5 Practical Experiences in Speech Language Pathology for Master's Students
- Sign Language Teacher
- Stroke Rehabilitation
- Speech Testing
- Adult Speech Rehabilitation
- Travel Therapy
Working in the field of speech language pathology can be very interesting and very rewarding. Whether working with young children just diagnosed with a speech issue or with adults in need of rehabilitation, speech pathology positions have a lot to offer. Students working towards a Master's in Speech Language Pathology, can find opportunities for practical experience that will make the job search easier. Let's take a look at some of the best internship opportunities out there for speech language pathology students.
1. Sign Language Teacher
Students who have taken classes on sign language and feel very comfortable and fluent with it, can tutor or teach sign language. Opportunities exist to work with children learning sign language as their form of communication. Adults also take sign language classes, whether it be for their own ability to communicate or for someone who wants to communicate with others who rely on sign language.
2. Stroke Rehabilitation
Students can usually find an internship working with stroke rehabilitation patients in a hospital or medical setting. While not solely responsible for taking care of patients at the facility, students will learn a lot by watching and working with other professionals and their patients. Interns will get to see therapies in use in many different scenarios; best case and worst case.
3. Speech Testing
From a very young age, there is a need for professionals to asses speech and language concerns and diagnose a variety of potential problems. Interns working in this capacity will get to sit through many of these assessments and maybe even administer some testing. This is a good way to gain experience dealing with a number of different people and become familiar with how these testing appointments and procedures go. There may even be an opportunity to participate it in the diagnose and treatment planning phases.
4. Adult Speech Rehabilitation
There are many reasons why an adult might need assistance with speech and language issues. Interns in this field will get to see many different medical cases like Parkinson's disease patients, people with Bell's Palsy, accident victims and much more. Interning and working with adults provides exposure to a different patient population which can help determine what demographic of people you want to work with ultimately, once you have graduated.
5. Travel Therapy
Travel therapy provides a student a glimpse of what it is like to work in a more consultative process. Students in this role will travel to visit a number of different facilities, get to know different clients, and deal with different issues daily. You may spend some time in a hospital, in a school, doing private therapy. These roles are more relevant to rural and underserved areas.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association provides information on mentoring programs that pair working professionals with speech language pathology students. These resources can provide stepping stones to great practical experiences that will complete the learnings of a Master's in Speech Language Pathology program. There are many options out there, so it's important for students to try as many as they can to ensure they are entering their most desirable career path.