How to Become a Speech Therapist in Canada


If you're gifted with patience and creativity and you're fascinated by language and its use, speech-language pathology (also known as speech therapy) is a rewarding career that will allow you to pursue your passion while helping others. Regardless of which Canadian province or territory you want to practice in, a master's degree in speech-language pathology is required. Begin by researching master's programs that interest you and pursuing your undergraduate education.

  • Investigate the master's programs that interest you. Universities across Canada have different prerequisite requirements for admission, so it's important that you know what they are for your target schools before beginning your undergraduate studies. According to Saskatchewan Health, speech-language pathology is offered at the University of Alberta, McGill University, the University of Toronto, the University of Western Ontario, the University of British Columbia and Dalhousie University.

  • Select and enroll in an undergraduate degree program. Although some schools accept three-year degrees, most require four-year degrees and your chances of admission to speech-language pathology programs improve with a four-year education. Recall the prerequisite requirements for your target schools and make sure you choose a program that gives you the space to fill them. Because most schools require psychology and linguistics courses, those two subjects are popular undergraduate majors for aspiring speech therapists.

  • Volunteer with or shadow a speech-language pathologist. Many schools require applicants to have volunteer experience, but seeing speech-pathologists at work is beneficial even for students who don't need volunteer hours. Watching speech therapists in action can help students understand the profession and clarify their career goals.

  • Study for and write the Graduate Record Exam, if any of your target schools require it. Not all schools do, so make sure you need the GRE before studying and paying the writing fee. The GRE comes in subject-specific flavors, but speech pathology schools who want GRE results request that you take the general test. The general test assesses analytic reasoning, verbal and quantitative thinking abilities. Free practice tests and study materials are available from the GRE's official website (see References and the Resource).

  • Apply and work your way through a speech-language pathology master's program. You can expect to take courses in language disorders and development, swallowing disorders, psychology, phonology (the systematic use of sound to create meaning), phonetics (study of human speech sounds and their production) and other areas. Most programs are about two years long and include a clinical practicum component.

  • Register with your province or territory's regulatory body that monitors speech-language pathologists. Depending on the province, you might also need to be eligible for membership and certification through the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA). To qualify, you'll need to have your master's degree in hand plus 300 hours of practicum experience earned through your program's placements and internships.

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