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Hi! I am a bachelor's level speech therapist. There is a severe shortage in my state so school districts can hire you with a B.A. and you can work full-time, with equal salary as a teacher (until you get your masters, then you get equal with SLP's) and equal responsibilities as long as you complete 6 hours of graduate credit per semester. I think this is a great way to address that there simply aren't enough therapists to go around. Also, I am getting my degree online instead of traditionally. I have heard so much negativity about it and I don't understand why. Sitting in the classroom for my undergraduate degree all there was was powerpoint, more powerpoint and exams. I have learned more within the last year working then from most of my classes. Because of this I don't see anything wrong with getting a degree online. I still have to complete my 400 hours - in the hospital, schools, and I have to attend a clinic camp for 4-6 weeks every summer. I feel that I am benifiting from working and taking the courses online and I am learning more than my fellow classmates in the classroom full-time because I am applying it.

There is so much negativity from older speech therapists about online degrees and I don't think it is fair. Also, no one seems to be addressing how many therapists are exiting at the bachelor's level. I think it is due to how hard it is to get into a graduate program. Something needs to be done about that too. We need more graduate programs for SLP's.
I agree with you. I am an "old", traditionally educated therapist, and I do not have negativity about online degrees. Some people get the "not fair!" syndrome, as in "Ihadto applytogradschoolquitmyjobanddrivetoclassesandidn'tgetpaidAdime" hissy fits. I'm well beyond that at this age. I've supervised an intern working in the schools and sat in on some of her online classes. They were strenuous and appropriate in their content. If she couldn't cut it, we'd learn it immediately and not 3 years later. She was in the class, after all. I don't want to stay on my high horse only to be without help or coworkers. Good for you that you are continuing our career and looking to help the profession. After it is over no one will know where you got your degree unless you volunteer the information. Be proud and tell them that you were getting on-the-job experience with the same level of education as us old-fogeys.

I don't understand the bias...all of the online SLP programs are through reputable brick and mortar schools, not like some of the degree mills out there that have no actual buildings. Plus, the practicums are not virtual, you actually have to be there for those.

What state are you working in Marrisa, if you don't mind my asking? I am actually getting a second bachelors degree online right now and will pursue my masters when I finish. If possible I would consider moving to one of the states that offers jobs to students with bachelors degrees in order to work while I take graduate classes.

Someone stated that many New York schools offer classes at night in order to accomodate working during the day, they also let people work with bachelors degrees...another option I suppose.
I am actually going to go against the previous posters with regards to an online degree. I think taking core classes online okay since you are just memorizing the matieral and reading from the book. Yet...Grad classes are completely different...and I just finished my degree a year ago. Yes the professor does lecture some but a lot of time is spent having class discussions, making presentations, completing projects etc. You are completly missing out on learning from your peers and collaborating from them. I honestly learned more from these important aspects of the program. I was able to take what I learned from books, lectures, etc and apply them in discussions and debates about issues, theories, etc. I was able to collaborate with them when I questions or needed ideas for my clients (which I guess you can do if you were doing this online).

Honestly, do what is best for you but in my opinion an online grad degree just isn't the same. If one day you can hold discussions and such online so you can see and participate with all of your classmates then maybe my opinion will change.
Actually we do hold discussions online and have group study sessions too.
Ginger - the program is through Tennessee State University
I certainly understand the need for online programs, but I too echo some of the other posters' sentiments in that there is so much to be learned from talking to peers in your graduate program. During my grad school time, my peers and I swapped materials, books, CD-Roms, bounced ideas off of one another, networked....I am sure that all of these can be done online, but there is certainly something to be said about face-to-face interactions.

