speech language pathologist

Do you know a family member or friend who is speech impaired? These people have something to say and want to express themselves but are unable to. By becoming a speech pathologist with expertise in this speech disorder, you can help patients overcome their struggles.

Clinical practice is an essential component of Clinical Science in Speech-Language Pathology, which explains why direct training contact is necessary. Well-established universities may offer only the face-to-face didactic format of learning but most CScD programs today are conducted on hybrid learning platforms.

These hybrid arrangements allow you to obtain a Doctor of Clinical Science in Speech-Language Pathology (CScD) through a combination of online and classroom format.

dr clinical speech language pathologist doctorate

What does a speech pathologist do?

Speech pathologists are medical practitioners who specialize in providing healthcare to differently abled individuals particularly those having difficulties in communicating. They study, diagnose, and treat people facing challenges in social skills, namely talking, listening, reading, and writing. They conduct therapy sessions with patients who stutter or stammer. They also treat persons with difficulties swallowing foods and drinks.

Aside from dealing with the patient, a speech pathologist also guides and counsels families on how to care for their loved one and create a comfortable and supportive environment for them. They also offer guidance on the social dynamics of having a relative with a speech disorder.

The job of speech pathologists is not only limited to people who are born with language difficulties. In most cases, speech pathologists attend to patients that have acquired speech problems from medical conditions like stroke, dementia, developmental delays, mental health issues, and physical injury.

dr clinical speech language pathologist doctorate

What sort of accreditation should I look for in a Doctor of Clinical Science in Speech-Language Pathology school?

The American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) supervises the accreditation of Speech-Language educational programs of institutions in the US. The doctorate programs under this accreditation body include Doctor of Clinical Science in Speech-Language Pathology (CScD), Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.), Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology (SLPD), and Doctor of Philosophy in Speech-Language Pathology (Ph.D.).

Some medical schools offering Speech-Language courses advertise their institutions having regional accreditations, but ASHA is currently the sole authority in the national level.

dr clinical speech language pathologist doctorate

How do I earn my CScD degree?

You can enroll in a CScD program if you have a bachelor’s in Biology, Chemistry, or Assistive Medicine or a master’s degree related to Speech-Language Pathology. You also need to submit necessary documentation like the GRE scores and letters of recommendation.

The length of the CScD program varies according to your current credentials as an applicant. Bachelor’s degree holders typically finish the program for five years. Those with a Masters diploma, on the other hand, complete it in about two and a half years if they have a Certificate of Clinical Competence for Speech-Language Pathologists (CCC-SLP) from ASHA. Students without a CCC-SLP earn the CScD degree in three years.

The same steps also apply to applicants having a Ph.D. degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Ph.D. degree holders without a CCC-SLP can finish the CSCD program within 2.5 to 3 years. PhD-level applicants with a CCC-SLP complete it in about two years.

Some institutions offer a special-joint program wherein aspirants finish a Masters degree, a CScD degree, and a Ph.D. in Speech-Language Pathology all at once in the span of 6 to 6.5 years.

The CScD coursework focuses on the clinical aspect of Speech Pathology, unlike the research-oriented Ph.D. program. In a CScD program, students are expected to complete 87 to 90 credit units of on-campus attendance and clinical practice.

dr clinical speech language pathologist doctorate

Can I pursue research or teaching as a Clinical Science in Speech-Language Pathology graduate?

If you are interested in teaching Speech-Language Pathology, graduate schools require either a CScD, SPLD, or a Ph.D. on your resume. If you are more interested in the research part of the field, we recommend you earn a Ph.D. instead.

Although research is not heavily required in the CScD program, students attend research-intensive academic conferences and publish scholarly papers. Usually, a Ph.D. degree holder takes the leadership role in collaborative research endeavors.

dr clinical speech language pathologist doctorate

What kind of career and salary can I expect with my CScD degree?

CScD graduates mostly work in hospital settings. They work with medical doctors and professionals specializing in the People with Disability (PWD) cohort. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), speech pathologists working in the clinical environment earn an average of $76,610 per year.

A speech pathologist with CScD degree can also teach and pursue their career and practice at the same time. Doctorate-level school faculty members earn a starting wage of $52,853, which increases to up to $75,870 based on tenure. Those who are participating in clinical research earn more.

dr clinical speech language pathologist doctorate

Do I need a license to be a speech pathologist?

Yes. The American Speech and Hearing Association awards the Certificate of Clinical Competence for Speech-Language Pathologists (CCC-SLP). Master’s degree holders with at least 400 hours of clinical practice can take the ASHA exam. In due time, you might need a CScD degree to get this certification.

dr clinical speech language pathologist doctorate

Which schools offer Doctor of Clinical Science in Speech-Language Pathology degrees?

The University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania provides a “state-of-the-science” training for CScD in a brick-and-mortar format. It is a program designed for professionals who wish to advance their education. The university also connects to employers and presents them with employment opportunities in Pittsburgh.

The Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in Provo, Utah awards a CScD and Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology (SLPD) degree through a limited residency program. This means that graduate students have access to online materials for their coursework. However, students are required to attend on-campus classes for up to 6 days.

Most ASHA-accredited schools now offer the SLPD degree as a similar alternative to CScD. They include Nova Southeastern University – SLP Program in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois; and The University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas.

dr clinical speech language pathologist doctorate

Communication is a two-way process. If you are passionate about bridging the language gap and help people with speech disorders, become a certified expert by enrolling in a CScD program.