Best Online Speech Pathology Master’s (SLP) Programs

Get an inside look at today’s top-ranked online speech pathology programs and get answers to critical questions before enrolling.

Earning a master’s in speech pathology online can help you launch a rewarding and in-demand career as a speech therapist or pursue related roles in audiology, rehabilitation therapy, and other fields. The degree also help you develop knowledge in audiology and cognitive communication that can further round out your skillset.

Many grad schools now offer accredited online speech pathology (SLP) programs that meet state licensure requirements while giving you the flexibility you need to balance school, work and personal life. But with so many programs to choose from, how do you find the right one for you? This guide will help you get started on your search. You’ll find a list of this year’s best online speech pathology master’s, plus learn more about what the curriculum is like, program costs and length, and much more.

Top Accredited Online SLP Programs for 2022

The top online speech pathology programs profiled below will help jumpstart your school search and tell you the standard to look for when choosing a program. Criteria considered when vetting these programs included curriculum quality, student support, flexibility, and overall affordability.

In addition, each program holds active accreditation from the American Speech Language Association. Finally, all programs include hands-on clinical experiences to help build real-world skills and prepare you for certification and licensure. Read on to discover which online SLP programs stand out for 2022 and learn about what they offer and what makes each one unique.

University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire

Ideal for working professionals and busy learners, the University of Wisconsin offers a part-time speech-language pathology course of study that makes balancing academics with work, life, and other commitments easier. New students begin the ASHA-accredited and cohort-based program each June and typically graduate within three years when they enroll in two to six credits each term. This online master’s in speech pathology requires 54 credits, including 40 credits of coursework and 14 credits of hands-on clinical work.

Like other online SLP programs, UW’s program involves several in-person residencies. The first weeklong experience occurs at the beginning of the program and doubles as an orientation session where students meet faculty and colleagues. The remaining two sessions take place each summer, and the school delivers all remaining didactic requirements using flexible, convenient, and interactive online tools. The curriculum looks at topics like language assessment, counseling in communication disorders, and clinical evaluations. Applicants to this program must complete a video interview before full admission.

University of Nebraska, Kearney

At the University of Nebraska, Kearney students the master’s in speech pathology online prepares students for work as certified professionals in schools, clinics, and private practice. The 53-credit program builds core skills and knowledge in cognitive communication disorders, pediatric dysphasia, and applied rehabilitation techniques. Students also complete internship and practicum experiences plus optional electives in specialized areas like autism and bilingualism.

In all online courses, students receive training from the same panel of faculty experts that lead the school’s in-person programming. The main SLP program runs on a part-time basis, but students can explore full-time, accelerated options in consultation with program coordinators. For career-changers and those coming from different fields, the school extends a quick online pathway to complete key course prerequisites. UN waives GRE scores for all applicants and does not charge an application fee.

Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University’s online master’s in speech pathology program offers affordable tuition rates and prepares graduates for professional certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Administered by the school’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Department, the program requires 60 credits that include 25 guided observation hours. Students receive training from expert faculty in motor speech disorders, aphasia, rehab audiology, neurology for speech and language, and other subjects.

All students must complete in-person internships the summer following their first year, regardless of location or program mode. The remaining courses run entirely online, and most students finish within six or seven semesters when following a core course sequence recommended by administrators. Students also complete 400 clinical hours, many of which come through externship experiences in their home locations, as they work through the program. Students can transfer up to 12 graduate-level credits and up to 50 hours from undergraduate clinical experiences.

Advantages of Earning a Master’s in Speech Pathology Online

Pursuing study at a quality online SLP master’s program has distinct advantages that will set you apart from the competition. Online study at this level isn’t just convenient; it also deepens your skillset by going beyond your bachelor’s degree to give you the specialized skills you need to succeed in this growing field. Some of the benefits you’ll enjoy include:

  1. License Preparation

    Online SLP programs provide everything you need to obtain licensure. You’ll still need to complete the national certification exam once you graduate, but your program covers all the necessary topics and content. Some programs even offer practice tests and additional study resources.

