Best Speech Pathology Graduate Programs in US

If you have graduated with a bachelor’s and want to become a speech-language pathologist (SLP), a master’s degree in Speech Therapy will be your last step before becoming a licensed speech-language pathologist in the USA. Several institutions in the U.S. are offering outstanding SLP programs. These programs are helpful to produce speech pathologists that will tackle communication disorders.

What is a Master’s in Speech Pathology?

A master’s degree in speech pathology gives you knowledge of more nuanced theories and detailed descriptions of communication disorders. Most master’s programs are two years, although speech-language pathology (SLP) students can take longer to finish the required credits to become registered speech pathologists. During these academic years, the students must take different classes some of which include:

  • Assessment and Treatment of Pediatric Dysphagia
  • Traumatic Brain Injury Seminars
  • Interprofessional Education
  • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

Degree Requirements for SLP Students:

For an SLP graduate program, the students should have the following materials and degrees:

  • A bachelor’s degree in speech therapy or a similar major
  • GRE scores
  • A background check
  • A 3.0 or higher GPA (although some schools will look for a 2.5 or higher GPA)
  • Up to three letters of recommendation
  • An updated resume
  • A purpose statement

Careers for Speech Therapy Graduates:

Before you begin your career in speech therapy, you must pass the National Praxis exam. Then you have to complete a fellowship or internship in a clinical setting. After that, you must obtain either an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) certification or a Certificate of Clinical Competence. Finally, you must obtain your state license. Being a licensed speech-language pathologist, you may work with:

  • Child language disorders
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Public schools
  • Hearing clinics
  • Private practices
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Hearing clinics
  • Swallowing disorders
  • Other speech-language pathology programs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), here is the breakdown of the work environment for speech therapists:

  • 38% work in private and public schools
  • 22% work in private offices
  • 14% work in public and private hospitals
  • 4% work in nursing and residential care facilities
  • 6% of SLPs are self-employed

Speech Pathology Graduates Salary Potential:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the following salaries for registered SLPs:

SLPs working at nursing and residential care facilities earn an average of $95,010 per year.

Speech therapists working in hospitals earn up to $87,110 per year. Speech therapists working in private and public schools earn an average of $71,410 per year.

The best Speech Therapy Graduate Programs in the U.S.:  

The USA has countless institutions offering speech-language pathology programs. These programs are either a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (MS-SLP) or a Master of Arts in Communication Science and Disorders Program. Some of the best Speech therapy graduate programs are given below:  

1.  Purdue University-Main Campus

Best Speech Pathology Graduate Programs in US

Purdue University offers an excellent Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (MS-SLP) program. This program is ranked #3 by the U.S. News & World Report.    

Acceptance Rate: 67%

Graduation Rate: 78%

Admission Requirements:

The students applying for this program must submit:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts from all institutions attended
  • An updated resume
  • GRE scores
  • Answers to the prompts on Purdue’s application 

Note: This school is selective, so you should ensure that your application is of the highest quality.  

As a graduate student in Purdue’s speech pathology program. You will attend the following classes:

  • Neural Bases of Speech & Hearing
  • Language Disorders in Adults
  • Motor Disorders of Speech
  • School Clinical Methods

Additionally, you are required to enroll in:

  • A clinical practicum
  • Educational externship
  • Two healthcare externships
  • A practicum 

As a pre-professional program, this institution’s speech-language pathology program prepares students for the National Praxis test and the required clinical competence. Academic accreditation for this speech-language pathology degree includes the following:  

  • Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology
  • Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) 

2.  University of Washington-Seattle Campus

The University of Washington also offers a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (MS-SLP) program.

Acceptance Rate: 56%

Graduation Rate: 84%

Admission Requirements:

To gain admission to this program, a student must have the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a related field
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement  

You can choose from three Master of Science in speech-language pathology degree options. There are:

  • Schools 
  • Medical/Community
  • Research academic

During the program at the University of Washington, you will complete classes like:

  • Neural Bases of Speech
  • Language & Hearing
  • Clinical Forum in Speech-Language Pathology
  • Assessment & Treatment of Dysphagia

This institution also offers internships, clinical practicums, and classroom coursework throughout the two years program.

3.  University of Florida

Best Speech Pathology Graduate Programs in US

The University of Florida offers a Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders Program. This institution is known for its excellent student life, active sports community, and outstanding academics.   

Acceptance Rate: 31%

Graduation Rate: 88%

Admission Requirements:

To get admission into the SLP program of the University of Florida, you need the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • A minimum of 3.0 GPA
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Course prerequisites (biological sciences, basic physical sciences, statistics, social sciences, and behavioral sciences)

At the University of Florida’s communication Sciences and Disorders program, you will take classes like

  • Speech Pathology: Stuttering
  • Neuro-cognitive Language Disorders
  • Introduction to Graduate Research
  • Voice Disorders

Along with in-school courses, you will also gain field experience through clinical practicum and externships.

