About the Professions

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders includes two professions - speech-language pathology and audiology - which have developed out of a concern for people with communication disorders.

As a career, these professions require a strong desire to work with and help people of varying backgrounds to obtain their highest potential despite a variety of challenging conditions.

Students should have personal integrity, tactfulness, versatility, self-confidence, independence, dependability, proficiency in oral/written communication, good listening skills, an ability to make reasoned observations, and appropriate decision-making skills.

Speech-Language Pathology

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) evaluate, diagnose, and treat communication disorders in individuals of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Employment opportunities exist in public and private schools, health care facilities, research facilities, and private practice settings. A scientific, evidence-based approach is used to help those with:

  • Fluency disorders gain control of their stuttering
  • Swallowing disorders gain control of oral motor skills
  • Aphasia (i.e. from a stroke or brain injury) improve comprehension/production of speech and written language
  • Language disorders improve language production/comprehension
  • Articulation disorders learn how to say speech sounds correctly
  • Voice disorders develop proper control of the vocal and respiratory systems
  • Severe communication disorders use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems

Employment of speech-language pathologists is expected to grow by 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. (U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook -- SLP)

» Learn more about the MA program at Wichita State

Audiology

Audiologists study communication disorders related to hearing loss and the non-medical management of the auditory and balance systems. Hearing loss exists for persons who may be unable to hear speech and other sounds loudly enough and/or understand speech even when it is loud enough. Determining the prevalence of hearing loss depends on the type and degree of loss, the area of abnormality in the auditory system (i.e. middle ear, inner ear, brain), noise exposure, and age. Employment opportunities exist in public and private schools, health care facilities, research facilities, and private practice settings. Some of the services provided by audiologists include:

  • Identification and assessment of hearing problems (newborn and adult screenings)
  • Measuring the degree of hearing loss through comprehensive tests
  • Evaluating balance problems and provide rehabilitation
  • Consultation on hearing conservation issues (education, noise level monitoring)
  • Developing an audiologic rehabilitation program (counseling, communication strategies, hearing aid fitting, assistive listening devices, auditory training)

Employment of audiologists is expected to grow by 21 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. (U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Audiologist)

» Learn more about the AuD program at Wichita State

State Licensure, National Certification and Professional Resources

SLPs are required to hold a master's degree and state licensure/national certification.
Audiologists are required to hold a doctoral degree and state licensure/national certification.