Speech pathology is a rapidly growing field with jobs in demand around the country. If you’re considering a grad program in speech pathology, keep reading to hear about a current student in Emerson’s online program, Speech@Emerson. Maia Klug currently lives in San Diego, California, and plans to graduate Speech@Emerson in December of 2025.
What is Speech@Emerson?
Emerson has two accredited graduate programs for speech pathology: one online and one in-person. Maia is enrolled in the online program, Speech@Emerson, which consists of completely online coursework and two weekend-long immersion experiences at Emerson’s Boston campus. Students have an option to complete their online coursework over a 5-term track or a 9-term track.
Why Speech Pathology?
“After college, I spent two years in Americorps, working at a high school in Oregon as an Academic Engagement Specialist,” Maia explains. As her contract came to an end, she was unsure what she wanted to do for her career. She had majored in sociology in college and didn’t know what career to pursue with her degree.
Maia heard about a career counselor through a family member and decided to set up an appointment. After a few sessions, her career counselor suggested a few careers that might fit Maia’s interests and told her to interview professionals in those fields.
“I loved that the speech pathologists I interviewed worked in all sorts of healthcare and educational settings, and they were all passionate about their work,” Maia says. After deciding speech pathology was the field for her, Maia started researching programs.
“I really didn’t want to move, so I researched online and local programs,” Maia explains. She applied to a number of programs but chose Emerson because it was so accepting of people who, like her, were making a career change and had no background in speech pathology.
She was impressed that Emerson’s admissions team readily answered all of her questions during the application and admission process. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with grad school applications, our Grad Admissions team is here to help. Plus, we’ve got some great blogs full of application tips and advice from an Emerson Admissions Officer!
In addition to being online and having application support, Speech@Emerson appealed to Maia for its person-centered approach to speech therapy. The program places heavy emphasis on cultural responsiveness and trains students to respect their clients’ values. This person-centered approach, plus the online format, made Maia realize Speech@Emerson was the program for her.
What does your typical day look like?
Speech@Emerson uses a flipped classroom model, where students complete readings and watch recorded lectures before class, then meet for 90 minutes each week on Zoom to discuss the class material. To make sure she is prepared for classes, Maia tries to complete her coursework in the first half of the week, then work in her remaining time.
“I’m really lucky because I can build my work schedule around school,” Maia explains. “Some people I know have less flexible jobs, which can be challenging.” However, with strong time management skills, Maia says her friends have all been able to manage work and school successfully.
Is it hard studying speech pathology with no past experience?
Because she did not have a background in speech pathology, Maia had to take some foundational courses before starting her graduate level coursework. Thankfully, Speech@Emerson offers all of these foundational courses over the summer before the graduate program begins, so Maia was able to complete these prerequisites easily.
Maia also has to observe 25 hours of clinical speech pathology sessions before she can offer speech therapy as a student clinician. Maia gets these observation hours through one of her Speech@Emerson classes, so she doesn’t have to worry about finding local speech pathologists to observe.
Because Speech@Emerson has these built-in provisions for students with no speech pathology background, Maia has had a smooth transition into the field.
Do you feel connected to the Emerson community?
“I’ve learned how to push myself to reach out to people,” Maia explains. Even though it’s a different process than meeting people in-person in college, Maia says she has made good friends with other Speech@Emerson students. The program is designed to have a close-knit community, encouraging students to connect for academic and social events.
“The professors also care a lot about the students,” she says. Professors usually have office hours following class, so students can easily stay in the Zoom meeting after class to ask questions. With a student-to-teacher ratio of about 15:1, Maia feels her professors genuinely care about her success and are always available to talk with students.
Would you recommend Speech@Emerson?
“I would definitely recommend the program,” Maia says. One of her favorite aspects of Speech@Emerson is the person-centered approach it teaches. Maia also values the diversity of her peers in the Speech@Emerson program. Maia has classes with students of a variety of ages and backgrounds from all over the country, and she appreciates all the different perspectives she gets to hear in class discussions.
What’s next for you after graduation?
Maia isn’t sure what work setting she wants to pursue as a speech pathologist. She is excited to get clinical practice in her time as a student because she’ll see what it’s like to work in a school, hospital, and other settings.
Maia is excited to continue her graduate studies through Speech@Emerson and see where her career will take her. If you have questions about the program or want to apply, visit the Speech@Emerson website.