SC State University’s Speech Pathology and Audiology Program in High Demand

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ronald and Ebony GloverRonald and Ebony Glover enjoy taking on new adventures together. They worked together almost four years in the laundry service business. She handled the company’s marketing while he maneuvered accounting for the long list of hotels that the business served. Now, after being married for six years, the two have decided to embark on a new venture in life by attending graduate school together. Not only did they agree that it was time to do something different, but they both decided to enroll in the same program, the Speech Pathology and Audiology Program at SC State University.

“We were in need of a career change due to the economy in Las Vegas, Nev., and we wanted a career with longevity and options,” said Ebony. As residents of Las Vegas, the Glovers were ready to transition from a state in which the unemployment rate hit a whopping 14.2 percent.

However, living in a better economy with lower mortgage rates was not their sole reason for attending the new graduate student orientation for the Speech Pathology and Audiology Program held recently on the SC State campus. “This major looks to be in demand,” said Ronald.

Ronald, who received his degree in business management from the University of Phoenix, was correct. According to Dr. Regina Lemmon, associate professor in the Speech Pathology and Audiology Program, speech pathologists and audiologists are in high demand. “There is a severe shortage of speech pathologists and audiologists,” noted Lemmon. “They can major in this and go anywhere in the world and have a job.”

Dr. Gwendolyn Wilson, chair for the Speech Pathology and Audiology Program at SC State University and facilitator for the recent new graduate student orientation, takes this a step further, telling the crowd of over 50 new graduate students that SC State University will guarantee that they receive a job upon completion of the program. “We have a 100 percent employment rate,” said Wilson. “No one leaves this program without a job. We need you in the nursing homes, the hospitals and the schools. You will work in both ends of the continuum.”

These facts are pleasing to know for the Glovers who have only resided in Orangeburg for two months. Ronald loves that the Speech Pathology and Audiology Program at SC State can provide such an absolute regarding employment attainment, especially considering that he hails from a long line of SC State graduates, including his parents and sister. “My sister graduated from the University in 1996,” says Ronald. “She is now a speech pathologist and owns a business in San Jose, Ca.”

Just like the Glovers, many other students filled Belcher Hall ready to begin working in a program that is gaining more notoriety each year. Amanda Kerrigan received her degree from Clemson University and is ecstatic about attending SC State in the fall. “I am really excited because overall it’s a great program,” noted Kerrigan who resides in Columbia, S.C.

The Speech Pathology and Audiology Program at SC State will soon be only one of two universities in the state of South Carolina to offer an accredited master’s degree in speech-language pathology. According to Wilson, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is closing their speech program within the next two years. As a result, students like Kerrigan and the Glovers must be ready to work diligently in a competitive environment. “Students must meet and exceed the standards,” noted Wilson.

Kerrigan and others are ready for the challenge, so much so that many students have traveled from diverse geographic regions, such as Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La.; Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn; Delaware State University in Dover, Del. and Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla. Still, many students chose to remain in their home state, including Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, College of Charleston, Columbia College, SC State University and much more.

Not only did students attend the new graduate student orientation from various schools but also with an array of undergraduate majors, from anthropology and psychology, to music performance and exercise and sports science. “At least 50 percent of you do not have your undergraduate degree in speech,” said Wilson. According to Wilson, these students are required to take 18 credit hours of prerequisite courses.

Ebony Glover is willing to do just that. Ebony received her degree in marketing and management information systems. She is ready to take the necessary 18 hours and to get involved in a program that continues to attract a diverse student body. This diversity is just one of the many reasons that the Speech Pathology and Audiology Program at SC State acquires credibility and positive attention. Additional reasons include gaining practical experience within the University’s clinic for speech, language and hearing services, as well as a high pass rate on the National Examination for Speech Pathology and Audiology (NESPA).

“We have a very strong and rigorous program,” stated Wilson. “This is a very exciting field that changes on a daily basis, and you will be making an important contribution in many lives.”

For additional information on SC State University’s Speech Pathology and Audiology Program, call 803-536-8074.