The SLP Post-baccalaureate Plunge


Why Post-Bacc? 

Universities across the U.S. offer a set of courses which prepare students to begin a graduate program in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP). There are a few different reasons a person might choose to complete these prerequisite courses (aka post-baccalaureate courses) in SLP or Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD):

  1. You have your Bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field (psychology, exercise science, biology, underwater basket weaving).
  2. If you have a degree in a non  SLP/CSD field, you were rejected from or SLP graduate schools so are deciding to take the classes while you reapply.
  3. You are considering making a career change and want the inside scoop before applying to SLP graduate schools.

What is a “Post-Bacc” program for Speech-Language Pathology and Why Take Them? 

Universities like La Salle in Philadelphia offer a set of 10 or so prerequisite courses which will take about a year to complete. The curriculum for these post-bacc programs generally includes introduction courses to anatomy and physiology, communication disorders, phonetics, audiology, assessment, and clinical considerations. ASHA requires students to have a degree with at least 75 credit hours addressing Speech-Language Pathology Knowledge and Skills. The post-bacc courses cover the basic content necessary to begin the graduate coursework.

I’ve created a list of post-baccalaureate programs for SLP across the U.S.. It may not be comprehensive, but it’s a start for those of you interested in both online and on-campus courses.

Impact of 2014 SLP Certification Standards 

If you haven’t or won’t graduate from a Speech-Language Pathology graduate program by 2014, the new ASHA SLP certification standards will now apply to you. The biggest impact to the Post-Bacc option is the new 2014 SLP Certification standards require a statistics course and science courses in biological sciences, physical sciences, and/or social/behavioral sciences. So, if your previous degree didn’t include these types of classes, add that to the post-bacc course list which may or may not be discussed when you start taking the advised program track.

!Advisory!

While I did not enroll in a Post-Bacc program, I have heard from enough people and read enough descriptions to give an advisory or sorts; well, more of a “keep-in-mind” statement. No matter what program you select from around the country or how long it takes, completing the courses will NOT guarantee you admittance into that universities graduate program, or any program for that matter. You will get to know the professors who may also serve in the graduate program, however, don’t be surprised or taken off-guard if you apply to the same university and aren’t accepted.

You take the Post-Bacc Courses - Then what??

These courses will give those without an SLP or CSD background insight into what SLP graduate school will be like. Kind-of. Add a ton of stress, clients, avalanche of knowledge, and a sprinkle of fun and that’s grad school. As long as the degree program is accredited, you can now apply to any SLP graduate program of your choice. In my opinion, having a bachelor’s degree in something else, such as early childhood education, biology, exercise science, etc AND the post-bacc courses doesn’t make you less than those with just a bachelor’s in SLP or CSD. Knowing you have a varied background and an interest in speech might make you stand out. But, I’m sure there are those who might see it as indecisive or changing your mind … they shouldn’t be in charge of admissions decisions (hehe) :)

The Plunge 

Well, if you decide to enroll in one of these post-bacc classes prepare for a plunge of emotions. There is no guarantee you will be admitted into a program. You are going to invest a year or more into a career path that may or may not work out. There is a certain amount of blindness, anxiety, and anticipation when taking the classes. No matter how stellar the university, the professors, or reputation, the commitment isn’t guaranteed to pay off. Thus, the plunge. BUT, it just might pay off! You could be accepted as soon as you complete the courses. You could feel the effervescent high of acceptances and grad school giddiness. Again, a plunge. Into hope. Into faith. Into a career. A career worth the plunge, in my opinion.

Best of luck to those about to take the plunge!!

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About SLP_Echo

I am a Speech-Language Pathologist completing my Clinical Fellowship in Alaska.

Posted on May 3, 2013, in #slp2b and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Great post! USU was a really great program and I felt that it prepared me pretty well for grad school. I had all the additional courses that are now required for 2014 ASHA certification due to changing my major a dozen times, but USU also has many choices that are offered online that can fulfill those requirements. There are no guarantees, but I do think that a post-bacc gives you more of an edge than not… I know many of my USU peeps have been accepted to grad programs across the country, both online and traditional campus programs. And I agree, it gives you more of an insight of if this is really the plunge you want to take!

  2. Thank you for your article! I just want to add what my experiences were going for the post-bacc. I definitely think that it is a plunge. You can volunteer and work with slps, but learning the material gave me a good idea of what I wanted and what to expect.

    There were a few things I disliked about taking post-baccs. I didn’t like the amount of debt I was putting myself into before grad school. That’s a big risk to take if you’re not sure if this is the path for you. If you can’t find a decently priced post-bacc program, I think it could affect where you want to go for grad school. The cost of an education these days is an issue. I wish I could have taken all my prerequisites and grad school courses in one place. It’s a big investment. I wish I was a little wiser about my choices. (I wish I had this article to read back then!) Luckily, this field promises a lot of opportunities and growth, so it’s a plunge that will be rewarding in many ways.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Rosemarie. You are right about the investment, especially since most courses don’t even provide a certification so you could work as an SLP assistant or something. The courses are just designed to get you closer to grad school, which is a huge monetary investment and plunge.

  3. Just a plug for my program. We’ll take outside of background students without a post-bacc at the University of Memphis. You just have to take an extra semester of classes and graduate in August instead of May.

  4. If there isn’t a post-bac program in my area (SF Bay), can I find them online?

  5. oh god, durr. I see the online post-bacs are the majority of the list. READING COMPREHENSION I HAZ SOME.

  6. This article was extremely helpful and refreshing to read! I had all sorts of questions about taking the plunge into a potential slp career; I wasn’t sure how to pursue it at all or what to expect. But this article answered all of my concerns! Thank you 😊

    • So glad it found you. Feel free to email if you have any more questions concerns. Always happy to lend an ear and make a new friend. Contact form on About Me page :)

  7. Thank you for writing this article! I too have been considering taking the plunge into an SLP career but because my background is in foreign language, I will either need to do a post-bac program (most likely USU) or just take a cannonball plunge and apply to an extended masters program. I am a little nervous about the career change and the 3+ years in school but I have been reading so much great advice from SLPs and I think this will be a great field to enter!

  1. Pingback: The Clinical Fellowship Experience | SLP_Echo

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