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.


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!!

Related Information:

21 thoughts on “The SLP Post-baccalaureate Plunge”

  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!

    1. Hi CSchultzRose!
      I wanted to inquire about your experience taking these courses online? I’m looking to go ahead with this route of fulfilling my pre-reqs and wanted to know how many courses you took per semester and if you were working full-time, how did this balance out for you in terms of workload. Thanks

    2. I’m starting the USU 2nd bachelor’s program (online) in 4 days, and just had a few questions about the experience for you…Could I possible email you a few questions? This blog has been incredibly helpful, I’m so grateful I found it!

  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.

    1. 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.

    2. Hi Rosemarie,

      Where did you take your pre-req courses? Was it fully online and how long did it take? What was your experience with thr workload? Thanks

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

  5. 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 😊

    1. 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 🙂

  6. 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!

  7. I’m looking into Post-Bacc SLP programs. Does anyone have advice about the online programs? I am wondering if there’s any required hands-on training that is not covered online, or if the online classes are looked down upon compared pre-requisites that you complete in person. I will have to move to another city in order to do a program that is not online. I appreciate your advice.

  8. I actually took the plunge 15 years ago and did not get into the graduate program. Only 15 of 500 applicants were accepted. I did nothing to pursue grad school further since I had a good job and started a family. Now my children are at an age that I am ready to pursue SLP grad school again. I have an undergrad in business and have completed the max credits in Speech and Language as a non degree seeking student. The University in my area is top 5 in the nation and odds are against me of ever getting in. I am thinking of either completing a degree in the field (they do have an SLPA program), or considering an online grad school program. I’m not sure where to start since I have been out of school for so long. Any advice would be appreciated.

    1. I was a Post-Bacc SLP student. My undergrad degree is in business. I think one of the reasons I was selected (my program accepts ~35 students) was that I had an array of skills from my previous educational and work experiences that many of the other applicants lacked. Programs look to create a class that the skill sets of the students are complementary and not completely homogenous.
      Best of luck.

  9. Thank you for the information! It was very useful to me as I am considering going back to school. I am very interested in this area but everything I have been reading seems like it will be a hard road and very hard to be accepted. I have my bachelors degree in elementary education and have taught for the past 9 years. I still love the school setting and want to get my masters but wanted to venture into more of a medical field with other options.

    1. hey there, maybe you guys can help. I am at a precipice right now in deciding what to do about my career goals. I was recently accepted into a teaching fellowship for bilingual education in the public school system where the fellowship pays for most of the graduate degree in education. However, I also applied for graduate schools after completing the pre requisite coursework in speech pathology and am now waiting for admissions decisions. If I take the teaching fellowship that I was accepted into, how long are my prerequisites in speech path. good for if I do not like teaching and want to pursue speech pathology later on?

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