  2. Flexible Program Delivery

    Online SLP programs accommodate a wide range of schedules and circumstances. Many of them even cater specifically to working professionals and part-time students. With the convenience of online delivery, you’ll be able to complete your classes and interact with the material in a flexible format.

  3. Hands-On Experience

    Online speech pathology master’s programs prepare you for real-world circumstances in the field. Through clinical placements and other opportunities, you gain the hands-on experience employers look for when hiring an SLP.

What You’ll Learn in an Online SLP Program

Online speech pathology master’s programs prepare you for work as a certified professional through a combination of didactic coursework and applied field placements. In most cases, you’ll complete coursework components following a recommended or required sequence established by the program. Once all prerequisites are complete, you move to the practicum stage. This typically involves a supervised clinical placement in your home location.

Coursework requirements cover a range of SLP topics. You’ll complete theoretical classes looking at communication and motor disorders, health science research methods, and audiology assessment. In addition to electives in areas that interest you, you’ll also take applied courses in subjects like multicultural counseling and clinical diagnosis. Below are some of the most popular SLP courses found in most programs.

Common Courses

  • Neurology and Speech-Language Foundations

    This course familiarizes students with the central nervous system and its role in speech, communication, and language development. Students learn how knowledge of these systems informs clinical diagnoses, treatment planning, and disease classification. Special attention is paid to muscles and cranial nerves, brain organization, and motor/sensory pathways.

  • Cognitive and Communication Disorders

    Students in this class learn to identify and assess common speech-language pathology disorders. It focuses on dementia, traumatic brain injury, and other conditions that affect cognition and impact everyday communication. It also covers strategies for treatment and therapeutic rehabilitation, disease prevention, and assessment and evaluation.

  • Research Methods for Speech-Language Pathology

    This class builds knowledge foundations in the primary research methods SLPs use to define disorders, develop treatment plans, and expand the scope of the field more broadly. Students read landmark literature in audiology and speech-language pathology and learn to critically evaluate it. Additional topics include research design, data analysis, and measurement concerns.

  • Speech and Language Development

    Another foundational offering, this course examines speech and language development in normative situations. It focuses on how communication changes and evolves across the lifespan, including childhood and infancy, adulthood, and the later stages of life. Students consider contributing factors like literacy, cognition, socialization, and play.

  • Applied Capstone

    Most online speech pathology programs conclude with an applied capstone component. This class gives students the opportunity to integrate and apply skills and knowledge gained across the program and to prepare for the national certification exam. This could involve a comprehensive assessment, a research-based thesis project, or some combination of the two.

Accreditation for Online Speech Pathology Master’s Degrees

Accreditation ensures that colleges and universities administer quality programming with high standards of excellence. Earning a degree from an accredited institution gives your credentials more power and value. There are two forms of accreditation to look for, institutional and programmatic.

Institutional accreditation applies to entire schools and is granted by independent agencies recognized by the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. A college or university typically receives either regional or national accreditation at the institutional level with regional accreditation being more prominent.

Programmatic accreditation pertains to specific courses of study and provides extra backing or satisfies certification and licensure requirements. In addition to institutional accreditation, quality SLP programs hold accreditation from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

What You Can Do with a Master’s in Speech Pathology

An online master’s in speech pathology creates career options in healthcare, medical science, and other fields. Most graduates find work in hospitals, clinics, schools, or community health centers. Some also work in the private sector.

Each of the five professions detailed below is open to those with online SLP master’s degrees, and each outpaces average job growth and earnings numbers nationwide. Work for certified SLPs is expected to grow by nearly 30% in coming years, more than three times the national rate, and SLPs benefit from higher salaries in comparison to most other fields.

