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Out Of Field Leveling Student or get SLPA license before SLP


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Hi, I am having difficulty making a decision about graduate school. 

I graduated with a bachelor's in education but I would love to pursue a career as a Speech Language Pathologist. Because my degree is in something other than SLP, I am an out-of-field leveling student. Should I go back and get an associate's degree in SLPA and THEN pursue SLP at a graduate program? Or would I have to retake classes to get a bachelor's after the associate and then apply for the master's program? Or could I get my associate in SLPA and then go straight to a grad program since I already have a bachelor's? 

or would it make more sense to go ahead and take leveling courses and then apply to grad school for SLP and not go back and get an associate's degree in SLPA?

I'm so sorry if this is confusing. 

I was accepted to take leveling courses at UNT in Denton but I would not be able to get financial aid and that's another big reason why I feel like I should get an associate and then go to grad school. Although would I be able to receive financial aid in getting an associate's after I have already received a bachelor's? 

Thank you in advance.

I am also in Texas. I essentially would like to end up with an SLP license. How long would it take if I went back and got my associates.

Edited by SophSLP
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Where do you live? What are your state's licensing requirements for SLPAs and are there jobs available?

It is confusing because there isn't a one size fits all type of answer for you. What I've learned about this whole process is no matter what, you will hit some hurdles. You can:

1. Complete a SLPA program (2 years), work while completing your 2nd bachelors or leveling programs...or you might be able to get into a masters program that include leveling courses.

2. Compete a 2nd bachelors in CD (or post-bacc or just take leveling courses), then apply for a masters program. You might be able to get a SLPA license after you finish your bachelors. Depending on the state you live in, you might have to find someone to do clinical hours with or take a couple courses in a SLPA program to get your hours. 

3. Apply to a masters program that includes leveling courses. 

 

Whichever pathway you choose you will find that not all the grad schools out there will fit that choice. If you have a school you definitely want to go to, I recommend finding out which pathway makes the most sense for that program. If you are open to any grad school then it's up to you to decide which factors are important to you in making that decision....cost, time, etc. 

I also earned a bachelors in another field. I chose to complete a SLPA program first, then started a 2nd bachelors in CD soon after. Now, I'm applying to grad school. This took more time but it was important for me to make sure this was the field I wanted to dedicate myself to and I wanted to gain experience before jumping into grad school. I am not someone that wants to go into a clinical setting completely green...I hate feeling unprepared so spending extra time learning and working as a SLPA was a huge factor when making my decisions. 

Edited by BeachySpeechy
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One more thing to consider is each school has their own list of prerequisites and rules regarding how much of them you need to complete before applying. This is probably the hardest part of the application process. You should look up all the schools you want to apply to and make a list of each of the requirements so you can make an informed decision on your next move. Unfortunately, this is easier said then done. Wine helps lol. 

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23 minutes ago, BeachySpeechy said:

Where do you live? What are your state's licensing requirements for SLPAs and are there jobs available?

It is confusing because there isn't a one size fits all type of answer for you. What I've learned about this whole process is no matter what, you will hit some hurdles. You can:

1. Complete a SLPA program (2 years), work while completing your 2nd bachelors or leveling programs...or you might be able to get into a masters program that include leveling courses.

2. Compete a 2nd bachelors in CD (or post-bacc or just take leveling courses), then apply for a masters program. You might be able to get a SLPA license after you finish your bachelors. Depending on the state you live in, you might have to find someone to do clinical hours with or take a couple courses in a SLPA program to get your hours. 

3. Apply to a masters program that includes leveling courses. 

 

Whichever pathway you choose you will find that not all the grad schools out there will fit that choice. If you have a school you definitely want to go to, I recommend finding out which pathway makes the most sense for that program. If you are open to any grad school then it's up to you to decide which factors are important to you in making that decision....cost, time, etc. 

I also earned a bachelors in another field. I chose to complete a SLPA program first, then started a 2nd bachelors in CD soon after. Now, I'm applying to grad school. This took more time but it was important for me to make sure this was the field I wanted to dedicate myself to and I wanted to gain experience before jumping into grad school. I am not someone that wants to go into a clinical setting completely green...I hate feeling unprepared so spending extra time learning and working as a SLPA was a huge factor when making my decisions. 

