2020 Best Speech Pathology Online Master's Programs

By Jennifer King Logan | Updated September 24, 2020
2020 Best Online Master's in Speech Pathology Badge

This list highlights the 9 best value colleges offering online master's programs in speech pathology. At #1, Baylor University charges $41,055 per year for their Master of Science in Communication - Sciences and Disorders program. Western Kentucky University, ranked #2 on the list, costs $10,605 annually for an online Master of Science in Communication Disorders, with alumni reportedly earning median salaries of $98,000.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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Rank School Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 $41,055 $124,707
# 2 #2 $10,605 $98,000
# 3 #3 $15,362 $93,342
# 4 #4 $18,538 $89,758
# 5 #5 $17,472 $88,913
# 6 #6 $14,538 $86,948
# 7 #7 $12,600 $83,700
# 8 #8 $32,913 $79,814
# 9 #9 $22,496 $74,400
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Speech Pathology Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 Baylor University

  • Annual Tuition: $41,055
  • Median Salary: $124,707
  • Locations: Waco (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Students pursuing an online graduate degree in speech pathology may consider Baylor University's Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD). Housed in the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, this program is appropriate for those interested in becoming speech pathologists. Students learn best practices in assisting patients with disorders associated with hearing, swallowing, and speaking. The online program is a 45-credit degree, with a full-time, five-semester requirement. Students seeking a part-time option may complete their master's degree in six to 10 semesters. There is a mandatory clinical internship and practicum component. The program is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.

#2 Western Kentucky University

  • Annual Tuition: $10,605
  • Median Salary: $98,000
  • Locations: Bowling Green (KY)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky, hosts a distance-learning Master of Science in Communication Disorders through its Communication Disorders Department. Students will learn how to diagnose and treat disorders in patients with speech, language, and other communication issues. The coursework is entirely online, with two exceptions: the clinic internship and clinic externship. The internship is a six-week summer commitment at the Bowling Green campus. Externships are available around the country, though some limitations do apply. This online master's degree requires eight to nine semesters to complete. The program, accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, meets the requirements set by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) for certification and state licensure.

#3 Texas Woman's University

  • Annual Tuition: $15,362
  • Median Salary: $93,342
  • Locations: Denton (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Texas Woman's University (TWU) is a co-educational institution in Denton, Texas. Master's degree candidates interested in communication disorders may pursue a two-year Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology through distance-based education. Students will learn how to prevent, diagnose, and treat common speech and hearing issues in children and adults. The degree requires 61 semester hours, with some room for electives. Classes are held online and at education centers throughout Texas. Students must complete 18 practicum hours as part of their coursework. Students in the program can work as SLP assistants while pursuing their degree. TWU's Department of Communication Sciences and Oral Health also offers a fully online Master of Science in Education of the Deaf. The two-year program prepares graduates for the TExES Deaf and Hard of Hearing state exam.

#4 University of South Florida Online

  • Annual Tuition: $18,538
  • Median Salary: $89,758
  • Locations: Tampa (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The College of Behavioral and Community Sciences at the University of South Florida (USF) offers a nine-semester online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. Graduates will be prepared to work as speech-language pathologists in healthcare and education settings. The program's Suncoast track is geared toward working speech-language professionals in the Suncoast Consortium system. The coursework is completed online, with some on-site classes required. Students in the online Suncoast program must remain employed with one of the collaborating school districts while completing their graduate degree. USF also offers the degree through a Post-Baccalaureate track for those with a bachelor's degree in another field. Students in this track will need to complete prerequisite courses, which are offered both on campus and online. 

#5 California State University-Northridge

  • Annual Tuition: $17,472
  • Median Salary: $88,913
  • Locations: Northridge (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The Master of Science in Communicative Disorders at California State University, Northridge is a 41-month online program. A clinical practicum and externship is also part of the program. This online master’s in speech pathology prepares students for licensure to practice as speech pathologists in medical and rehab facilities, private practices, and schools. It fulfills the requirements for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) certification. This program is in a cohort format for optimum interaction with faculty and fellow students. New students have an online distance-learning orientation in January and begin their coursework in the spring. Prior to admission, students must have a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders and sciences or speech-language pathology. Students with a bachelor’s degree in a different field must complete two years of prerequisite courses. To apply, students must submit either GRE or Miller Analogies Test scores and have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5. Students have access to the myNorthridge Portal, where they can access campus resources online. The portal offers degree road maps to help students plan their education. The online speech pathology programs at CSUN are taught by faculty members who possess real-world experience in the speech pathology field.

#6 University of Akron

  • Annual Tuition: $14,538
  • Median Salary: $86,948
  • Locations: Akron (OH)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology Distance Learning Program at the University of Akron is a 74-credit-hour online degree program. The program spans eight semesters; students are required to complete five clinical practicums within six of those semesters. Students learn how to diagnose and treat communication disorders in children and adults. Field work gives students faculty-supervised, hands-on experience in a clinical setting. Coursework, including classes in neuroscience and communicative disorders, is completed in an online format. Admission to the master’s in speech-language pathology online program requires an in-field GPA of 3.0 or higher and a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology (or students can have completed post-baccalaureate coursework in speech-language pathology and audiology from an accredited university). Students have access to online tech support and the Academic Advisement Center, which offers academic- and career-related guidance. There is also online tutoring and a comprehensive online library available. Students in the on-campus or online speech pathology programs are trained by licensed speech pathology professionals with certificates of clinical competence from the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

