Southeast Missouri State University’s graduate program in speech-language pathology has been reaccredited by the Council of Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA).
The CAA voted to continue accreditation of the program for eight years beginning Oct. 1 and continuing through Sept. 30, 2027. The reaccreditation completes a process that began last year and included a site visit in March.
During the reaccreditation process, Southeast’s graduate education program in speech language pathology was evaluated on a rigorous set of requirements indicating the program has adequate resources to support student learning outcomes. The program has been accredited at Southeast since October 1980.
“Accreditation ensures the quality of course offerings and training using specific standards to assure our program meets threshold expectations and can sustain that performance over time,” says Dr. Jayanti Ray, interim chair of the Department of Communication Disorders. “The accreditation standards address key areas such as faculty expertise, student support services, finance and facilities, curricula and student learning outcomes in terms of knowledge, skills and competencies. Accreditation promotes accountability and compliance with general expectations as reflected in the accreditation standards.”
The CAA and the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) accredit graduate programs that prepare individuals to enter professional practice in audiology or speech-language pathology. The CAA is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and by the U.S. Secretary of Education as the accrediting body for the accreditation of education programs leading to the first professional or clinical degree at the master’s or doctoral level.
Southeast’s graduate program was evaluated on its compliance with current standards addressing administrative structure and governance, faculty, academic and clinical curriculum, students, assessment and program resources.
When students graduate from the program, they become eligible to apply for state licensure to work as speech-language pathologists in educational settings, such as schools, and medical settings, hospitals and long-term care facilities, and in private practice settings. Upon graduation they are also eligible to apply for national certification to obtain their Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA.
“Students and the public can have confidence that a degree offered by Southeast’s program has value and is recognized by other related professional organizations,” Ray said. “Accreditation signals that students graduating from the program can obtain due recognition and employment.”
Students graduating with a master’s degree in communication disorders are career-ready and are prepared to evaluate, treat and conduct research into human communication and swallowing disorders due to various causes, such as a stroke, brain injury, hearing loss, craniofacial anomalies, developmental delay, cerebral palsy, autism and others, Ray said.
The education offered to Southeast Missouri State University’s graduate speech-language pathology students makes them strong candidates for future employers.
“Southeast’s communication disorders program is one of the nationally accredited programs in speech-language pathology that adequately prepares students for national certification and state licensure to work as a speech-language pathologist. The program is unique because our graduates are highly sought after by employers throughout the nation,” Ray said.
With more than 150 applicants per year, Southeast’s program offers 18 seats to highly qualified students with an undergraduate degree in communication disorders.
“With our extensive curriculum and various experiential learning components, students accrue over 375 clinical clock hours under supervision,” she said. “Our on-campus clinic, the Center for Speech and Hearing, as well as externship sites at local schools, nursing homes and hospitals, offer unique clinical experiences to our students. These clinical placements prepare them with the professional knowledge and skills they need when applying for jobs as speech-language pathologists.”
Students in the graduate program are offered excellent research opportunities to work alongside faculty researchers on topics pertaining to interprofessional education, animal-assisted therapy, cognitive-linguistic impairments, aging, voice, language, and literacy. Every year, students present their research papers at local, state and national conferences.