Best 15 Masters in Speech Pathology in 2021

March 31, 2021 | Staff Writers

Masters in Speech Pathology
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Are you considering a masters in speech pathology or a similar credential? If so, we’ve put together a list of some of the best Master’s programs you can take. But first, let’s take a look at the career prospects for students who complete a graduate degree in speech pathology.

Earning a Master’s to Pursue a Career in Speech-Pathology

A masters in speech pathology will prepare you for a career as a speech-language pathologist.

Speech-Language pathologists are respected healthcare providers who help people of various ages deal with speaking, language, and swallowing related disorders. It’s estimated that between 5 to 10 percent of Americans deal with one or more communication disorders. Fortunately, treatment is available and speech pathologists play a vital role in helping people overcome their speech disorders.

While many speech pathologists work with children, helping to identify and treat speech problems early on, many pathologists also work with adults and the elderly. It’s important to address communication issues no matter the patient’s age.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that language-speech pathologists earned a median pay of $79,120 in 2019. Not only is a career addressing communicative disorders well-paying, but the sector is enjoying much faster than average job growth (25 percent between 2019 and 2029).

Rapid job growth will help ensure that graduates can secure job placement and may also help them secure higher wages and better benefits. Some language-speech pathology programs even report near 100 percent job placement.

How Do I Become a Speech Pathologist?

Generally speaking, to become a speech pathologist you need to earn a masters in speech pathology or a similar degree that allows you to become a licensed pathologist. You will also have to secure licensing in the specific state you plan to work in. Requirements can vary from state-to-state so make sure you check with the state authorities in your chosen area of work.

Most speech pathology Master’s degrees are completed within 2 to 3 years. Many programs feature roughly 2 years of coursework and then clinical practice ranging from 1 summer/semester to one year.

As of 2020, in-person Master’s degrees in Speech Pathology appeared to be more common than online degrees. However, some universities do offer accredited online Master’s degrees in Language-Speech Pathology. Remember to first check with the appropriate state authorities when considering any particular Master’s degree in Language-Speech pathology.

Fifteen of the Best Master’s In Speech Pathology Degree Programs

Let’s take a look at some of the best masters in speech pathology degrees in the United States. While Universities often use different names for their degrees, you can rest assured that the following degrees will help you prepare for a career as a speech and language pathologist.

Best 15 Masters in Speech Pathology

1. James Madison University (94 points)

James Madison University is a well-regarded public university located in Virginia and is home to one of the best speech pathology masters in speech pathology programs in the US. Students at James Madison University will complete a Master’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. The program tries to balance clinical practice and research, preparing students for a number of roles in either practice or research. While applicants do not need a related bachelor’s degree before enrolling, they do need to complete most of the prerequisites. Students can complete coursework in person, however, JMU also offers online course options for their Master’s in Speech-Language pathology.

  • Total Tuition Cost: $21,956
  • 4 year graduation rate: 69 percent

2. UNC Greensboro (93 points)

Students who enroll at UNC Greensboro‘s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders will earn a Master’s of Art’s program in Speech Pathology. This program is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation, which is part of the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The program typically takes five semesters to complete and students will take 66 credits’ worth of classes, with 9 credits’ worth of hands-on internships. Courses cover a wide rage of speech pathology issues, as well as other related topics, like ethics.

  • Total Tuition Costs: $13,047.5
  • 4 year graduation rate: 46 percent

3. Illinois State University (91 points)

The faculty at Illinois State University Communication Sciences Disorders note that their program is both an academic department and a professional preparation program. Students who enroll in a Master’s of Science in Speech-language Pathology will complete six semesters of study, including 40 hours of coursework, 18 hours of clinical practice, and will also complete one of the following: independent study, comprehensive exams, or Master’s Thesis. Students can learn to assist patients of all ages and who are suffering from a variety of speech and swallowing related issues.

  • Total Tuition Cost: $23,408.22
  • 4 year graduation rate: 50 percent

4. Bowling Green State University (90 points)

Bowling Green State University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders offers students an opportunity to complete a Master’s of Science with a concentration in Speech-Language Pathology. Students will complete four semesters of coursework over the course of two years. During this time, students will also complete practica experiences at sites throughout Ohio. After that, students complete a required one semester externship to learn hands on speech pathology skills. This program is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.

  • Total Tuition Cost: $21,379.2
  • 4 year graduation rate: 42 percent

5. University of Iowa (89 points)

The University of Iowa is home to a top-notch master’s program in Speech-Language pathology and the program is relatively affordable as well. The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, previously known as the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, is one of the oldest of its kind in the world. The department attracts faculty members who are at the cutting-edge of their field and top-notch graduate students as well. Students will combine in-classroom and hands-on learning to obtain a well rounded education.

  • Total Tuition Cost: $27,449
  • 4 year graduation rate: 54 percent

6. Emerson College (88 points)

Students working in the Robins Center. Photo by Derek Palmer.

At Emerson College, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders offers an on-campus graduate degree program that provides students with career-ready skills and the hands-on experience needed to make an immediate impact on people’s lives. The 72-credit curriculum is designed to prepare you to work with the full array of communication disorders across the lifespan. It combines foundational coursework, academic coursework, clinical methods, clinical practicum, and intersession courses. [email protected] also offers an MS in Communication Disorders Online where students don’t attend classes on campus but will complete hands-on training at local sites in their area overseen by Emerson clinicians.

