Larry Taylor, Audiology Student, Towson University
This device is a rotary chair that tests balance. It helps an AUD figure out if someone is dealing with a peripheral issue (ear related issue) or neurological (brain related / beyond the ear).
HIGH SCHOOL ROADMAP TO A CAREER IN CSD
Get a general idea of what your education path will look like.
Find colleges and universities with CSD programs.
Explore financial aid options.
If you are a high school student interested in a career in communication sciences and disorders (CSD), it’s never too early to start your journey by taking classes, gaining experience, and exploring undergraduate and graduate programs.
Talk to your guidance counselor—or the audiologist or speech-language pathologist—at your school about your interest in pursuing a CSD career.
Consider taking high school classes that will prepare you for the required coursework in an undergraduate or graduate program. Most CSD undergraduate programs include courses in biological sciences, social/behavioral sciences, physical sciences (i.e., chemistry or physics), and statistics. You can make yourself a more competitive applicant by taking foreign language courses and completing language immersion experiences.
Consider gaining volunteer or work experience with children or adults.
- Become a teacher’s aide in special education classrooms.
- Become a summer camp counselor at camps for children with special needs.
- Provide support services at a hearing and speech-language clinic or an audiology or a speech-language pathology private practice.
- Work with linguistically diverse populations by assisting with ESL classes or tutoring in a neighborhood or an after-school program.
- Volunteer at a children’s hospital, a VA hospital, an acute care hospital, or a skilled nursing facility.
- Volunteer at a Head Start or other preschool program.
- Contact your state speech-language-hearing association to inquire about shadowing opportunities.
An undergraduate degree in CSD is the most common pathway into audiology and speech-language pathology graduate programs. Although there are more than 270 CSD undergraduate programs in the United States, not all institutions have an undergraduate major in CSD, so be sure to check the institution’s program offerings.
Choosing an undergraduate program
Visit EdFind to search institutions and review admission and program requirements for undergraduate CSD programs. EdFind can also help you search for options that are important to you, including
- multicultural or bilingual emphasis to develop a deep understanding of variation in speech, language, and hearing across ages and abilities within the context of cultural, linguistic, and economic diversity;
- study-abroad options;
- historically Black colleges/universities and Hispanic-serving institutions;
- online or distance-learning options; and
- location by geographic area.
Learn about a program’s faculty, curriculum, research interests, and clinical education opportunities, which will help you decide the program that’s best for you.
Explore financial aid options that include scholarships, loans, and work-study programs. Funding sources can include federal grants and loans, scholarships from universities and service organizations, and private foundations.
Hear the stories of current students and professionals as they share why they chose a career in CSD.
Tips and Resources for High School Students
Volunteers are always in high demand! Check with the Community Resource Center at your school, which typically partners with organizations and foundations in your area. That office can provide you with a vast array of opportunities to explore so you can help others while also gaining valuable real-world experience. When seeking volunteer work, consider your schedule and what your ideal work setting would be.
In a discipline like CSD, your classmates and professors could very well end up interviewing you for a position one day. Making a good first impression is important; take advantage of leadership opportunities by stepping up to run for office in a social club or for your class. Reach out to professionals whom you admire to see if they’ll allow you to shadow them. If you know an audiologist or SLP, ask them to share about a day in their professional life or ask them for information about their career.
To learn more about the profession, listen to current students and professionals share why they chose a career in CSD. Hearing the stories of other people’s experiences provides you with useful career insight. Continue navigating through this site as well as the ASHA and National NSSLHA websites to learn more.
One factor that influences an individual’s career choice is pay and the kind of work they perform—and the work that audiology and speech-language pathology professionals perform requires a high level of education, knowledge, and skill. When you embark on your CSD journey, understanding the factors that affect the market and organizational salary decisions can help you negotiate better wages when interviewing. ASHA conducts the Audiology, Schools, and SLP Health Care surveys every 2 years; regularly reviewing these survey results can help you gauge your future earning potential.
Discover Career Options
You have the option to work in different research, education, and health care settings with varying roles, levels of responsibility, and client populations. The discipline offers part-time, full-time, and as-needed work positions depending on location, specific role, and employment needs. Explore the breadth of jobs available to you, so you can find one that best suits your needs.
Don’t Lose It, Use It
Are you learning (or using) languages in addition to English? Your voice and languages are welcome in CSD! You’ll only get better with practice, so keep using and growing your language skills, and immerse yourself in a rewarding CSD career to address the unique needs of bilingual clients and the specific languages that they speak.