Speech therapists or speech-language pathologists diagnose and evaluate people with speech challenges and disorders, assisting them to enhance their communication skills. These leading schools are ranked by "U.S. News & World Report's" 2012 list of Best Graduate Schools. The universities mentioned provide challenging master's and doctoral programs for speech therapy and speech-language pathology, with some of the best professors, laboratories, and clinical experience available.

The University of Iowa

This school is ranked first by "U.S. News & World Report's" Best Graduate Schools. The Department of Speech-Language Pathology provides an efficient speech therapist program for a master's, clinical Doctorate in Audiology, a Doctorate of Philosophy in Speech and Hearing Science, and a combined Ph.D./Au.D. degree. This university has well known worldwide research programs including hydraulics, genetics, and speech and hearing. So, there is no surprise it’s been recognized for being one of the leading speech therapist universities.

Purdue University

Another leading and popular speech therapy program is at Purdue University. This university is known as one of the biggest schools in the country. On the campus of West Lafayette alone, this university offers more than seventy graduate programs, including a speech therapy program, with over 600 study and research areas organized in ten schools and colleges in the graduate school. Purdue offers a master's, Au.D. and Ph.D. program in speech language pathology.

University of Kansas

Known for its embodied determination and aspiration, University of Kansas is another top university for speech therapy. KU consistently achieves high ranking on its programs academically, and is currently ranked in the top ten by "U.S. News & World Report." Its students and faculty are strengthened and supported by assets from endowments of around $1.44 billion. The school is devoted to expansion of commercialization programs and innovative research with its master's and doctoral programs.

University of Illinois

The University of Illinois is proud to be a world leader when it comes to teaching, public engagement and research. The university has been distinguished by the extent of their programs, worldwide renowned faculty and their extensive academic excellence in speech-language pathology. This school offers a master's program that focuses on professional training for diagnosis and treatment of communication and swallowing disabilities. Students may choose to complete a thesis, and graduates are often hired by clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or schools.