The Communication Disorders (CD) program at WKU was established in 1975 and has since expanded to include many residential and distance learning opportunities. The M.S.(Master's Degree) education program in speech-language pathology at Western Kentucky University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard #310, Rockville, Maryland 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700. Housed in Tate Page Hall, the CD Department is a part of the College of Health and Human Services. The Communication Disorders Department also houses American Sign Language Studies (ASLS) which offers an undergraduate minor or an undergraduate certificate (for details click here).
We are proud of our program and our alumni! Employed across the country in a variety of settings, our students proudly represent the best of the Hilltopper family. Click here to view our program completion rates, Praxis exam pass rates, and employment rates for the past 3 years.
The mission of the Communication Disorders program is:
- Training students in the knowledge and skills underlying communication sciences and disorders.
- Preparing students for careers in speech pathology and/or audiology.
- Promoting students’ acquisition of respect for individual differences, cultural diversity, and ethical responsibility.
- Enhancing students’ commitment to and appreciation of excellence in education, service, and research.
- Encouraging life-long professional learning.
What is a Speech Language Pathologist?
Speech Language Pathologists, also known as Speech Therapists or Speech Pathologists, are health service providers who evaluate and diagnose disorders associated with speech, language, cognition, communication, and swallowing in individuals from infants to geriatrics. They work with a wide variety of people, including: those who cannot articulate speech sounds or produce them clearly, have difficulties understanding and using language, problems with fluency or rhythm of speech such as stuttering, difficulty with feeding or swallowing, vocal quality problems such as hoarseness, inappropriate pitch, and resonance issues like cleft palate, individuals who wish to achieve better communication skills through accent reduction, and cognitive communication impairments dealing with problem solving, memory, and attention.
What settings do Speech Language Pathologists work in?
Speech Language Pathologists have an infinite amount of settings they can pursue during their career. Settings they could possibly work in include but are not limited to public or private schools, hospitals, private practice, short and long term health care facilities, adult day care centers, college and universities, home health agencies, state and local health departments, community clinics, rehabilitation centers, centers for persons with developmental disabilities, and research laboratories.
What salary can a Speech Language Pathologist expect to earn?
Earnings for Speech Language Pathologists are dependent on the amount of education, years of experience, and state and type of setting employed in. Some jobs will also offer good incentives for working, such as paid vacations and insurance policies.
For more detailed information regarding average employment, median wages overall, by geographic area, etc please click here to access the Bureau of Labor and Statistics website for Speech Language Pathology.
Employment in this field is growing at a rapid pace due to many factors. Members of the baby boomer generation are reaching middle age, which increases the risk of speech, language, and swallowing impairments associated with neurological disorders. Due to medical advances, people who have strokes, traumatic brain trauma, and premature infants are surviving and in need of assessment and many times treatment to restore lost function. Employment ratings will also continue to rise in education due to federal mandates put in place, in which states must offer special education and related services to children with disabilities. Individuals with impairments and disabilities are also being identified at a younger age due to greater awareness, increasing the amount of services delivered. Opportunities will also be more favorable for those, in particular who speak a second language such as Spanish due to the increases in immigration. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, "employment of speech-language pathologists is expected to grow by 19 percent from 2008 to 2018."
A May 2012 publication in the ASHA LEADER also discusses the job outlook and growth of the field of Speech Language Pathology. Click here to read the article.
According to CNN Money website Speech-Language Pathologist is the #1 Best Job for Working Parents and #14 in Best Jobs for Saving the World!!
Bureau of Labor and Statistics (2009, December 17). Occupational outlook handbook, 2010-2011 edition: Speech language pathologists. Retrieved June 7, 2011 from http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos099.htm#oes_links.
American Speech Language Hearing Association. Fact sheet for speech-language pathologists. Retrieved April 22, 2010 from http://www.asha.org/careers/professions/slp.htm.
ASHA LEADER. ASHA Members: 150,000 Strong and Growing. Retrieved May 21, 2012 from http://www.asha.org/Publications/leader/2012/120515/ASHA-Members-150000-Strong-and-Growing/?utm_source=asha&utm_medium=enewsletter&utm_campaign=051512ll
CNN Money. Best Jobs in America. Retrieved October 31, 2011 from http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/best-jobs/.Department of Communication Disorders Western Kentucky University 1906 College Heights Blvd. #41030 Bowling Green, KY 42101-1030 Fax # (270) 745-3441
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