Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Illinois State University
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?


Speech-language pathologists, sometimes called speech therapists, assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent disorders related to speech, language, cognitive-communication, voice, swallowing, and fluency.

Speech-language pathologists work with people who cannot produce speech sounds or cannot produce them clearly; those with speech rhythm and fluency problems, such as stuttering; people with voice disorders, such as inappropriate pitch or harsh voice; those with problems understanding and producing language; those who wish to improve their communication skills by modifying an accent; and those with cognitive communication impairments, such as attention, memory, and problem-solving disorders. They also work with people who have swallowing difficulties. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is the Speech-Languge Pathology Program?





The Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology at Illinois State University boasts a balanced curriculum preparing graduates for practice in all educational and health care settings. Nine required courses are supplemented by a fast growing list of electives allowing individuals to specialize in the medical, educational, or bilingual aspects of clinical practice. 

The Eckelmann-Taylor Speech and Hearing Clinic, located in the same building as our classrooms, documents over 12,000 client visits per year. Physically connected to the University’s lab school, the clinic is involved in the provision of speech, language, and hearing services to a large population of preschool and school-age children, children with hearing impairment and deafness, and those with severe and multiple, physical, and cognitive impairments. Grants from the Central Illinois Down Syndrome Organization support the provision of services to many individuals with Down Syndrome. Other specialized experiences available on campus include but are not limited to phonological, language, aphasia and fluency groups, instruction in English as a second language, AAC, and autism treatment.

Beyond the walls of the clinic, established partnerships with a growing list of community agencies allow graduate clinicians to refine clinical skills in the classroom to the practice of speech-language pathology at the following:

  • early childhood centers
  • private practices
  • private and public schools
  • daycare centers
  • hospitals
  • nursing homes
  • agencies serving adults with developmental disabilities.

Once graduate students have completed a coordinated, four-term sequence of courses and practicum, they complete their training with two full-time, eleven-week internship experiences. Internship sites are selected in cooperation with, and all arrangements are made on behalf of students by the Clinical Coordinator in Speech-Language Pathology. The Clinical Coordinator maintains over 500 contracts with external sites and is continually seeking additional sites both within and outside state boundaries to meet the unique needs of each clinician.

Student Outcome Data

Program Completion Rate

Period # completing program w/in expected time frame # completed later than expected time frame # not completing % completing
2013-2014 34 0 0 100%
2012-2013 46 3 1 98%
2011-2012 51 1 2 96%
3 year average 44 1 1 98%

Praxis Exam Pass Rates

Period # taking exam pass rate (%)
2013-2014 35 100%
2012-2013 50 100%
2011-2012 36 97%
3 year average   99%

Employment Rates for SLP Graduates

Period # graduates % graduates
2013-2014 34 88%
2012-2013 49 96%
2011-2012 51 82%
3 year average   89%