Audiologist & Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) Schools

Audiologists and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) specialize in the medical complexities of communication. Audiologists focus on diagnosing, preventing, and treating hearing and balance problems. Speech-language pathologists specialize in diagnosing and treating speech, language, and swallowing disorders. These are two separate professions, but they’re strongly connected.

When hearing is impacted, often language is, too—and vice versa—meaning audiologists and SLPs collaborate and refer to one another frequently. At the undergraduate level, aspiring audiologists and SLPs may even major in the same subject (e.g., speech and hearing sciences). The links extend to several stages of an audiologist or SLP’s career, from pooling scientific and academic research to holding the same public policy agendas.

Differences remain, however. For example, nearly half of all speech-language pathologists work in education-affiliated settings, where they may work with students throughout a school district. But only one in ten audiologists work in educational settings, with the majority instead working in healthcare settings. Further specialization in both fields leads to nuanced pockets of practice that further differentiate themselves.

Audiologists may specialize in several different areas, including:

  • Balance
  • Cochlear Implants
  • Geriatrics
  • Pediatrics
  • Tinnitus

Speech-language pathologists may specialize in one of the following areas:

  • Child Language and Language Disorders
  • Fluency and Fluency Disorders
  • Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders

The most critical difference between these two professions is that audiologists will need a doctoral degree to practice, while SLPs may need only a master’s degree. While the professions remain closely aligned, very few people simultaneously practice speech-language pathology and audiology. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), less than 1,000 of its 200,000 members are certified to work as both audiologists and speech-language pathologists.

Whether you’re considering becoming an audiologist or a speech-language pathologist, the future is bright. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022), openings for speech-language pathologists will increase 21 percent nationally between 2021 and 2031, making speech-language pathology one of the fastest-growing occupations in the nation. Audiology is forecasted to grow 10 percent over the same timeframe—a rate that’s twice as fast as the national average (5 percent).

Read on to learn about educational programs in these two intertwined professions.

Admissions Requirements for Audiologist Schools & SLP Programs

Admissions requirements for audiologist schools and SLP programs will vary from institution to institution and based on the level of education sought.

For undergraduate programs, admissions requirements typically include:

  • A strong high school GPA (3.0 or greater)
  • SAT and/or ACT scores
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • A personal statement

For graduate programs, admissions requirements typically include:

  • A strong undergraduate GPA (3.0 or greater)
  • GMAT and/or GRE scores
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • A personal statement
  • Prerequisite coursework
  • Relevant work experience

Do note that international students may also need to present a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score.

Audiologist School & SLP Program Accreditation

Accreditation ensures that a university, school, or program is meeting quality standards. Accreditation means students and employers can trust an educational institution, and it’s of paramount importance in an increasingly fragmented landscape of on-campus, online, and hybrid programs.

At the undergraduate level, audiologist schools and SLP programs will generally receive a broad regional accreditation. Those regional accrediting entities include:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

At the graduate level, it’s critical that audiology and SLP programs be accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. Professional audiologists and speech-language pathologists who seek out state licensure or registration will need to have graduated from programs accredited by this entity in particular.

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On-Campus Audiologist & SLP Schools – Degree Programs

Arizona State University (MS in Communication Disorders)

ASU’s on-campus master of science in communication disorders program prepares students to become certified speech-language pathologists. Students in this program are trained to treat and evaluate clients with language, speech, swallowing, and cognitive disorders.

The first three semesters cover core classes such as the neural bases of communication disorders; clinical methods in speech-language pathology; differential diagnosis of communication disorders; and language assessment and intervention. The final two semesters are dedicated to specializations and clinical skills, drawing on electives like bilingual language acquisition, sign language for audiologists and speech pathologists, and counseling in communication disorders.

The full program comprises 60 credits and can be completed in 20 months. The curriculum includes a clinical practicum and an internship.

  • Location: Tempe, AZ
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 20 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident ($1,378 per credit); non-resident ($1,881 per credit)

Washington State University (MS in Speech and Hearing Sciences)

WSU’s master of science in speech and hearing sciences program specializing in speech-language pathology prepares graduates to work as speech-language pathologists in both educational and medical settings. Virtually all of the program’s graduates are gainfully employed in clinical fellowship positions following graduation.

The curriculum’s course of study emphasizes behavioral, neurological, physiological, and psychological dimensions of normal development, fundamental communication processes, and communication disorders. Required courses include topics such as school-age and adolescent language; motor speech disorders; dysphagia; voice and resonance disorders; autism spectrum disorder; problems in stuttering; augmentative communication; and neurogenic disorders of language and cognition.