Emerson College’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders joins their voice with all those calling for an end to race-based injustice and systemic racism. To learn more about their commitment to racial equity, visit https://www.emerson.edu/academics/academic-departments/communication-sciences-disorders/departmental-statement-racial.

  • Total Tuition Cost: $69,984
  • 3 year graduation rate: 97 percent

8. University of Central Florida (87 points) 

If you happen to enjoy warm weather and are looking for a place to complete a masters in speech pathology, the University of Central Florida should make your shortlist. Located in Orlando, UCF offers a well-regarded Master’s in Speech Pathology through their school of Communication Sciences and Disorders. 72 hours of coursework, minimum, is required to complete this degree, which can typically be completed in two years. Graduates will be certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and will be licensed in the state of Florida.

  • Total Tuition Cost: $26,614.8
  • 4 year graduation rate: 100 percent

8. Vanderbilt University (87 points)

Vanderbilt University is a highly regarded university and is among the most prestigious in the world. Some experts believe that the university offers the best masters in speech pathology program in the United States as far as academic rigor is concerned. This selective program will prepare students for a career in speech pathology, offering a solid mix of skills and academic knowledge. The program typically takes five semesters and you’ll complete 49 to 59 credits.

  • Total Program Tuition Costs- $112,059
  • University 4-year graduation rate: 90 percent

10. Duquesne University (85 points)

Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit is a private Catholic university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Besides offering a traditional Master’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology, students can opt to complete a five year program through which students can earn both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. This accelerated program may help students start their career in Speech Pathology more quickly. The Master’s program covers a range of speech pathology and other professional topics and is accredited by accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.

  • Total Tuition Cost: $110,334
  • 4 year graduation rate: 71 percent

10. Northwestern University (85 points)

Northwestern University is home to one of the best Speech Language Pathology departments in the world. If you complete this program, you’ll earn a Master’s of Science in Speech, Language, and Learning. Besides learning how to help people with speaking and swallowing disorders, graduates of this Speech Language Pathology master’s program will cultivate leadership skills, self-supervision, and how to conduct research. Northwestern’s well-rounded speech pathology program will prepare students for a number of roles after graduation.

  • Total Program Tuition Cost: $113,946
  • 4 year graduation rate: 84 percent

11. Utah State University (83 points)

If you enroll at Utah State University, you will be able to choose between a Master’s of Art or a Master’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. Topics covered in this program may include fluency, articulation, voice and resonance, swallowing, and language development. Specialized training to assist children who are deaf or hard of hearing is also available. Besides in-class coursework, students will also have to complete a one year clinical fellowship. Students will then be well on their way to starting a career as a speech-language pathologist.

  • Total Tuition Cost: $23,831.88
  • 4 year graduation rate: 23 percent

13. CUNY–Queens College (82 points)

If you happen to live in or near the so-called Big Apple, the City University of New York (CUNY) – Queens College offers a well-regarded Master’s of Art degree in Speech-Language Pathology. You will complete your studies typically over the course of two years, which includes one summer semester of study. Classes are small and entering cohorts usually follow the same curriculum. Faculty members strive to provide one-on-one clinical training. The degree program is approved by the New York State Department of Education.

  • Total Tuition Cost: $27,725
  • 4 year graduation rate: 27 percent

13. Georgia State University (82 points)

Located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, Georgia State University is one of the largest universities in the world. Students can earn a Master’s of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Students with a related bachelor’s degree typically have to complete 63 credits’ worth of courses, which will cover speech pathology, teamwork, working in a clinical setting, and more. Students enrolling without a related undergraduate degree can still complete a degree but will have to take additional coursework, with the program totaling 90 credits spread out over three years.

  • Total Tuition Costs: $28,656
  • 4 year graduation rate: 28 percent

15. Gallaudet University (77 points)

Gallaudet University specializes in educating the deaf and hard of hearing, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the program also has one of the best masters in speech pathology in the U.S. The program takes roughly two years to complete with coursework spread across five semesters. The program offers extra focus on communication issues with the deaf or hard-of-hearing. The program curriculum offers a  mix of lab, course, and clinical work in swallowing, speech, hearing and language.

  • Total Tuition Costs: $90,900
  • 4 year graduation rate: 27 percent

15. Portland State University (77 points)

The master’s degree in speech-language pathology offered by Portland State University typically takes two years to complete and will teach you how to treat, assess, and prevent language, speech, and swallowing disorders. Besides in-class learning, you will also complete 400 hours of direct clinical training that will help you build and expand your skills in the work environment. Portland State University reports a job placement rate of nearly 100 percent. PSU generally welcomes a cohort of just 20 students per year, helping to ensure students get individual attention and assistance.

  • Total Tuition Cost: $34,188
  • 4 year graduation rate: 20 percent

Please Note: If you believe we have made an error while putting together our list of the best Master’s programs in Speech Pathology or would like to provide more recent data, please feel free to get in touch. We’re happy to hear from you.

Our Ranking Methodology
First we calculated total tuition cost based on cost per credit hour in-state and the number of credit hours to complete the Master’s degree. Some programs only listed costs per total program or per semester. The most affordable Master’s program based on tuition costs was given a score of 50 while the most expensive program was given a score of 36.

Keep in mind that in-state and out-of-state tuition prices can vary dramatically at public universities. Our ranking calculation is based on in-state costs. You should check universities within your state to better understand how much local programs may cost.

In order to better understand the overall quality of the university, we looked at 4 year graduation rates for each school. The school with the highest graduation rate received a score of 50. The school with the lowest graduation rate received a 36.

We then combined both numbers, with higher scores corresponding with a higher ranking program.

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