Speech pathology courses cover a wide range of topics, from anatomy to hearing to speech. The speech pathology student will learn about speech and swallowing disorders with both organic and functional roots. Courses will enable students to diagnose these disorders and develop a treatment plan to address the client's individual needs. A clinical portion and internship are usually required as well.
For the bachelors degree in speech pathology, the various required speech pathology courses include the anatomy and physiology of hearing, audiology, sociology, the anatomy and physiology of speech, and other courses on how language is learned. Since speech pathologists work with people with a wide variety of speaking and swallowing issues, those issues are studied in detail as well. Speech pathologists need to know how language works and how different things such as strokes and birth defects may affect speech and swallowing ability.
Students typically start by taking a course that introduces them to field of speech pathology. They will learn the different specialties available for speech pathologists, as well as what will be expected of them in their professional career. Schools often have an academic standard level for speech pathology courses taken, and another, normally slightly lower, academic standard for electives taken.
A course on functional speech disorders covers disorders of the voice. Stuttering is a disorder that commonly needs to be treated by a speech pathologist. Young children may have language delays that require the attention of a pathologist. Speech pathologists also work with individuals who have various birth defects that cause problems with speaking or swallowing.
Organic disorders are also common reasons for people to seek the care of a speech pathologist. These disorders may affect speech, swallowing, or both. Causes of organic disorders include strokes, injuries, and operations. This course will help the student learn how to manage all of these problems and develop a plan for overcoming them.
Another necessary course is in diagnosing. The cause of the speech or swallowing issue may not always be apparent. A course in diagnostics will help the speech pathology student identify the cause of a problem, and work out a treatment plan to address the clients individual needs. Common diagnostic tests will be covered, as well as the most effective treatments for each problem.
Those seeking a master's degree in speech pathology will take more comprehensive speech pathology courses. In addition, a thesis or exam may be required in order to receive the degree. Students seeking a master's degree in speech pathology often have a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as biology, zoology, or another science or health related field.
The amount of regulation to the speech pathology profession will vary by country. Each country will have its own licensing and education requirements. It may be best to contact your local government to learn licensing, education, and examination requirements.