  • Location: Spokane, WA
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU); Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident ($6,474 per semester); non-resident ($13,872 per semester)

Illinois State University (AuD)

Illinois State University’s doctor of audiology (AuD) program prepares students for work as certified clinical audiologists. This four-year program consists of formal coursework, a practicum, a year-long residency, and an independent study capstone project.

Students will take a total of 86 credits: 54 credits of coursework, 26 credits of clinical practicum, and six credits of a capstone. Required courses include psychoacoustics; auditory processing and disorders; implantable auditory prostheses; vestibular evaluation and rehabilitation; and business and practice management in audiology.

Illinois State University is also home to the Eckelmann-Taylor Speech and Hearing Clinic, which boasts state-of-the-art equipment and treats over 12,000 clients a year.

  • Location: Normal, IL
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 48 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($414.69 per credit); out-of-state ($861.35 per credit)

Arizona State University (AuD)

ASU’s highly-ranked doctor of audiology (AuD) program is designed to prepare audiologists for autonomous and evidence-based clinical practice. This full-time, three-year program is followed by a flexible one-year clinical externship.

The three-year course of study consists of three parts: basic science coursework, professional knowledge coursework, and clinical practicum experiences. Courses include topics such as neurophysiology of the auditory system; physiologic measures of auditory function; auditory pathologies and disorders; and cochlear implants.

Students will be given formative, summative, and certification exams throughout the course of their study. Upon completion, students will have satisfied all academic and clinical requirements for state licensure.

  • Location: Tempe, AZ
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Three or four years
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident ($1,322 per credit); non-resident ($1,825 per credit)

Online Audiologist Schools & SLP Programs

 

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Arizona State University (Online BS in Speech and Hearing Sciences)

ASU’s online bachelor of science in speech and hearing sciences program covers all the essential aspects of human communication. The degree provides graduates with the foundational knowledge necessary to enter graduate-level audiology and speech-language pathology programs.

The core curriculum includes classes that cover topics such as developmental speech and language disorders; clinical methods and treatment of communication disorders; acquired speech and language disorders; and an introduction to phonetics. Graduates of the program will be prepared for licensure as SLP assistants within Arizona.

Graduates can explore several professional paths. Potential roles include advocates, audiologists, community health workers, hearing aid specialists, human behavior researchers, speech-language pathology assistants, and speech pathologists.

  • Location: Tempe, AZ
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 48 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $700 per credit

New York University (Online Master’s Program in Speech-Language Pathology)

NYU’s online master’s in speech-language pathology program, [email protected], prepares students to earn their speech-language pathology certification. The curriculum is evidence-based and person-centered, enabling graduates to serve diverse populations. The program is offered by the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders.

The curriculum includes 48 graduate-level credits and 375 direct clinical contact hours. Classes cover topics such as adult language disorders; speech/sound disorders in children; critical evaluation of research in communicative sciences and disorders; motor speech disorders; and principles of intervention with speech-language disorders. GRE scores are not required for admission.

In addition to online coursework, students will need to attend two on-campus immersion sessions to help them prepare to perform clinical diagnostics in speech pathology.

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Six to eight semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: $2,020 per credit

Baylor University (Online MS in Communication Sciences and Disorders)

Baylor University’s online master of science in communication sciences and disorders program, [email protected], is rooted in research, clinical experiences, and real-world competencies. Baylor brings over a half-century of SLP experience to its online offering.

The curriculum consists of 45 credits, with classes exploring topics such as language development; phonological science; clinical audiology; structures and functions in communication and swallowing; speech sound disorders; aphasiology; and aural rehabilitation. The program includes both clinical practicums and a clinical internship.

Graduates can pursue SLP careers in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, schools, skilled nursing facilities, private individual or group practices, residential facilities, physicians’ offices, and speech, language, and hearing centers.

  • Location: Waco, TX
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 20 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,840 per credit

University of Northern Colorado (Online MA in Speech-Language Pathology)

The University of Northern Colorado’s master of arts in speech-language pathology program prepares students for entry-level work as speech-language pathologists. The program uses a clinician-researcher model and strongly emphasizes evidence-based practice.

The curriculum includes classes covering topics such as behavioral research evaluation; neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of communication; articulation and phonological disorders in children; and diagnostic procedures.