 

I live in Texas. I was accepted to a leveling program but financial aid will not cover since I had to apply as a non-degree seeking student. Will financial aid cover if I go back and start over with an associate's? Also, if I go back and get an associate's, I would have to go back and major in CSD for a bachelor's (essentially starting over?)?  How long did it take for you to go back and get your associates and bachelor's? and how much longer do you have left of graduate school? 

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I live in Texas. I was accepted to a leveling program but financial aid will not cover since I had to apply as a non-degree seeking student. Will financial aid cover if I go back and start over with an associate's? Also, if I go back and get an associate's, I would have to go back and major in CSD for a bachelor's (essentially starting over?)?  How long did it take for you to go back and get your associates and bachelor's? and how much longer do you have left of graduate school? 

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In TX, my understanding is that a bachelor's in CSD plus 25 supervised hours is enough for a SLPA license.

If you go for the 2nd bachelor's, you would only have the major classes and not all the general ed requirements or electives. At Utah State online, there are 12 courses for the 2nd bachelor's for a total of 35 credits. If you go FT, it can be done in 3 semesters (and all core courses are offered every semester including summer). Other schools are going to have different requirements for the 2nd bachelor's but in none of them would you be "starting over" since you would only need the courses for the CSD major. (ETA: You can use financial aid for the 2nd bachelor's)

An associate's in SLPA is designed for people with no more than a high school degree and generally takes 2 years. If you did that, you would still need to take certain pre-reqs not included in the SLPA degree either prior to applying to master's or as part of the master's. This would be the longest route and frankly, I don't see the point in a state where getting a SLPA license is super-easy (unlike CA, which is way more difficult).

Edited by Crimson Wife
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3 hours ago, SophSLP said:

 

I live in Texas. I was accepted to a leveling program but financial aid will not cover since I had to apply as a non-degree seeking student. Will financial aid cover if I go back and start over with an associate's? Also, if I go back and get an associate's, I would have to go back and major in CSD for a bachelor's (essentially starting over?)?  How long did it take for you to go back and get your associates and bachelor's? and how much longer do you have left of graduate school? 

It sounds like you might want to skip the associates program and just get your 2nd bachelors in CD. I second @Crimson Wife suggestion, USU has a great 2nd bachelors program. I did that program full-time and finished in 1 year. After you earn your bachelors, you would need to find an SLP to do your 25 hours of clinical experience for your SLPA license. You can qualify for school loans (no grants) for your 2nd bachelors as long as you take 6+ units. 

You should also check around to see how the SLPA job market is in your surrounding area. I know Texas has had it rough with cuts to Medicaid. 

Im applying to grad schools right now. So hopefully I'll start soon! The programs I applied to range from 2-3 years but I'm trying to get into programs that allow me to work as a SLPA while going to grad school. I need the $$$. 

Edited by BeachySpeechy
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This is a complicated question! It really depends on you! I also earned a bachelor's degree in another field, and then earned an SLPA certificate. I lived in AZ at the time, where they do not require a CSD bachelor's to obtain your state license, so I was able to start working after taking courses for a year. I did complete the remaining courses to have my bachelor's, which is good because I did end up moving to TX where you do need your bachelor's in CSD. 

I'm glad I started as an SLPA first, because I know what it's like to work in the field and I know I want to continue. Grad school is a big investment, and I have met some SLPs who went straight through undergrad and master's who never worked in the field, and aren't as in love with it as they thought. Another reason I'm happy I did it the way I did is with the way I learn, it will be really beneficial for me to have experience and cases to apply new information to.

With that being said, when I went through all this the leveling programs were fairly new and I had I known what I know now, I may have chosen that route. If you are certain being an SLP is a good fit for you, then you will probably save money and start earning a higher income faster if you do the leveling courses and then grad school. Either way you go be sure that you really understand how competitive it is to get into grad programs, and keep that in mind while going through the program (ie. volunteer, participate in research if you can, shadow SLPs, do your best to get straight A's, etc). Best of luck!

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