While the world of speech-language pathology programs is highly competitive, there are many excellent schools at which to receive your speech therapist degree. And if you feel called to help those with speech and language disorders, you want a program that will truly prepare you for the field.
The school you choose for your speech therapist degree will be the foundation of your career. You’ll make connections with teachers and other students that could eventually help jump start your career.
Plus, not only will you gain the knowledge needed to obtain your license, but you’ll also get your first hands-on experience in the field.
Ready to pursue your speech therapist degree? Here’s how:
What Makes an Excellent Speech Therapist Degree Program
Keep in mind:
If you’re looking to become a speech therapist, you’ll most likely need to pursue a master’s degree in speech-language pathology.
When searching for the right program for your speech therapist degree, you’ll want to choose one that’s accredited. If you graduate from an unaccredited school, you won’t be able to obtain your state license.
So, aside from accreditation, what should you look for in a speech-pathology program?
Along with choosing a vetted program, you also want to compare student achievement rates at each school. Some of these factors include Praxis Exam pass rates, on-time graduation rates, and the career prospects of each school’s graduates.
The good news is that the CAA requires schools to list this exact information. With access to this information, you can quickly sift through and find the program that’s best for you.
You also want to look at the affordability of each program when deciding to pursue a speech therapist degree. Nothing is more daunting than entering the workforce with thousands of dollars in student loan debt.
Compare the differences between public and private universities, as well as in-state versus out-of-state tuition, when looking for a program that’s right for you.
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7 Top Schools for Pursuing Your Speech Therapist Degree
Do you want to know the top schools in the United States for speech pathology programs, based on the criteria above? Well, here are our top picks, listed in no particular order:
1. Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AK
Located in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Arkansas State University (ASU) offers an excellent Speech Pathology program. ASU boasts a 100 percent Praxis Exam pass rate, 100 percent on-time graduation rate, and 100 percent employment rate for the past four years.
Students love how much real-world experience they receive, even before graduation (ASU has an on-campus Speech and Hearing Center, where students work with real patients).
In-state tuition for ASU graduate programs is about $5,500 to $6,500 per year. Out-of-state tuition costs about $10,500 to $11,500. However, if you maintain a 3.0 GPA, out-of-state residents qualify to receive in-state tuition rates.
Weighing both student achievement and affordability, we agree that ASU offers an amazing Speech-Language Pathology program. Any student would be lucky to receive their speech therapist degree here.
2. Marywood University in Scranton, PA
Marywood University is a private university with a 100 percent Praxis Exam pass rate, 100 percent on-time graduation rate, and 100 percent employment rate.
If you haven’t yet pursued your undergraduate degree and want to try out an accelerated speech therapist degree program, look no further. Marywood University offers a five-year program made up of a three-year undergraduate program and a two-year graduate program.
While this accelerated program saves time and money, Marywood University is a private institution. Average tuition rates are around $11,000 to $12,000 per year.
If you’re looking for a school that prioritizes affordability without sacrificing student achievement, Marywood University is an excellent choice.
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3. Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN
Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt University is a national leader in private research. Of course, the Speech-Language Pathology program is no exception.
Students in this program have a 100 percent Praxis Exam pass rate, 100 percent on-time graduation rate, and 100 percent employment rate.
Vanderbilt University students receive unparalleled clinical experience at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. It has more than 20,000 square feet of space dedicated specifically to graduate students.
More than 70,000 patients visit the 11 clinics each year. That gives graduate students access to every aspect of clinical experience during their education.
Unfortunately, experience this great does come at the high cost of $45,000 to $55,000 per year. But with that said, many students do receive grants and financial aid.
If you’re searching for the nation’s top program for your speech therapist degree, regardless of cost, then Vanderbilt University is the right place for you.
4. Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI
Calvin College is a Christian school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. With a 100 percent Praxis Exam pass rate, 99 percent on-time graduation rate, and a 99 percent employment rate, this school scores excellently in student achievement.
However, it’s the school’s community that sets them apart. There are student organizations, off-campus programs, and internships that offer real-world experience available as early as your freshman year.
Students are encouraged to get involved in their chosen field, with many outreach programs offered that specialize in speech therapy.
On average, Calvin College’s graduate programs cost $20,000 to $30,000 per year. But most students have grants and scholarships available to them to help cover the cost.
If you’re looking for a program that offers plenty of practical experience combined with public outreach work, few programs will match that of Calvin College.
5. Minot State University in Minot, ND
Minot State University (MSU) is a highly esteemed public university. Students in the Speech-Language Pathology program have a 100 percent Praxis Exam pass rate, 96 percent on-time graduation rate, and 100 percent employment rate.
MSU offers a variety of off-campus internships in both the United States and Canada. Most of these internships lead directly to employment opportunities.
The university also boasts the only Vocal Function Laboratory in the region, a critical addition to a well-rounded speech-language pathology program.
Perhaps the best news is that tuition for MSU is both affordable and practical for in-state and out-of-state students. Everyone pays the same rate of $8,500 to $9,500 per year for their graduate program.
If you’re looking for an excellent public university in the Midwest for your speech therapist degree, you can’t go wrong with MSU.
6. The University of Redlands in Redlands, CA
On the West Coast, in Redlands, California, is the University of Redlands. This institution offers great opportunities for student achievement with a 100 percent Praxis Exam pass rate, 98 percent on-time graduation rate, and a 100 percent employment rate.
The graduate program at the University of Redlands has been around for over 50 years. This program boasts small class sizes, an in-house clinic with state-of-the-art technology, and excellent opportunities for continued education.
Graduates of the program will also be qualified under the rigorous California Commission on Teacher Credentialing for Speech-Language Pathology Services.
Tuition costs between $15,000 and $25,000 per year for this graduate program. Nearly every student is offered institutional grants and scholarships to help cover tuition costs.
So, if you’re looking for an established program on the West Coast that will prepare you for the workplace, the University of Redlands is an excellent choice.
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7. The University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma
We’re rounding out our list with the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. This graduate program has a 100 percent Praxis Exam pass rate, 98 percent on-time graduation rate, and a 100 percent employment rate.
Students in this program gain experience in an on-campus clinic. They also have opportunities off-campus in both public school and hospital settings. That gives students plenty of experience to discover where their abilities are best-suited after graduation.
The university also has plenty of research opportunities for graduate students, better preparing them for professional life. That also gives students first-hand knowledge of the latest developments in speech therapy diagnosis and treatment.
Tuition for the graduate program is around $20,000 to $30,000 per year at this competitive university.
If you’re looking for a school in the southern United States that offers plenty of real-world experience, the University of Tulsa is the institution for you.
Choosing the Right Program for Your Speech Therapist Degree
This list of the best programs at which to pursue your speech therapist degree is only the beginning. There are dozens of high-quality programs in the nation ready to guide you to your new career.
However, the seven schools above offer unmatched classroom, clinic, and laboratory experience in their respective regions of the United States.
Whichever of these schools you ultimately choose for your education, you’re sure to have a bright future in the world of speech pathology therapy.
Have you attended any of these programs? Or, do you know of any others you think deserve a place on this list? Let us know in the comments below!