Can Students Get A Speech Therapy Degree Online?

For many students, the convenience offered by online learning and distance education can be very valuable, enabling them to complete or advance degrees on their own schedule, and even while working.

Those entering a medical or therapeutic profession will probably have difficulty finding an acceptable degree course offered in an online format however, since most medical professions need to be taught in a more hands-on, learn by doing manner.

It is not possible to earn a degree online for this very reason, although students who could benefit from taking online courses do have a few options that might help them.

Getting the Right Education in Speech Therapy

In many medical or therapeutic professions, certification is either required, or strongly recommended, both as a way to prove expertise and to allow for career advancement.

In order to become certified as a speech-language pathologist, students are required in most cases to earn a Master’s degree from one of the many accredited college programs available; in some countries such as the UK, approved Bachelor’s degree programs are also available.

Only through completion of an approved program are graduates eligible to take their certification exam, or in the UK, become registered with the national health professional organization.

Online Offerings for Students

Students looking to enroll in an appropriate speech-language pathology program that will enable them to become certified should be prepared to take almost all of the specialized coursework on campus, as there are no graduate programs that offer a speech therapy degree online.

Because of the fact that a degree – just like most other medical or healthcare degrees – requires that students complete a considerable amount of hands-on learning through clinical experiences and other work-study situations, doing so is not possible.

It is not generally possible to recreate this type of hands-on experience sufficiently in any kind of online or distance learning format.

What may be an option for students, however, is taking a portion of undergraduate class work online if the right classes are available.

Since many undergraduate classes required for entry into a good speech therapy program are theory-based prerequisites and general education classes, this can sometimes be a convenience for students looking for other learning options.

Before doing so, students should first inquire from either the program they are interested to enroll in, or from their country’s professional organization as to which general courses they should take, to make sure they actually take classes that will count toward the right undergraduate education.

In most cases, general and prerequisite courses for a degree in speech therapy will be science, math and English classes, social sciences, psychology classes and other courses aimed at either teaching or communications.

The great thing is that many of those classes can be taken online. While this may not be exactly the same as earning a whole degree online, it should at least help somewhat, enabling students the most flexibility during their undergraduate career.

Other Online Learning Opportunities

Students who already have their required degree and certification are generally required to accrue a specified number of Continuing Education credits per year in order to stay certified.

Since these are short courses and professional career building aids that are created with working practitioners in mind, most of them are offered in an online learning format for convenience.

Along with Continuing Education, most higher education for professionals who are interested in advancing their degree are also available online for the same reasons.

Those actively working in their career, and who may be interested obtaining a Doctoral degree, which may enable them to specialize, or gain employment in supervisory or teaching roles, can usually earn their advanced speech therapy degree online since it is assumed these people are working, and cannot simply stop to attend classes again.

Students entering any kind of medical or healthcare profession should understand before enrolling that there are very limited opportunities for distance learning, and prepare to be in class throughout their four-year graduate program.

They will get the best education, and have the most success in their new career this way. However, for those who were hoping to be able to earn a degree online, through careful research and enrolling in the right classes, they can at least usually take a good portion of their undergraduate degree this way, which may be a help.

For information about accredited schools, and the availability of online classes for undergraduate, graduate, CE or advanced education, students should get in contact with their country’s professional organization of speech-language pathologists for guidance.