Also, I am glad that we are in a highly competitive field where there are so few openings in grad programs. The limited number of SLPs keeps me at a good salary!
For one of the previous posts,
In NY, I went to school at night during grad school. The earliest class started at 4:30. There are many programs in NY that offer night classes. I had to do practicum during the day however. I had to take a few months off from work. Well worth it!!!!!
older now
To get a masters in this field tough. Getting it on-line still means you have to go through all the data and learn to apply what you've read. I think it can be done on-line. I am able to take CEU seminars on-line and I do learn the material. I need the visual stimulation that comes from seeing the professor and also watching the other students reaction. Summer-camp sounds good.
I believe online degrees are the easy way out!! You never have to study for an exam because you can just have your textbook and notes in front of you as you complete the exam on your computer. I think onlin degree should be banned!! We all had to struggle to get into a masters program and then actually show up to every class.
You should do some research before you give your negative opinion. You are NOT allowed to take tests with your books in front of you. You must have a test proctor in your area (usually a librarian) that monitors your test taking. Do you really think these programs would be ASHA approved if you didn't ever have to take a test? I have met and worked with people that have finished their degrees online and they have just as much knowledge as I did when I finished my degree! They still have to pass the NESPA too. How would they do that if they didn't learn anything???? By the way, how many of you actually used those grad school notes you saved??? I never did. I relied on my textbooks and supervisors more than I ever did on those notes that I thought were so important.

Also, I learned more in my practicums, which they do in their local areas under the supervision of SLP's, than I did in class because it's mostly theory in class. Practice is learned in practice. Grad school doesn't necessarily mean you will be good therapist. Actually, completing an online program requires even MORE discipline than a traditional program and would be harder than what I went through. If you haven't ever taken an online course, you really cannot comment on the difficulty level.

With the shortages in this field, every one of us should be supporting these people, not putting them down. Not everyone has a major university in their backyard nor can they quit their jobs to go to school full-time. I am happy there are more programs popping up everyday as it will help our profession.
See, this is a perfect example of why online degrees get a bad name. Have you ever taken an online course? In my experience they are every bit as rigorous as the traditional classes, and sometimes even more so. And, the clinical work you have to complete it the same so I really don't understand all the flack that online degrees get. I attend a brick and mortar institution that also sponsors an online degree. The online program is just as hard to get into as the traditional one and the course work is the same, in many cases even taught by the same teachers. So it is not always true that people are taking the "easy" way out.

Some people cannot pick up and relocate in order to pursue their chosen career and online degrees are a wonderful use of technology in the field of education. The world is changing people, and just because it's done differently than when you did it twenty years ago doesn't mean its inferior, it just means it's different....and is every bit as legitimate as the way you did it.

I attended a brick and mortar institution that sponsored a distance ed program in speech. Although it may not have been online, it was still not the traditonal way things are done. We are so fortunate to have alternatives folks. My hat is off to anyone with the nerves to take online courses and distance education courses. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline and courage to do what you are doing. You are brave and certainly have my blessings. It is so easy for someone to criticize what you are doing when they have never walked in your shoes and also seems to be misinformed. Online courses have proctors to test in various locations. I am a proctor. Some of the courses I took in a brick and mortar setting were a total waste of my time. My most vauable experiences came from my clinicals where I had phenomenal supervisors. It all boils down to the same thing, all students have to have a minimal amount of clinicals, pass the NESPA, etc. The world is changing even as we speak. Technology has afforded us these opportunities and I say, "Go for it!"
Fellow Speech Pathologist
Getting an on line Masters in speech is a clear indicator that you could not get in a "Real" progam. An on line clinical course is a joke. Those who are attending on line MA speech programs should go for special ed instead.
Would you people please do a little research before bashing online programs. You obviously don't have any idea what you are talking about because if you did you would know that the actual clinical part of an online degree is done out in the field. Please quit criticizing something which you know nothing about. It's a diservice to the profession and incredibly insulting to those pursuing their degrees in a non traditional fashion.
It surprises me how little "professionals" know regarding non-traditional avenues in pursuing a degree. I was accepted in a brick and mortar school for my graduate studies however because I was married and the department head was sensitive to my needs, he gave me a choice, told me to call him a few days later with my decision. It had absolutely nothing to do with me not being able to get into a traditional program. I was accepted into a traditional program. Noone does clinicals online. That is a contradiction in terms.
Fellow SLP
Guest_older now
Well. You have educated me in this whole idea. I do think you would have to be mature to do this because it does sound more difficult. I took a couple of selected readings in Linguistics, after my Masters, and the professor gave me a verbal final that lasted about 5 hours. I did put in a lot of effort.
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