Communication is our most human characteristic. What would you do if you no longer had a way to communicate with your family and friends, your neighbors or colleagues? The nearly forty-six million Americans - one in every six - with speech, language, or hearing impairments rely on audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists to help them improve their quality of life by improving their ability to communicate.
The field of Communication Sciences and Disorders includes three career choices - audiology, the study and treatment of hearing and balance disorders; speech-language pathology, the study and treatment of human communication and its disorders, and speech, language, and hearing science involving research into the normal functions of human communication, the processes underlying impaired function, and the development of new techniques for assessment and treatment.
CSD professionals work in varied settings such as schools, hospitals, private practice, research labs, industry and government. And their clients include infants, children, adolescents, adults and seniors, in other words, people in all stages of life. If you're curious, if you enjoy intellectual challenges, and want to make a positive difference in people's lives, then these professions may be for you!
Preparing for a Rewarding Career in CSD
- While in high school, your academic curriculum should include courses that cover a broad spectrum-for example, health, social, physical, and biological sciences; English/language arts; mathematics; the humanities; and technology.
- Select an undergraduate program that allows a broad education in liberal arts and sciences. Also include a strong foundation in oral and written communication skills, in addition to basic courses in speech, language and hearing sciences.
- While an undergraduate, select a graduate program accredited by the ASHA Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA). Respected institutions know the value of accreditation, which assures them - and you - that the academic program and clinical practicum meet nationally established standards. There are 249 college/university accredited programs around the country to choose from. Visit ASHA's online guide at www.asha.org to search for accredited programs by state.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national and international professional, scientific, and credentialing organization for audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, hearing scientists. Its mission, since its inception in 1925, is to promote their interests and provide them with the highest quality services, and to advocate for people with communication disorders.
ASHA, through the Council For Clinical Certification (CFCC), awards audiologists and SLPs the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) after they have earned a graduate degree, successfully completed the required clinical experiences, and passed a national exam called the Praxis. Currently, both audiologists and SLPs complete a supervised Clinical Fellowship after obtaining the master's degree.
Certificates of Clinical Competence (CCCs)
The ASHA CCCs are universally recognized credentials in the professions of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. In fact, many hospitals, health care settings (including the US military), education programs, and private practices require the ASHA CCCs for new hires and promotions. The ASHA CCCs are a consistent, universal symbol of quality and professionalism to employers, third-party payers, fellow practitioners, and consumers.
For more information about the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and careers in Communication Science and Disorders, please visit us online at www.asha.org.