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The 10 Best Online Masters of Speech Pathology Graduate Schools

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Updated: February 28, 2024, Reading time: 24 minutes

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The art of communication makes it easier for people to connect. However, when speech becomes obstructed, it becomes challenging to communicate. 

Speech-language pathologists will have many opportunities to help improve or develop the communication skills of their patients.

Aside from communication disorders, Speech-Language Pathologists help their patients with daily challenges, including swallowing disorders and language disorders. They also improve their patients’ ability to connect with other people.

masters of speech pathology

Regardless if you want to focus your profession on developing communication skills or therapeutic services, the field of Speech-Language Pathology has a rewarding and rapidly growing job outlook.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Speech-Language Pathologists between 2022 to 2032 is 19%, indicating a much faster than average growth compared to other occupations in the country.

GSC_Online Master's in Speech Pathology - fact

Speech-Language Pathologists evaluate, diagnose, help, and treat both adults and children to prevent swallowing and communication disorders. They often work in schools, healthcare facilities, nursing homes, and residential care settings.

To become a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology is required. Aspiring speech-language pathologists should check out our selections for the best online Master of Speech-Language Pathology programs to help you jumpstart a career in the related field.

Quick audio summary:

METHODOLOGY

Online Speech Pathology programs are the next important step toward career advancement! By earning a graduate degree in this field, professionals are poised to critically enhance their expertise in this discipline and qualify for bigger career options.

If you’re seriously considering earning a Master’s in Speech Pathology, the first (and most crucial!) step is to find the right graduate program. Today, students have access to some online options and blended learning formats that redefine convenience and flexibility, particularly for adult professional students.

What constitutes a top-of-the-line online Master’s in Speech Pathology program?


Best Online Master’s of Speech Pathology Graduate Schools

Maryville University

Maryville University

St. Louis, MO

Online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

Maryville University was established in 1872, making it one of the oldest private institutions in the region. Headquartered in St. Louis, Maryville University is recognized by The Chronicle of Higher Education as the 2nd fastest-growing university. With a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students at Maryville can have a streamlined graduation process through one-on-one faculty advising, as well as a more exclusive and interactive learning environment. 

Standout Features of Maryville University’s Online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology Program:

Students pursuing an online MS in Speech-Language Pathology program will have the opportunity to learn from faculty of experienced SLP practitioners. They build advanced speech-language pathology proficiencies through simulated patient interactions, including MBSImp and Simucase.

The curriculum is based on the rigorous standards administered by the Council on Academic Accreditation for Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The university allows students to bring a maximum of 50 clinical hours from their undergraduate experience.

Maryville University has a long list of rankings and honors from well-known publications and organizations, including the Military Advanced Education, Forbes, Kiplinger, and the US News & World Report. The university is also an Apple Distinguished School, recognized for its Digital World program that allows students to personalize their studies in an innovative learning environment.


Calvin University

Calvin University

Grand Rapids, MI

Online Master of Speech-Language Pathology

Calvin University is a premier Christian university in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Since 1876, the university has continued its commitment to helping students find their place in a transformative community. In 1876, Calvin University started as a school of ministry training consisting of only seven students. Today, it has flourished as a world-class Christian liberal arts university with an enrollment of more than 3,000 students.

Standout Features of Calvin University’s Online Master of Speech-Language Pathology Program:

The online Master of Speech-Language Pathology program at Calvin University derives its accreditation from ASHA’s Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology. Calvin takes pride in its 100% passing rate on the PRAXIS national examination.

Calvin University is widely distinguished as a premier institution of higher learning. In 2015, The US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs recognized the university as a top Fulbright Scholar producer among other schools in the US. The US News & World Report also places the university in the third spot in the Midwest.


Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

Western Kentucky University’s main headquarters is on the hilltop campus in Bowling Green. Its regional campuses are located in Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, Owensboro, and Glasgow. WKU prepares students, regardless of academic background, to be socially responsible, engaged, and productive citizens of the world.

It offers lifelong learning, service, and research opportunities for its student and faculty communities. WKU maintains a long tradition and history of being a prominent school for journalism.

Standout Features of Western Kentucky University’s Online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology Program:

The curriculum and expected learning outcomes of WKU’s online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program are designed to meet the clinical and academic requirements of the ASHA or the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association. It also receives accreditation from the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. Students pursuing this program can qualify to pass the state licensure and national certification.

Western Kentucky University students receive prestigious national recognitions and academic scholarships every year. For four consecutive years, the university has been distinguished as a top producer of Fulbright students in the country. In the 2017-2018 academic year alone, the university obtained over 35 top awards and rankings for academic programs.


