Speech Therapy Training in Illinois
Illinois residents who wish to pursue a career in speech therapy should know that they are required to complete certain training and educational requirements before they may work in the field. These requirements begin, of course, with obtaining higher education, resulting eventually in at least the completion of a master's degree program. On average, this will take approximately six years. Having children or a full time job or other factors can make it take longer, while taking summer courses or extra credit hours can help degrees to be earned more quickly. You must work at a pace that is comfortable for you. No matter what, though, you will have to possess a large amount of commitment and a strong work ethic in order to succeed.
The first step toward becoming a speech therapist in Illinois is to possess a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree is designed to help you understand the field or a related area in general terms and to help you to think more critically and to become a more well rounded individual. You can earn your degree by pursuing first an associate's degree and then a bachelor's degree or by obtaining a bachelor's degree all at once. Your financial status, other obligations, and many more factors will determine which path will be the right choice for you. In the end, the opinions of others will not matter, so you must choose the way which will end in success for you. After a bachelor's degree is earned, the next step is to achieve a master's degree. Master's degree programs take all of the education you received in your undergraduate years and then builds upon it, helping to truly prepare you for a job in the field. Do be aware that master's degree programs can be difficult to get into, even for the best students, so it's often a good idea to apply for several programs at a time. You should always apply for your "top choices," and then make room for a few "safety schools," as well.
When you have completed your master's degree, you can always opt for a doctoral degree if you choose. This is an excellent way to increase your earning potential and to gain greater, more in depth knowledge into the speech therapy field. You can pursue your PhD as soon as you graduate from your master's degree program, after you complete your licensure, after several years of work in the field, or not at all. The choice in this matter is completely up to you since a doctoral degree is not a requirement to work in the field.
When you have completed at least a master's degree, you are eligible for licensure in the state. To become a licensed speech therapist, you will need to have proof of your education, documented hours of experience and supervised learning, and you will have to have passed a national examination covering all of the topics you have studied. With your licensure, however, you can go far.