Do you think you know what a speech pathologist does?

You may be surprised.

The professional helping a premature baby learn crucial sucking and feeding skills in a neonatal nursery?

Speech pathologist.

What about the one working with individuals battling vocal cord cancer to regain the ability to speak? That’s a speech pathologist too.

Or how about the member of a rehab facility’s care team helping a stroke patient relearn how to swallow? You guessed it — speech pathologist.

“There’s a great need for speech pathologists, and it continues to grow,” said Robin Goldberg, director of Stonehill’s new Communication Sciences & Disorders major, which will debut in the fall. “We cover the full lifespan in the services we provide for people. There’s so much diversity in the field, which makes it very exciting.”

That growth is only accelerating. According to the latest projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in the speech-language pathology field were expected to grow by 29% from 2020 to 2030.

And there’s more exciting data for future speech-language pathologists: U.S. News & World Report named the field as the No. 10 career choice on its list of the best 100 jobs.

In Stonehill’s Communication Sciences & Disorders curriculum, students learn about topics such as speech and hearing science, audiology, phonetics, and speech and language development, along with core courses in topics such as biology, chemistry and physics.

The major builds on the success of Stonehill’s speech-pathology minor, which was introduced at the College in 2017. The development of the minor was student-driven, making it just one of the latest examples of Stonehill’s commitment to developing academic programs that are responsive to student interests and market demands.

“I believe that one of the main reasons I was able to get into UNC Chapel Hill was because of the opportunities I was given at Stonehill college,” said Lorraine Smith ’17, who earned her master’s degree in speech and hearing sciences in the nationally renowned University of North Carolina Chapel Hill program. “I am proud to say that I graduated from Stonehill not just because of the academics but also because of the people that never stopped supporting me in all my academic endeavors.  

“The minor was a great experience,” adds graduate Grace LeBlanc ’19, who also earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and now works as a speech-language pathologist for students ages 11 to 22 at the May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities in Randolph, Massachusetts. In this role, she partners with teachers and staff to implement individual student goals in the classroom, conducts social groups to help students learn new skills for interacting with others, and assists the students in developing self-advocacy skills as well as techniques for managing their own learning devices and other aids. 

LeBlanc continued: “I loved that we had professors who were working in the field at the time too. It helped me gain perspective regarding what a career in speech-language pathology could be, and the confidence I could do it.”

Renaming the program from speech pathology to its current title is yet another change that more accurately reflects the range of career options students can pursue after graduation.

Susan Gibbons, instructor of Speech Language Pathology at Stonehill, works with students in the program.

“The field has become broader,” said Goldberg. “We work with people who have hearing loss, experience feeding and swallowing disorders, are nonverbal, or who may need adaptive communication devices. It’s not just about speech and language, but communication as a whole.”

Another standout feature of Stonehill’s program is the strong relationships it has built with real-world employers, offering students a breadth of internship opportunities. Current student Kelly McCormick ’24 completed an internship at Village Speech in Stonehill’s hometown of Easton. The private practice is owned by Karen Howe, an instructor at the college. 

“My internship confirmed for me that I’m going into the right field,” said McCormick. “We learned about the different assessments we would use, how to conduct a session and how to counsel families. I’ve observed a speech-language pathologist before, but it was a highlight to do it in this setting.”

Post-graduation, many students in Stonehill’s program have pursued graduate degrees at leading schools such as Boston University, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Northeastern University, Northwestern University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

“You need 25 observation hours for graduate school programs, which I was able to complete through my internship,” said psychology major Molli McNeil’19, who interned at Let’s Talk in Easton, a private practice owned by Stonehill alum Amy Mello ’06. “The opportunity to watch a speech-language pathologist doing their job, and seeing what I could do if I pursued a graduate degree, was really helpful to me.”

That path led to McNeil’s current career as a speech-language pathologist for Quincy Public Schools in Quincy, Massachusetts, where she serves at two different elementary schools, teaching language and communication skills to students in kindergarten through fifth grade, and supports children learning in both regular and special needs classrooms. 

According to Goldberg, one of the biggest benefits to a speech-language career is how rewarding it can be for the patient and practitioner alike. 

“It’s extremely fulfilling to be part of other people’s growth and development,” she said. “By working on their communication skills, we get to see them blossom as human beings.

  • Request Information

    Sign up now to be added to our mailing list, and we will show you how Stonehill could become part of your story.

  • Visit Opportunities

    Our visit programs will help give you a better understanding of how Stonehill’s expansive leadership and experiential learning opportunities equip students for success in a rapidly evolving and globally competitive world.

  • Apply for Admission

    Stonehill College provides an exceptional learning experience for both undergraduate and graduate students. We invite you to review the process, requirements and application deadlines for our entry options.