James Madison University

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA

Online Master of Science in Speech Pathology

Established in 1908, James Madison University is one of the rapidly growing institutions of higher learning because students effectively learn and engage with world-class faculty members who are passionate about teaching as their #1 priority. It is a public university located in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. With a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio, JMU is home to more than 19,000 undergraduates and almost 2,000 graduate students.

Standout Features of James Madison University’s Online Master of Science in Speech Pathology Program:

JMU’s online Master of Science in Speech Pathology program has met ASHA’s Certification for Clinical Competence and Virginia state licensure requirements. The university has a 100% passing rate on the PRAXIS examination and post-graduate employment among its students.

Students will have access to a dedicated advisor that provides them with personalized support. An externship coordinator will also collaborate with students to help them find and secure clinical placements within their home area.

James Madison University often receives awards and recognitions from different organizations and school-ranking publications. The US News & World Report recognizes JMU as one of the Top 2 public universities in the South and the #1 in the South for being the most innovative institution of higher studies. The university was also recognized as the #1 Best College for Employment in Virginia. Times Higher Education and The Wall Street Journal have ranked JMU as the most recommended university.


Baylor University

Baylor University

Waco, Texas

Online Master of Science (MS) in Communication Sciences and Disorders

Baylor University is a private Christian university founded in 1845. It is a nationally ranked research university founded by the Republic of Texas through the initiative of Baptist pioneers. The university is considered the oldest continually operating institution of higher learning in Texas.

Baylor accepts undergraduates and graduates from all 50 states and 90 countries worldwide to participate in online master’s degree programs among its 12 prestigious academic divisions.

Standout Features of Baylor University’s Online Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders Program:

Baylor University’s online Master of Science (M.S.) in Communication Sciences and Disorders is one of the rare programs integrated with faith-based values into the SLP curriculum. The Speech@Baylor program is rooted in real-world competencies, clinical experiences, and research.

As a student at Speech@Baylor, a corresponding placement specialist from the field placement team will work with them to secure a high-quality internship within their communities. Clinical supervisors will provide consistent feedback while students complete their field hours during their clinical placement.

Baylor University has a high-standing reputation among several national rating services that assess baccalaureate value, athletic excellence, affordability, research activity, and quality of education. The university was one of the only 23 universities to receive an “A” rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. The Chronicle of Higher Education has ranked Baylor as one of the Great Colleges To Work For for nine years.


University of Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH

Online Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology

The University of Cincinnati offers both graduate and undergraduate students well-balanced learning of real-world experience and academic excellence. Founded in 1819, the university is a public research institution of higher learning with 46,000+ students. UC is the leading R1 university in the region, with a steadfast commitment to innovation. The university offers 262 minors and certificate programs and 414 degree programs, with a 16:1 student-faculty ratio.

Standout Features of the University of Cincinnati’s Online Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology Program:

Students completing an online Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology program at the University of Cincinnati can choose one out of two cohorts, including the SLP graduate program in partnership with the University of Akron.

They are directly enrolled in either the University of Cincinnati or the University of Akron. The Testing & Training International program is a full-time online learning option for students residing in Jerusalem (Israel), New Jersey, or New York who are interested in completing a graduate degree in speech-language pathology.

The University of Cincinnati is a leading global founder of cooperative education, making it a world-class institution in experience-based education. The US News & World Report ranks UC’s co-op programs in the Top 5 in the US. It is one out of 115 institutions classified as the very highest research activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Reuters also included the University of Cincinnati as one of the Top 100 most innovative universities worldwide.


Emerson College

Emerson College

Boston, MA

Online Master of Sciences in Communication Disorders

In 1880, Emerson was established as a school of dramatic arts, elocution, and oratory. It offered the first course of journalism in 1920, the first educational radio station in the 1940s, and the first collegiate-level program in children’s theater in 1919. Today, Emerson College is a multifaceted school with a global reputation and has become a hub of academic innovation. It is an independent college focused on liberal arts and communication.

Standout Features of Emerson College’s Online Master of Sciences in Communication Disorders Program:

Emerson College’s Master of Science (MS) in Communication Disorders online program is one of the frontrunners in the field of speech-language pathology studies, offering professional training in speech pathology in the 1930s. Students are offered the generalist clinical training they need to pursue career opportunities as a family-centered SLP.

As students of the graduate SLP program, they enjoy LinkedIn Premium Career to receive insights into who visited their LinkedIn profile and all other perks that come with LinkedIn’s premium subscription.

For several years, Emerson College has played a significant role in reviving Boston’s well-known Theatre District, bringing back the cultural traditions and life of New England and Boston. The school bought the historic Paramount Theatre in 2005, expanding the complex to host stage productions and an astonishing art deco marquee.


Idaho State University

Idaho State University

Pocatello, Idaho

Online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

Idaho State University offers high-quality academics in 250+ degree programs at the heart of a nature lover’s paradise. ISU was established in 1901 and is the state’s premier institution in health professions.

