SLP student works with children using books

What Is Speech-Language Pathology?

Speech-language pathology is a specialized area of health care that deals with human communication science and disorders. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) specialize in the prevention, identification, evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of swallowing, speech, and communication disorders. These disorders can be due to a variety of conditions including
autism, brain injury, stroke, or cleft palate.

Speech-language pathologists (sometimes also called speech therapists) work with patients of all ages to improve their quality of life. They evaluate and treat children and adults who are unable to produce speech correctly or fluently, or have problems with their voice. Speech-language pathologists also help individuals who have difficulty with receptive language (understanding others) or expressive language (sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings). Finally, SLPs work with children and adults who have difficulty swallowing food or liquid.

About the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center graduate speech and language pathology program is an academically rigorous and comprehensive program recognized for its excellence in preparing speech pathologists who excel in their profession.

In addition to the academic coursework, over the course of the two-year program, you will gain experience in the university clinic and at least two other settings. Many clinical opportunities are available in the Lubbock community, but students can also participate in externships in other Texas cities and across the country. If you have already earned an undergraduate degree in a field other than communication disorders, we have several options for completing your leveling work.

In our unique SPLASH program (Summer Program for Language/Literacy, Social Skills and Hearing) , as an incoming graduate student, you also have the opportunity to start your first in-house clinical rotation in the summer before beginning your first-year graduate classes.

You can learn more about the Speech-Language Pathology program by visiting our FAQ page.

The master's (M.S.) education program in speech-language pathology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Learn how to apply to the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology.

"My experience in the speech-language pathology program at TTUHSC was so much more than I could have imagined and one that I will always be profoundly grateful for! During my time at TTUHSC, I experienced once in a lifetime clinical opportunities, learned from knowledgeable and passionate instructors, and met some of the best people that I am fortunate enough to call my classmates and friends. This program is so much more than academics; it’s a family that supports you and pushes you to become the best you can be."

Loren Tacker

Speech-Language Pathology Class of 2019 Speech-Language Pathology

Certification As a Speech-Language Pathologist

Although specific licensure requirements vary by state, graduation from an accredited program is required for certification as a speech-language pathologist. Certification is granted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and includes having a passing score on the national Praxis Examination in Speech-Language Pathology.

  • For the past thirteen academic years, TTUHSC students in the Speech-Language Pathology program had a 100% pass rate on the Praxis Exam in Speech-Language Pathology.
  • For the past three years, graduates of the program have a 100% employment rate in the field.
  • More information on certification and state licensure requirements may be found on the ASHA website.

A speech-language pathology student works with a child in one of the TTUHSC speech clinic rooms.

Careers in Speech-Language Pathology

Some speech-language pathologists may specialize in working with specific populations such as children or the elderly, or they may choose to focus on treating specific disorders. SLPs work in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, private clinics, nursing and residential care facilities, early intervention programs, universities, and government agencies. They often work in collaboration as part of a broader health care team that may include physicians and surgeons, occupational and physical therapists, and psychologists. In educational settings, speech-language pathologists work with school personnel and parents to determine appropriate counseling and treatment plans.

Among the qualities needed to become an SLP are emotional stability, intellectual curiosity, interest in people and the ability to approach problems with a scientific attitude. Sensitivity and personal warmth are also key characteristics of a successful speech-language pathologist.

  • Like many health care professions, the field of speech-language pathology is growing and demand is high for these trained specialists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth of 18% through 2026 for SLPs, much faster than other occupations.
  • Education is the largest employer of speech-language pathologists and a master’s degree is typically required for entry to the profession wherever you choose to practice.
  • For more information about a career as a speech-language pathologist American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website.

The Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology Curriculum

The curriculum is a comprehensive combination of academic and clinical experience designed to prepare you to practice as a professional speech-language pathologist. As a graduate student in the speech-language pathology program, on average, you can expect to accumulate 25 – 50 ASHA clock hours per semester when assigned to the TTUHSC Speech and Hearing Clinic and 85 clock hours per semester at an externship such as a public school, hospital, early childhood intervention program, rehabilitation facility or home health agency. The course schedule is designed to move each entering class of graduate students through the course sequence at the same time.

The opportunity to pursue a particular area of interest comes with your choice of placement for clinical practicum experiences.

Classes include:

  • Adult Language Assessment & Intervention.
  • Pediatric Language Assessment & Intervention.
  • Research Principles and Application.
  • Dysphagia.
  • Motor Speech Disorders.

Successful completion of the program culminates in the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology degree.

Explore our curriculum.

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Sherry Sancibrian, Program Director
Sherry Sancibrian, BCS-CL
Program Director
sherry.sancibrian@ttuhsc.edu