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How to Get Started in Speech Therapy in Florida

As an aspiring speech therapist in the state of Florida, you have quite a bit of work ahead of you. In order to work in the field in the state, you will be required to obtain at least a master's degree, which means anywhere from six (average) to eight years of schooling, depending upon the amount of time you can devote each semester to obtaining a degree, your program of choice, and other factors. In addition to your education, you will have to complete several hours of supervised experiential learning and working and pass a national examination. Obviously, this is a lot of work, but those who complete it prove that they are truly dedicated to having a career as a speech therapist.

In order to start down your educational path, you must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Once you have this, it's time to take the first step of your higher education by pursuing a bachelor's degree. You may choose to do this by enrolling in a two year associate's degree program and then transferring your credits to an undergraduate program, or you may complete all four years (average) of your undergraduate educational training at a traditional college. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that your school(s) are fully accredited, or they will not enable you to continue your education or to seek licensure later down the road.

In order to work as a licensed speech therapist, you will be required to hold at least a master's degree, which also must be from a fully accredited college or university. After completing your master's degree, you might also choose to seek out a doctoral degree, commonly referred to as a PhD. While this is not required, it is definitely something to think about as it can speed up the licensure process and can also help you to earn a higher salary in the field. Even if you do not seek a PhD prior to becoming licensed, it might be something that you will want to do later on down the road. In many cases, if you are already working in the field, your employer might be willing to pay for all or part of your higher education, so always be sure to keep this in mind and to consult with your employer before going back to school.

Once your education is tucked away, it's time to gain your licensure. Do be aware, however, that even after you gain your licensure, you will be required to keep it up to date and current, which will often involve continuing education opportunities. As such, in order to be a successful speech therapist, you must be willing to become a dedicated, lifelong learner. Since speech therapy changes and advances regularly, you'll be responsible for staying informed and up to date at all times. If you can do this, you'll likely enjoy a long and successful career as a speech therapist in Florida.