The university has earned its regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. ISU’s main headquarters is in Pocatello; however, the university also has Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, and Meridian campuses.

Standout Features of Idaho State University’s Online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology Program:

ISU’s online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program is the only ASHA-accredited SLP program in Idaho. It features a concrete, evidence-based clinical practice, providing graduate students with the knowledge and tools to practice in medical, educational, residential, and other clinical settings with adults and children with communication disorders.

Idaho State University features the ASU Quality+ Program, which is open to all participants who teach or have been instructed to teach each course. The program’s primary objective is professional development and the credentials that the eISU course has undergone rigorous standards and high quality. Through the Quality+Program Essentials, an eISU course must meet all essential guidelines and criteria of the Quality Matters™ Rubric.


University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Eau Claire, WI

Online Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is a product of the merger between the University of Wisconsin System and the Wisconsin State University System in 1971. The university was first established as the Eau Claire State Normal School in 1916. With a faculty of 20 and 159 students, the school offers a principal’s course, 3-year secondary teacher’s courses, and 1-year and 2-year elementary teacher’s courses.

Standout Features of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Online Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders Program:

The staff and faculty at the CSD Department at UWEC have been recognized for collaborative and innovative teaching. It was recently awarded the prominent UW System Board of Regents Teaching Excellence Award, ensuring students receive exceptional training and education in communication sciences and disorders.

The Center for Communication Disorders has 90+ off-campus affiliated facilities, providing students with the opportunity to find and secure extensive sites for their clinical experience.

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is recognized by SmartAsset as the US’s #2 Most Livable College Town. It is also one of the top 10 producers of Fulbright students in the US, as reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Brescia University

Brescia University

Owensboro, KY

Online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

Formerly Mount Saint Joseph Junior College for Women, Brescia University was established in 1925 by the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph. After WWII, the Ursuline Sisters answered the call to build a second institution for coeducational extension courses in Owensboro. In 1950, two campuses were merged in the current location of Brescia University.

Standout Features of Brescia University’s Online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology Program:

Brescia University’s online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program is one of the newest SLP programs around the state. The program is up for accreditation by the CAA or Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. The university readily helps students with career goals working in the academic setting, evaluating the licensure requirements in their state to ensure the SLP program is the best fit.

Brescia University’s Campus Ministry advocates for the student community through spiritual and faith-based development. The ministry offers groups and individuals a diverse range of opportunities for developing and discovering their God-given abilities. As a Catholic university, service to others is the tradition and history of Brescia, influenced by the selflessness of its founders.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is an online Master of Speech Pathology program?

Also called Master of Science in Communication Disorders/Master of Speech-Language Pathology, an online Master of Speech Pathology program is suitable for speech professionals or speech therapists. It is an ideal graduate program for those aspiring to work with adults and children to treat and resolve various communication and swallowing disorders.

Most online Master of Speech Pathology programs requires 60 to 80 credit hours for degree completion, including 18 credit hours of clinical experience courses. While some graduate programs can be accomplished in one and a half years of full-time learning, a 2-year to 3-year part-time program is available for busy adult students. 

After degree completion, students pursuing an accredited graduate program in Speech-Language Pathology are eligible to sit and pass specific certification and licensure requirements.

To enroll in a graduate program in SLP, students must already have an undergraduate degree and at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Some programs have a mandatory requirement that students must complete a maximum of nine prerequisite courses in diagnostics, speech and hearing science, phonetics, and language development.

Otherwise, applicants must accomplish first the prerequisite courses before enrolling in the standard program. Other enrollment requirements include personal statements, letters of recommendation, and official GRE scores.

Most graduate programs in Speech-Language Pathology include clinical practicums spread throughout the curriculum. However, some graduates can pursue a non-clinical program if they don’t plan to become certified speech-language pathologists. The drawback of a non-clinical program is that there will be limitations when it comes to career prospects, so make sure to weigh down which program best fits your career aspirations.

Lastly, some online Master of Speech Pathology programs feature a thesis or non-thesis option. The program prepares students for professional practice and offers an additional opportunity to learn in-depth. You can apply what you have learned in a subject that interests you. Accomplishing a thesis project may take longer to complete a graduate degree in Speech Pathology.

What will I learn in the curriculum of an online Master of Speech Pathology program?

An online Master of Speech Pathology program includes courses involving physiology, anatomy, and different types of communication, like speech disorders affecting language, swallowing, and hearing functions. The set of coursework helps learners gain a comprehensive understanding of communication disorders and the different ways to help both adults and children overcome speech-related or swallowing-related impediments.

Through coursework completion, students learn more about early diagnosis, evaluation, and the development and implementation of various treatment plans for individuals with these cognitive or physical challenges.

