Becoming a SLP

Hi! I’m a student at the University of Akron majoring in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. My question for you is, was there something that you didn’t learn in school that you wish you knew more about before entering into the field?

Thank you for your time,


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Becoming a SLP — 2 Comments

  1. The most important skill you can develop, which isn’t talk in school, is to be flexible. Also, developing counseling skills and awareness of cognitive behavior therapies is crucial, which are often not taught in a grad programs. Seek out training and additional information in the areas you feel most uncomfortable. Be humble. Know that you are a life long learner and let your clients and colleagues continue to educate you throughout your career.

  2. Hi! This is an excellent question. Here is the thing about graduate school. Here in the United States, the American-Speech Hearing Association tells us professors that we must make students “entry level competent” going into the field of speech-language pathology. If you picture your education and clinical like a tree (stay with me here… don’t lose me.) Your textbooks and graduate classes are the roots of the tree…. You cannot be an SLP without these roots. You must have the book knowledge to do this- you must. You study hard, you take the classes and the tests and do all of the work, right? That tree, then must grow into a clinician (ok yea, just stay with me here…) The roots grow a tree trunk with branches and eventually leaves- this is clinical experience. You start to gain clinical experience in your clinical practicum placements- you ask a lot of questions of your supervisors (ask those questions- if you don’t, you scare us…. you shouldn’t know all the answers at this point, so please please, ask us something….) but then you also have these components that you must learn out there in the world on your own- the branches and the leaves… the parts that we as professors and clinical supervisors just can’t teach you no matter what we do.. the real life experiences. I learn more and more with every individual that I treat that stutters. Even through participating in this professional forum with all of you, being a specialist in stuttering, I am learning. Our processes as clinicians is EVER EVOLVING and NEVER STOPS. Those are the things we cannot teach you in the classroom, and you must experience them on your own. Does that make sense?
    If there was a content area that I wish I had more time with in stuttering, it would be psychology- but it won’t change our scope of practice. Our scope of practice in this area, per the American-Speech Hearing Association, is that we may counsel regarding “swallowing disorders” and “communication disorders” anything beyond that is a referral. I don’t see that changing in the near or even distant future given our title and what we do. So, do I feel that our educational background prepares us to be SLP’s, yes. Can professors teach us EVERYTHING- no. Professors can’t teach you self realizations, and years of experience. The learning process as an SLP is so stunningly beautiful- and shouldn’t intimidate you- learn to embrace it for what it is. Be thankful that your brain has the capacity to do it and to learn it… and adjust your clinical practice skills as you learn. I hope that this has helped answer your questions, take care and be well!

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