The program consists of 63 to 75 credits and includes a two-week residency at the university’s Greeley campus for laboratory experiences. The program also includes an internship. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be eligible for licensure and certification in most states.

  • Location: Greeley, CO
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 36 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $630 per credit

University of Nebraska Kearney (Online MS in Speech-Language Pathology)

The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers an online master of science program in speech-language pathology, providing students with the requisite skills, technological proficiency, and knowledge to earn appropriate licenses, certifications, and credentials needed to practice successfully and ethically as speech-language pathologists. The communication disorders master’s degree prepares graduates to work in various settings ,such as public schools, early intervention programs, hospitals, nursing homes, federal and state institutions, and rehabilitation centers.

Made up of 53 credits, the program includes courses such as diagnostic methods; alternative augmentative communication; voice & resonance disorder; cognitive communication disorders; dysphagia; aphasia rehabilitation; and motor speech, among others. The program also includes practicums and internships.

Graduates will be ready to take up positions such as medically-based clinicians, school-based clinicians, lecturers, researchers, clinic administrators, and clinic supervisors.

  • Location: Kearney, NE
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Nine semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: $750 per credit

Emerson College (Online MS in Communication Disorders)

Emerson College offers an online master of science program in communication disorders, [email protected], preparing students to address communicative challenges faced by their clients across their life spans. Preparing students for national certification and licensure as speech-language pathologists, this online program offers multiple start dates throughout the year and does not require GRE scores for admission. Students can complete this program in 20 months by taking the five-term track or 36 months by taking the nine-term track.

Delivered and designed by exceptional faculty members, this 54-credit online program includes two immersions at Emerson’s Boston campus, 375 direct client/patient clinical contact hours, and twenty-five guided clinical observation hours. Students will learn cognitive, family-focused, psychosocial, developmental, medical, and behavioral models through on-campus immersions, clinical placements, and live class sessions.

The curriculum comprises 54 credits, including 51 credits of clinical and academic courses and three one-credit seminars taken during two immersions. Some of the topics students will delve into include fluency disorders; speech sound disorders; dysphagia; language and literacy disabilities; motor speech disorders; voice disorders; augmentative and alternative communication; and neurological bases of communication.

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE); Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 5-term track (20 months); 9-term track (36 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,349 per credit

Audiology & SLP Professors to Know

Dr. Kelly Bridges is a clinical associate professor and the director of the master’s program in the department of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University. She’s developed four courses for (and actively teaches in) the school’s online MS program, [email protected] An alumna herself, she earned her PhD in communicative sciences and disorders from the university in 2014.

Dr. Bridges’s clinical and teaching interests include neuroanatomy and physiology, adult neurogenic communication disorders, and dysphagia. She’s authored and co-authored academic papers on aphasia and dysphagia, older sibling influences on the language environment and language development of toddlers in bilingual homes, and the role of subcortical structures in recited speech. She completed her MA from Florida Atlantic University and a BA from Loyola University Maryland.

Dr. Julie Hanks is a professor assistant department chair of audiology and speech-language sciences at the University of Northern Colorado. She holds an MA in speech-language pathology and an EdD in special education (deafness), both of which she earned from the University of Northern Colorado. She completed her BA in speech and hearing science from the University of California.

Dr. Hanks’s research interests lie in clinical training and the speech production of children who are deaf and hard of hearing. She’s authored academic papers on promoting literacy skills of children who use cochlear implants, as well as one on the collaboration between speech-language pathology and deaf education.

Dr. Diane Loeb is a professor and the Martin Family Endowed Chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Baylor University. She earned her MS in speech-language pathology from the University of Nevada, Reno, and her PhD in speech-language pathology from Purdue University.

Dr. Loeb’s expertise is focused on language development, language disorders, and language intervention. She’s served as an associate editor for three ASHA journals and is a current editorial board member for another. Her dedication to the profession has earned her multiple awards for contributions to academic journals, research, and education in speech-language pathology.

Matt Zbrog
Matt Zbrog Writer

Matt Zbrog is a writer and freelancer who has been living abroad since 2016. His nonfiction has been published by Euromaidan Press, Cirrus Gallery, and Our Thursday. Both his writing and his experience abroad are shaped by seeking out alternative lifestyles and counterculture movements, especially in developing nations. You can follow his travels through Eastern Europe and Central Asia on Instagram at @weirdviewmirror. He’s recently finished his second novel, and is in no hurry to publish it.