This Masters of Arts Program in Communication Sciences and Disorders has accreditation from the following:

  • Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology
  • Speech-Language of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

The outcome for the University of Florida’s graduates is strong as 100% of the graduates taking Praxis passed (during the last two years).

4.  University of Wisconsin-Madison

Best Speech Pathology Graduate Programs in US

The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers you a Speech Pathology graduate degree through its Masters of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program. This helps you make a strong end of your 20 years of schooling into a Speech Pathology professional.

Acceptance Rate: 57%

Graduation Rate: 87%

Admission Requirements:

To join this one of the best speech pathology graduate programs, you should have:

  • A 3.0 or higher undergraduate degree GPA
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • An updated resume
  • GRE scores
  • An application essay

This SLP master’s program is a clinical degree that requires coursework and field experience. Students in this speech pathology graduate program must take excellent courses that will help them prepare for a better career in the SLP field. Some of these classes that are included in this program are:

  • Acquired Language & Cognitive-Communication Disorders in Adults
  • Sign Language
  • Neural Mechanisms of Speech, Hearing, and Language

This master’s program emphasizes two main areas that include:

  • Speech-language and formal aspects of speech
  • Language and hearing

Note: Your bachelor’s degree must be in speech therapy or a related field. Otherwise, you should have at least taken the nine SLP-related classes listed on the program website.

5.  The Ohio State University

This institution offers a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology. The Ohio State University is famous for its outstanding programs, student life, and sports teams.

Acceptance Rate: 68%

Graduation Rate: 82%

Admission Requirements:

Students wishing to get admission to this institute must have the following:

  • An undergraduate degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA (although most admitted students have a 3.7 GPA or higher)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • (Optional) GRE Scores
  • Short Essays  
  • Proved preparedness to begin the program 

In the Master of Arts program, you can choose one of the four specializations that are:

  • Singing Health
  • Aging
  • Disability Services
  • Applied Developmental Sciences in Education

Besides specialization courses, you take core classes like:

  • The SLP’s Role in Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Language Disorders in Adults
  • Seminar in Fluency Disorders 

These classes will provide you with the knowledge and clinical competence to work with all the demographics in clinical settings.

6.  University of Arizona

Best Speech Pathology Graduate Programs in US

The University of Arizona offers an SLP degree through its Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology Program. This degree helps you finish your study and work in the Grand Canyon State.  

Acceptance Rate: 88%

Graduation Rate: 56%

Admission Requirements:

To get admitted to this SLP Masters’ program you need:

  • An undergraduate degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA
  • GRE scores in the 30th percentile or higher
  • Three letters of recommendation

In this speech-language pathology program, you will take core classes like:

  • Developmental Language Disorders
  • Preclinical Speech Sciences
  • Dysphagia
  • Language Disorders in School-Age Children

The best thing about this institution is, that it offers a Master of Science in Speech-language pathology as a three years program for students who didn’t major in a related study. In the three-year program, you spend your first year completing prerequisite coursework (Phonetics, Language Acquisition, Communication Disorders, etc). Then, you begin your second year like any other SLP student admitted two the normal two-year program.  

More: Baylor Speech Pathology Masters

7.  University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign   

The SLP graduate degree offered by the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign is the Master of Arts in Speech and Hearing Sciences Program.  UIUC offers both a clinical and non-clinical track of this program.

Acceptance Rate: 63%

Graduation Rate: 85%

Admission Requirements:   

To apply to this best SLP program you should have the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a related field with a 3.0 or higher GPA
  • GRE Scores
  • Two or more letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement
  • An updated resume

While these admission requirements aren’t as strict as for other programs on this list. You will have to take every component of the application process seriously. 

Graduate students complete a variety of classes in this SLP program. Some of the courses include the following:

  • Stuttering: Theory & Practice, Aphasia, and Related Disorders
  • Clinical Sociolinguistics
  • Advanced Language Diagnostics

Through this institution’s Master of Arts in speech and hearing program, you will learn how to help people by:

  • Confronting
  • Coping with
  • Recovering them from their communication disorders

8.  University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Best Speech Pathology Graduate Programs in US

The SLP graduate degree offered by the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is the Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology Program. This Graduate SLP program emphasizes:

  • Evidence-based practices
  • The ethics of a medical practitioner
  • The nuanced understanding of speech-language communication conditions  

Acceptance Rate: 70%

Graduation Rate: 80%

Admission Requirements:

Admission requirements for this program include the following:   

  • A bachelor’s degree in a related field with a 3.0 or higher GPA
  • GRE Scores
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement
  • An updated resume

Students applying to this University of Minnesota’s Master’s program must have the following prerequisites coursework before admission:   

  • Anatomy & Physiology of the Speech & Hearing Mechanisms
  • Phonetics, Speech Science 
  • Rehabilitative Audiology

Career outcomes for this graduate program are strong as 100% of graduates have passed the Praxis Exam and found employment in the SLP filed within one year of graduation. 