Speech-Language Pathologist

Most graduates of online SLP programs become licensed speech-language pathologists. Also known as speech therapists, these professionals diagnose and treat common communication disorders in children and adults. Some work in private practice, but most fulfill roles in large medical facilities alongside doctors, occupational or physical therapists, social workers, and other healthcare professionals.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$51,310

$79,060

$125,560

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Audiologist

An online master’s in speech-language pathology prepares you for advanced roles like that of the audiologist. In most cases, this profession usually requires a doctorate, but an SLP master’s degree lays a solid foundation for that training. Audiologists specialize in helping patients with hearing or balance problems.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$58,920

$78,950

$120,210

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Translator or Interpreter

A speech-language pathology background can equip you for work as a translator or interpreter. Translators and interpreters work in a wide range of settings from hospitals and doctor’s offices to courtrooms, schools, and conference centers. They convert important information from one language to another, facilitating clear communication between parties that do not share a common language.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$29,360

$49,110

$97,760

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Occupational Therapist

SLP professionals often work alongside occupational therapists to help patients manage everyday activities through therapeutic intervention. This role requires additional training in occupational therapy, but an online master’s in speech-language pathology prepares you to provide specialized care for patients with needs in both fields.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$60,680

$85,570

$123,840

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Rehabilitation Director

Rehabilitation directors manage a group of healthcare specialists within a medical facility’s rehabilitation department, including those focusing on speech-language pathology. They oversee the department’s operations, coordinate financial efforts, hire and supervise staff, and work with other managers. They may also work directly with patients.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$66,000

$89,524

$120,000

Source: PayScale, 2022

Costs and Financial Aid for Online Master’s Degrees in Speech Pathology

Securing financial aid in advance to help fund your education allows you to focus on your studies and hopefully graduate debt free. Most online SLP programs offer financial aid to new and returning students. Nova Southeastern and the University of North Texas, for example, both administer grants and scholarships set aside for SLP students.

Professional organizations like ASHA also offer financial aid along with key resources to help you secure funding for your online SLP master’s. For more information on these and other opportunities, see our financial aid guide for graduate students.

What Your Speech Pathology Master’s Could Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Total Tuition Cost

Emerson College

Online Master of Sciences in Communication Disorders

54

$1,322

$71,388

University of Northern Colorado

Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology Online

75

$618

$46,350

Calvin University

Online Master of Speech-Language Pathology

72

$920

$66,240

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Speech Pathology Programs

What are the admissions requirements for an online SLP program?

Speech pathology is a technical field relying on broad-based scientific knowledge, so many programs want applicants to complete course prerequisites before admission. In general, expect requirements for classes in anatomy and physiology, speech science, audiology, and clinical procedures. If you possess a related undergraduate degree, some of those requirements may be waived.

A prospective SLP master’s student should also plan to submit:

  • Official academic transcripts for all previous work
  • An updated professional resume
  • Two to three letters of recommendation
  • An admissions essay or responses to specific writing prompts
  • Recent GRE scores (waived in some cases)

If you don’t meet the academic prerequisites, many universities offer online SLP-prep programs, including San Diego State University Global Campus and the University of South Florida.

Some schools also require a video or phone interview as a part of the admission process. Applicants also usually need to pay an application fee of $50 to $75.

How long will it take to finish my master’s in speech pathology?

Timeframes for completion vary widely and depend on factors like enrollment status, academic background, and program requirements. Most online SLP programs expect students to enroll on a part-time basis and pace the program with that mind.

For example, the schools profiled above admit students part-time and structure the program for graduation within three years or so. You can always personalize your pacing with an advisor. Some programs, like the one at Western Kentucky University with a six-year maximum time frame, designate time limits.

Can I earn a master’s in speech pathology 100% online, or do I need to visit campus?

Online speech pathology programs deliver all didactic coursework entirely online. Most schools use synchronous and/or asynchronous formats for coursework. This means you can study at your own pace for the most part, interacting with content and completing assignments at your convenience.

Speech-language pathology is a hands-on profession. For that reason, all SLP programs require in-person clinical experiences. Most schools work with students to identify placements and supervisors to fit their interests, location, and career goals. Other in-person requirements often include initial orientation sessions and/or yearly summer residencies.