between MGH and UW-Madison last year. MGH is a very cool program. The typical class size (I believe) is around the same as Emerson's, ~50. Some unique aspects of the program is that in the first year, students work in clinical dyads, meaning you see your clients in pairs. At first, this seemed weird to me, but after my first semester of clinic, I realized how much I would have appreciated having someone else there in the room! One semester students work on the "spoken side" of s/l therapy and the other semester is spent working on the "written side" usually with kids with ADHD/dyslexia. The building the school is housed in is newly renovated and very nice. The surrounding area of Charlestown is good and fairly easy to get to, though not as centrally located as Emerson. Charlestown is much quieter than the Theater District, which still has problems with homelessness and drugs. MGH also offers some unique medical experiences. Definitely vist both Emerson and MGH if you can, they have a very different feel.

    I can PM you the e-mail of a good friend who is currently at MGH if you'd like.
  18. soxfan87

    soxfan87 New Member

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    Thanks, this is really helpful. Working in pairs really appeals to me, especially as someone coming from a non-SLP background. I visited Emerson this past summer but have never been to MGH except for riding past the Charles/MGH T stop. I'm heading up to Boston to see MGH on March 21, then going back up the next weekend to see Emerson on the 28th, then dropping by Maryland on April 3. It's going to be a crazy few weeks. Fortunately I have several relatives in the Boston area and am 30 minutes from the U. of Maryland so it won't be a total logistical nightmare. I'm also kind of glad they're all smushed together because they'll be fresh in my mind and easier to compare.

    I think it may unfortunately come down to money. MGH's $28,000 scholarship is fantastic, but that's only going to cover about half of it. Emerson I have not heard back from yet on finances and the department at Maryland has told me I am at the top of their list to receive an award but that they don't have a budget set yet and so they will get back to me at some point before April 15. Once I get all that info, I'm hoping the decision will be easier. Or else I'll visit one place and fall in love. Out of curiosity, what tipped you toward UW-Madison?

    If your good friend at MGH wouldn't mind answering questions from a total stranger, I'd love the e-mail address!
  19. RemiJP

    RemiJP

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    One thing to keep in mind when deciding where to stay, is that MGH Institute is not on the campus of the hospital. The MGHIHP campus is across the water from the North End, in the Naval Shipyard in Charlestown. To get there on the T, take the Green or Orange Line to North Station, and then there is a free shuttle bus to the Institute. It's not that far from North Station- walkable once you know the way!

    For me, it also came down to money and research opportunities. I was admitted to the MS/PhD program at UW-Madison and MGH does not yet offer that track. And with the extra classes in reading/writing, I felt like I wouldn't have enough time to do the type of research project I was interested in. (I worked at Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary as an undergrad. There was discussion at the time of possibly writing some papers with the doctors I worked for if I ended up going to MGH.) But yeah, money was a big factor. The MS/PhD track means that I receive a small stipend and a full tuition waiver. Honestly, it wouldn't hurt to mention to Emerson that you received this scholarship from MGH, if they want you bad enough, they might try to come up with an offer.
  20. soxfan87

    soxfan87 New Member

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    I'd like to do that, I'm just not quite sure how to address it. "Hey, this other program is offering me $28,000 and I really like your program, but financially I don't know if I can swing it when I have this other offer?" Having never been in this position, it's strange to feel. . .coveted. I have never received a merit scholarship before.

    That's so terrific that you get the full tuition waiver plus a stipend! These programs are freaking expensive!
  21. FormerSLP

    FormerSLP

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    I was just like you, so excited to begin my SLP career! When I did, I found the entire process to be a complete nightmare. The faculty was rude, egotistical, and did not focus on student learning, being supportive, or inspiring us. It was a very negative atmosphere. I would not recommend ANYONE pursuing an SLP career. While the job may be great, the unrealistic demands and sacrifices that the SLP faculty (West Coast states) and ASHA put you through are too much for anyone to handle. Many of my peers ended up failing and became very depressed. The older students who switched careers and failed, ended up completely jobless. So sorry to report this, but I don't want other students to suffer a similar fate. Find another career! :(
  22. FormerSLP

    FormerSLP

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    I was just like you, so excited to begin my SLP career! When I did, I found the entire process to be a complete nightmare. The faculty was rude, egotistical, and did not focus on student learning, being supportive, or inspiring us. It was a very negative atmosphere. I would not recommend ANYONE pursuing an SLP career. While the job may be great, the unrealistic demands and sacrifices that the SLP faculty (West Coast states) and ASHA put you through are too much for anyone to handle. Many of my peers ended up failing and became very depressed. The older students who switched careers and failed, ended up completely jobless. So sorry to report this, but I don't want other students to suffer a similar fate. Find another career! :(
  23. Sinz

    Sinz

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    I'm a Malaysian still pursuing Pre-U course. I really wish to be a SLP one day. Unfortunately, there isn't much universities/colleges offering Bachelors in Speech Pathology in my country here. I've been wondering whether is it actually possible for me to pursue my Masters in Speech Pathology in overseas countries after completing my degree course in Psychology here. Please guide me.:)
  24. RoNe

    RoNe

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    Can anyone who is knowledgeable about SLP training please help me out? Although my undergraduate degree is not in a health related field, I was always interested in medical and health sciences. At the time my family and peers were trying to persuade me to go to law school so I earned my degree in political science. My heart was not in that so I did not ultimately become a lawyer. After a few years of jumping around from job to job, I realized my heart was always in the health field and I decided I want to do a Masters in Speech Language Pathology. Here is my trouble. I am far in dept with student loans from my undergraduate education. Also my parents are elderly and disabled and I support them, likewise, my sister became very ill and she could no longer care for her 2 young children so now I also support them. Long story short, I cannot take on the tuition for the Masters in Speech Pathology. Does anyone know of any tuition assistance programs (especially in New Jersey) for SLP programs? I am willing to agree to work for the government, work in underprivileged areas, or do whatever it takes to get help with tuition payment. Does anyone have any advice from one future health care professional to another? Thank you kindly.

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