Speech-language pathologists are professionals who diagnose and treat clients with various speech difficulties. This career field is expected to grow faster than average in Georgia between 2006 and 2016, with slightly more than half the state's practitioners working in the public school system. Students who aspire to become speech-language pathologists should keep in mind that a master's degree in the field is a requirement to become licensed to practice in Georgia.

Georgia State University (GSU)

Located in Atlanta, Georgia State University's urban setting lends itself to a rich variety of opportunities for students in the Master's of Communication Disorders program. The program is designed to be two calendar years in length, although students without an undergraduate degree in communication disorders will likely need another full year to satisfy all the necessary prerequisites for graduate-level study and clinical experience. Students with prior study in the field begin their practicum in the first semester by observing clinicians at GSU's on-campus speech and hearing clinic. For the following three semesters of practicum, students are able to take on clients of their own and gain experience in areas such as administering hearing tests, evaluating children for language delays, and delivering speech therapy. Following the on-campus practicum experience, students complete two full time semester-long internships in both a school and medical setting within the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Georgia State University

PO Box 3979

Atlanta, GA 30302

404-413-8040

education.gsu.edu/epse/1730.html

University of Georgia (UGA)

The University of Georgia offers bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in speech-language pathology. Students in the undergraduate program generally spend the first two years completing general education requirements and necessary prerequisite courses. Applicants must have grades of B or better in introductory English, math and biology classes and submit an essay as part of their application. Each year 35 students are selected to begin the program in the fall semester. After completing the bachelor's degree, most students continue their education in a master's program, as a graduate degree is required to become a certified speech-language pathologist. An undergraduate degree in the field is not mandatory but master's degree students without previous coursework in communication disorders will likely need an extra calendar year to complete all requirements. Students have the option of pursing either an MA or MEd degree. Both programs are the same in terms of classes and fieldwork, but the MA has a thesis requirement, which is highly recommended for students who plan to go on to a doctoral program. Students can be admitted to UGA's speech-language pathology doctoral program with either a bachelor's or master's degree. The doctoral degree takes approximately three years of post-master's degree study to complete and focuses on preparing students to become researchers or professors in the field.

University of Georgia

516 Aderhold

Athens, GA 30602

706-542-4561

coe.uga.edu/csse/csd/index.html

Valdosta State University

Valdosta State University's College of Education is home to bachelor's and master's degree programs in Communication Science and Disorders. The bachelor's degree program begins with students taking general education requirements and supporting courses in areas such as science and education, and the junior and senior years are mainly devoted to communication disorders coursework that is designed to prepare students for graduate study. Students who choose to continue their education at Valdosta State can apply to begin the master's program in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Admission is competitive, and students are selected on the basis of undergraduate GPA and GRE scores. The program is five semesters in length. In the first three semesters, students gain experience by working with clients at the on-campus speech and hearing clinic. During the fourth semester students do a full-time internship at a nearby school. In the last semester students complete an optional thesis and do a final internship at a hospital or communication disorders clinic.

Valdosta State University

1500 N. Patterson St.

Valdosta, GA 31698

229-219-1327

valdosta.edu/coe/comd/