#7 University of Northern Colorado

  • Annual Tuition: $12,600
  • Median Salary: $83,700
  • Locations: Greeley (CO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Northern Colorado offers an online Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology. This program takes three years to complete and requires 63-75 credits for completion. The program begins in the fall term and requires two weeks at the Greeley campus in addition to the online coursework. During this two-week period on campus, students receive academic advising and complete laboratory experiences in audiology and speech-language pathology. Online coursework includes studies on speech and hearing science, along with classes on fluency and motor speech disorders. To be admitted, students must hold a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology or a related field. To participate in the online program, students also must be employed as an SLPA or have a Temporary Teacher Endorsement. Students who successfully complete the master’s in speech pathology online program can go on to earn their Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology. The college has an online library for students to access, and there is a technical support center with a comprehensive knowledge base. This program offers students the flexibility to balance full-time work with academic study.

#8 Nova Southeastern University

  • Annual Tuition: $32,913
  • Median Salary: $79,814
  • Locations: Fort Lauderdale (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The MS in speech-language pathology at Nova Southeastern University requires 53 credits for completion; 42 of those credits are core courses. Students who live within 50 miles of a school campus must complete the program on campus. The online format is available through GoToMeeting for students who live further than 50 miles away. The program curriculum includes an array of courses on speech disorders and language disorders. Students take related electives chosen from a range of options, and they participate in clinical practicums and externships. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree in the speech pathology field and a cumulative minimum GPA of 3.0. Students must complete all prerequisite courses and two written essays. Three letters of recommendation and 25 guided clinical observation hours are also required. Successful program completion qualifies students to earn their Certificate of Clinical Competence. A variety of resources are available to students, including a help desk to assist with any technical issues, online tutoring, and advisory services. This master’s in speech pathology online program is held on evenings and weekends, so students can continue working. Program faculty consists of academic professionals from NSU and other universities; some are also licensed working professionals in the speech pathology field.

#9 James Madison University

  • Annual Tuition: $22,496
  • Median Salary: $74,400
  • Locations: Harrisonburg (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology online at James Madison University is a three-year program comprising two to three courses each semester. Courses start in the fall semester. The online MS in speech-language pathology at JMU is a cohort program consisting of online coursework and on-site clinical work at local facilities. Course meetings are held through WebEx on Canvas; courses are both synchronous and asynchronous. Students participate in small group sessions, discussions, and question-and-answer periods. Through coursework and clinical practicums, students learn how to diagnose and address communication disorders in children and adults. The online master’sin speech pathology at JMU is competitive and accepts students every two years. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.25 or higher and successfully complete all prerequisite courses. Upon graduation, students can become certified in speech-language pathology through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. A variety of resources are available to students, including online tech support and academic advisory services. The master’s in speech pathology online program at JMU is flexibly structured so that students can continue to work while pursuing their degrees.

Online Master's in Speech Pathology Overview


Students in an online speech pathology master's program can expect to take classes like Models of Language, Language Disorders, Pediatric Audiology, Voice Disorders, Evaluation and Diagnosis in Speech Pathology, Aphasia, Neuromotor Speech Disorders, and Language Sampling Analysis. Most master's programs will also require clinical placements to provide students with experience working as a speech pathologist. The curriculums for many master's programs are also set up to prepare students to apply for licensure or certification after graduation.

Program Requirements

Students can graduate with an online master's degree in speech pathology in as little as a year and a half, but it may take up to three years. Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree and will need to submit transcripts from their undergraduate institutions. Some schools offering online master's degrees in speech pathology have a minimum GPA requirement and specific course prerequisites. Other application requirements include GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

Frequently Asked Questions About Speech Pathology Degrees

How much can I earn with a master's in speech pathology?

Even an entry-level position as a speech-language pathologist will require a master's degree in speech pathology as well as some type of licensure or certification. With such advanced credentials, it is not surprising that the median annual income for speech-language pathologists is $79,120, with the highest-paid practitioners earning more than $120,000 per year. The best opportunities for speech pathologists are in nursing homes, residential care facilities, and hospitals, and the demand in this field is expected to increase by 27% through 2028, a projected growth rate that is much higher than that of other professions.

Will I need to get a doctoral degree to practice as a speech pathologist?

No, but the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recommends certified graduates with master's degrees in speech pathology consider pursuing one of the two types of doctoral degrees in speech-language pathology, depending on their career goals. A clinical doctorate prepares speech pathologists for advanced leadership roles in a clinical setting, such as a master clinician or clinical administrator. By contrast, a PhD in speech pathology prepares students for research and teaching roles in academia.

How can I fulfill the clinical practice requirement for a master's in speech pathology program if I'm going to school online?

Various master's in speech pathology programs label this requirement by different names—clinical internships, clinical externships, practicums, and so on—but in most cases the school requires students to complete a minimum number of hours of real-world experience as part of the curriculum. When students are completing their degrees online, they may have to work with their advisor or another faculty member to make arrangements to complete this requirement at a recognized healthcare or educational facility that is convenient to the student. Students will need to work under the supervision of licensed speech pathologists at the chosen facilities. The purpose of a practicum is to give students valuable experience in diagnosing and treating communication disorders, and students may be asked to pass an exam or complete some kind of project to document they have gained the appropriate level of skill from the experience.

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