A holistic curriculum of an online Master of Speech-Language Pathology program will discuss the five main areas of concern:

Brain Trauma makes it more challenging for some people to express what’s in their minds coherently. A graduate program in Speech-Language Pathology must educate and train students to help individuals speak clearly.

There are times when individuals have challenges expressing themselves in either writing or speaking, making it hard for people to understand them. A set of coursework within the Speech-Language Pathology program will help students understand how to teach these individuals and understand how to process others’ words.

Speech-Language Pathologists also guide patients in communicating with others appropriately and coherently. It includes finding a suitable topic and initiating a smooth flow of interactive discussion.

Speech-language pathologists can help their patients form words and sounds and combine them as fluent and complete sentences.

Some people have trouble swallowing their food due to old age, injury, or medical conditions. A graduate program in speech pathology will discuss how to develop therapeutic services and treatment plans for these individuals.

Is there an accreditation that I should look into when finding an online Master of Speech Pathology program?

Graduate students with plans of pursuing an online Master of Speech Pathology degree must find an online program with accreditation from the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. The CAA is a member of the ASHA or the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the well-known professional institution for audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists.

To receive accreditation, every online Master of Speech-Language Pathology program will undergo a rigorous evaluation of its learning outcomes, curriculum, and faculty credentials. All components of the SLP program must achieve national standards for quality and rigor.

On the contrary, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association administers the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology. While many states require an ASHA-accredited graduate program in Speech-Language Pathology for licensure, some require CCC-SLP credentials.

What are the salary outlook and potential careers for graduates with an online Master of Speech Pathology degree?

Regardless of whether it’s a traditional or online Master of Speech Pathology program, a master’s degree is mandatory for entry-level career opportunities as a Speech-Language Pathologist, as well as state licensure.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics affirms the median yearly wage for Speech-Language Pathologists at $79,060. The lowest 10% of SLPs earn less than $51,310, while the highest-paid SLPs earn more than $125,560 median annual wage.

Speech-Language Pathologists with higher salaries often work in residential care or nursing facilities and state, local, and private hospitals. The employment outlook of SLPs is expected to grow 21% between 2021 and 2031, a projected job growth rate that is considered faster than the average of all occupations in the country.

Speech-language pathologists can work with people of different ages, including senior citizens or the elderly, kids, and adults with illnesses, hearing disorders, injuries, or developmental or communicative disorders. However, some SLPs focus more on specialized scopes, speech fluency, audiology, or feeding skills.

While most graduates with a degree in Speech-Language Pathology become licensed or certified practitioners, some will pursue a career in the industrial setting. For instance, their skills can be useful in a manufacturer that creates feeding equipment or hearing aids.

Other SLPs work in the educational setting as researchers or professors or, if so inclined, in private practice.

Are certification and licensure required for graduates with an online Master of Speech Pathology degree?

Graduates with an online Master of Speech Pathology must have a license from their state to legally work as a Speech-Language Pathologist. However, licensing requirements will differ per state, a Master of Speech-Language Pathology or a higher minimum requirement.

Speech-language pathology online master’s program graduates must also complete 375 to 400 hours of clinical experience under the supervision of someone higher within their facilities.

In some states, graduates must accomplish a 6-month to 9-month paid clinical internship program after completing their graduate degree. Another crucial requirement for Speech-Language Pathology graduates is to pass the Praxis Examination in Speech-Language Pathology or Praxis Exam.

Graduates must comply with this requirement within one year of graduation. The cost for initial licensure application also differs by state, usually ranging from $100 to $250. For Speech-Language Pathology, the Praxis Exam fee is $146.

After passing the Praxis Exam, licensed Speech-Language Pathologists can pursue the ASHA’s CCC-SLP or the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology.  The CCC-SLP is an additional credential to potential employers and clients, signifying that Speech-Language Pathologists have shown academic excellence and completed rigorous training.

While certification is open to all applicants, the certification fees and dues differ per category. Depending on the applicant’s category, they can expect to pay between $256 to $511.

In Conclusion

Speech therapy, occupational therapy, and special education are all interconnected in helping individuals with communication and learning disabilities. Speech therapy focuses on improving speech, language, and communication skills, while occupational therapy focuses on improving fine and gross motor skills and daily living tasks.

In special education, both of these therapies are often incorporated into a student’s individualized education plan (IEP) to address their specific needs.

Speech therapists work closely with occupational therapists to address any oral motor issues that may be impacting speech production.

Additionally, occupational therapy can also help improve an individual’s fine motor skills needed for handwriting and other communication-related tasks. The integration of these therapies with special education ensures that students receive a comprehensive and individualized approach to their learning and communication needs.

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