First , go to a 4-year college and do a bachelors degree in any field. speak with your pre-health advisors on what courses you should take as pre-requisite for the masters in speech pathology. Take the GRE and maintain a good GPA , and apply to masters programs in speech pathology during your senior year. Most schools will interview you. Alternatively , you can enter a direct-entry masters program that takes 5 years in some colleges leading to a masters in speech pathology. It is 1 year shorter than the traditional route.
Once in the masters program , you will study the anatomy of speech and the various disorders, learn how to formulate treatment plans and learn how to use the equipments needed in your daily work. Also you will have internships/externships with hospitals and special schools in your 2nd year. Once you complete the course , you will have to sit the PRAXIS exam for speech pathologist. Also , most will apply for a clinical fellowship year (CFY) with hospitals / special schools to get the Certificate in Clinical Competency(CCC-SLP)
A CFY marks the first year of professional practice. It is similar to a medical residency programs for medical students. It last 9 months to 1 year and you will be graded by your supervisor. Most hospitals and schools will pay you for your CFY year. However , hospitals like Mayo Clinic do not pay for your CFY. After the completion of the CFY and PRAXIS exam , you will submit to ASHA for certification. Once you are certified , you will be able to bear the post-nominal letters CCC-SLP as your credentials and you are now a full fledged independent speech pathologist.
Career advancements includes research , teaching in colleges and administrative roles as senior speech pathologists.