Thursday, May 1, 2014

So, you wanna know how to become an SLP?

Helllloo everybody!

I’ve been on a huge hiatus- grad school has been kicking my booty! But now that spring break is here and I’ve had a second to breathe, I’ve committed to getting back on the blog lifestyle!

Since grad school has been taking up most of my time lately, I thought I would do a post giving some information on my program!

Choosing to major in Speech and Language Pathology has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made- it is such a rewarding career path! I truly believe that in order to feel fulfilled, I need a career in which I can help others and hopefully help to better someone else’s life, if even in a small way! I think people don’t realize how important the ability to communicate is until theirs has been impaired. When I’m on my deathbed, I want to know that I made a difference to someone.

So before choosing to become an SLP, it’s important to realize that it is a challenging path and requires dedication. But like I said before…SO WORTH IT!  

Here is some info about becoming an SLP!

1. A master’s degree is required to become a licensed SLP, and getting accepted into these programs can be difficult. My cohort consists of 23 students that were selected from about 150 applicants. So make sure to get those A’s in undergrad!

2. Once you’re in, you will have classes, but on TOP of that, you are an advanced clinical student. This means that you will have your own clients that you will give therapy to (for us, its three clients, twice a week). Side note: For me, this is the scariest part! Clients can range from nonverbal two year olds to elderly patients who have had a stroke. Figuring out how to treat all of these different patients is challenging for a new clinician!

3. The first three semesters consist of classes and clinic, while the last two consist of a medical and then a school based externship. The medical externship takes place at a hospital, skilled nursing facility, rehab center, etc. The school externship takes place in a school (duhh). During the externships, we work under a licensed SLP and get hands on experience. I will start mine next fall, but from what I’ve heard, you are basically assessing and providing therapy all on your own (with supervision of course, but still- SCARY, EEEEK)! 

4. In our program, you can either write a thesis or take comprehensive exams. The majority of us take comps. There are four doctorate level professors in our program who will each come up with one question. The questions can be about literally ANYTHING that we have covered the past two years, or even in undergrad. And you have to pass them all in order to graduate. K, I have to stop talking about it before I break out in hives.

5. Lastly, you will need to pass the PRAXIS exam. It is a statewide exam you have to pass in order to become licensed. But from what I’ve heard in my program, this test is cake compared to the COMPS exam.

…..And then you can be a Speech Pathologist! Simple right? ;) I don’t want to scare anyone off, rather I want it to be known that if you want to be an SLP, you have to really want it. I’ve seen so many people either not have good enough grades to get into graduate school or decide that it was too much schooling for them.

*You can choose to work in either a medical setting or a school based setting. A medical setting would include things like dysphagia (swallowing), brain injuries, stroke patients, etc. I want to work in a medical setting, specifically with the elderly (probably at a skilled nursing facility). I love me some grammy and grampies!

If you have any questions about the journey to become an SLP, I would love to answer them for you!

P.S. Other programs may run things slightly different and/or require different things, but this is how Fresno State does it!