9.  University of Iowa

The University of Iowa offers an SLP graduate program through the Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology Program. This SLP program especially helps you work with children in schools and with people fighting debilitating diseases in a nursing home.   

Acceptance Rate: 84%

Graduation Rate: 74%

Admission Requirements:

The University of Iowa’s top SLP program is one of the most selective ones as you should have the following:

  • A 3.4 or higher undergraduate GPA
  • Verbal GRE Scores over the 40th percentile
  • Quantitative GRE scores anywhere over the 40th percentile

Like other SLP graduate programs, you combine on-campus classes with supervised clinical practice. Some courses will include the following:

  • Intro to Stuttering Disorders
  • Manual Communication
  • Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Disorders
  • Neurogenic Disorders of Speech and Swallowing 

You must also complete a two-week outplacement experience and three practicums. This SLP program is offered both with and without a thesis. Further, if you want to find specific to Newyork Speech Pathology program.

    10. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Best Speech Pathology Graduate Programs in US

The University of North Carolina offers an SLP degree through its Master of Science in Speech and Hearing Disorders. This SLP program is one of the best of its kind.

Acceptance Rate: 25%

Graduation Rate: 91%

Admission Requirements:

The average profile of an admitted student is as follows:

  • A vast range of life experience
  • A 3.74 GPA
  • GRE scores in at least the 70th percentile
  • extensive extracurricular activities
  • Completed prerequisite courses

While you can still gain admission without meeting all of the above standards, you will have to focus on:

  • The quality of your resume
  • Purpose statement
  • Letters of recommendation

This 60-credit curriculum consists of foundational studies, recent research, and on-the-ground experiences in local speech therapy work environments. Students who do not wish to become ASHA certifies can also choose a non-clinical practice track of this program.

Frequently Asked Quesions:

What type of SLP makes the most money?

According to the American Speech-Langage_Hearing Association (ASHA) salary survey, the SLPs working in nursing and residential facilities are the highest-paid speech pathologists. The annual average salary of these SLPs is $95,000. The BLS also reported a similar mean yearly salary of SLPs in this setting where it is around $94,840.    

What are the easiest SLP programs to get into?

The top 10 easiest SLP programs include

Sr. no:  Name of the InstitutionAcceptance RateSchool Location
  1.Augustana College96%Rock Island, Illinois
2.Minot State University95%Monit, North Dakota
3.Eastern Kentucky University93%Richmond, Kentucky
4.Truman State University93%Kirksville, Missouri
5.Marywood University  90%Scranton, Pennsylvania
6.University of Southern California89%Los Angeles, California 
7.Abilene Christian University  88%Abilene, Texas
8.University of Mary88%Bismarck, North Dakota
9.Loyola University Maryland88%Timonium, Maryland 
10.George Washington University84%Washington, DC

What major is best for an SLP?

A few of the popular undergraduate majors for future speech-language pathologists (SLP) include:

  • Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Linguistics
  • Language Development
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • English

Where is the best place to be an SLP?

Although there are countless working setups for SLPs throughout the U.S. the best places to work as a speech pathologist include large cities like Honolulu and Pittsburgh. Other smaller cities that may also need certified speech pathologists include Nashville, Houston, and Indianapolis.   

Is a master’s in SLP hard?

No, it is not as hard as some students may consider it due to its high admission requirements. You just have to:

  • Start early!
  • Don’t get too hung up on the number, but realize the numbers do count
  • Have multiple people edit your essay
  • Do Your Research
  • Take good care of the people writing your recommendations

Is it hard to get into SLP grad school?

Although it can be pretty competitive in the SLP graduate program, it’s never too hard to get into. There are people out there who will say you need a 4.0 GPA, steller recommendations, outstanding GREs, and lots of valuable experience. But for you to get selected for one of these programs, you need the following:

  • Start early!
  • Don’t get too hung up on the number, but realize the numbers do count
  • Have multiple people edit your essay
  • Do Your Research
  • Take good care of the people writing your recommendations

Can SLP have a STEM major?

Yes, an SLP graduate program uses a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) as a major. This is used for vocabulary and activities to cultivate language and literacy skills among students.

What state has the highest salary for Speech pathologists?

The states and districts that pay Speech-Language Pathologists the highest mean salary include:

  • Columbia ($101,920)
  • Connecticut (100,590)
  • New Jersy (100,330)
  • New York (98,010)
  • California ($95,570)

Where is the highest demand for SLPs?  

 The highest demand for SLPs tends to be in major metropolitan areas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), states with some of the highest average SLP salaries include the following:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • New York

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