(November 29, 2022) - On October 29th, 2022, Céline St-Onge crossed the stage of Laurentian University’s Fraser auditorium to obtain her Maîtrise ès sciences de la santé en Orthophonie (Speech-Language Pathology). This degree follows her Baccalauréat ès sciences de la santé en Orthophonie (Laurentian, 2020). “I’m so proud of our cohort of graduates. Convocation was a very exciting day. It was nice to have the opportunity to assemble one last time with some of the amazing professors who helped us along our journeys.”
According to St-Onge, whose home town is North Bay, Ontario, she and her graduating class, “completed the Orthophonie program inspired to put our knowledge into practice and help support as many individuals as we can.” St-Onge attested that one of the best feelings about working in the field of speech-language pathology is helping clients make progress toward their goals.
For St-Onge and other speech-language pathologists whose skills are in high demand, the people they serve range from infants to geriatrics. “We help people with all sorts of needs. For example, developmental articulation and phonological disorders, neurologically based speech disorders, developmental language disorders, acquired language disorders, voice disorders, resonance disorders, fluency disorders, augmentative & alternative communication, hearing disorders and related speech-language disorders, and dysphagia (swallowing difficulty or disorder).”
Based on recent data from RADLD.ORG (Raise Awareness of Developmental Language Disorder), about 1 in 14 people are affected by a development language disorder (DLD), which causes difficulties understanding and using language. In Canada, there are approximately 2.6 million people with DLD, a lifelong problem that affects people of all ages.
St-Onge was inspired to study the field of speech-language pathology when she had the opportunity to visit Laurentian’s campus as a high school student. “When I was a grade ten student at École Secondaire Catholique Algonquin, I participated in a Laurentian University course information session. There, I was introduced to some of the material that would be taught in the Orthophonie program. I discovered that the program combines teachings from all the subjects I already loved, such as language, science, anatomy, psychology, and statistics. This quickly confirmed for me that a career in speech-language pathology was one I wanted to pursue.”
For St-Onge, choosing to pursue this field at Laurentian, where the curriculum follows the standards set by the College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO) was an easy decision. Graduates meet the requirements for registration in Ontario and non-statutory certification for Speech Language and Audiology Canada (SAC) and are well equipped to write the mandatory national Canadian Entry-to-Practice Examination (CETP). St-Onge wrote her CETP Examination for the profession of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, on October 25th, 2022.
“Laurentian University was my top choice. The fact that they offer both the Speech-Language Pathology (Orthophonie) undergraduate and graduate program makes for an excellent learning experience. As a student, small classroom sizes also supported an exceptionally personalized learning experience. I cannot say enough great things about the professors in the Orthophonie program. They are extremely dedicated, knowledgeable, caring, and supportive.”
St-Onge is equally enthused that she’s made incredible friends with other students and alumni. “If there is one piece of advice I'd give to future students, it would be to put energy in creating a strong support system with your cohort. My cohort was amazing and we continue to communicate almost every week; sharing tips, tricks and questions.”
According to Dr. Michèle Minor-Corriveau, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Speech-Language Pathology programs at Laurentian University, “our students go over and above to support each other, and they strive for excellence from the moment they first set foot on campus. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we really do have the most incredible students. La crème de la crème. We have much to be proud of when it comes to our students and graduates.”
Career opportunities for Speech-Language Pathology graduates are plentiful. “Every student in my cohort had employment lined up either before or directly after graduation,” said St-Onge, who is employed at One Kids Place in North Bay, a centre that offers outpatient rehabilitation services with a wide range of programs and services for children and youth with physical, communicative and developmental needs. “Speech language pathology really is a great profession with equally great job prospects.”
Added Dr. Minor-Corriveau: “No past graduate has had difficulty finding work. They are all gainfully employed. By 2028, there is a predicted shortage of twenty-five percent of the workforce in Speech-Language Pathology. Our graduates are helping fill this need.”
Laurentian University is proud of our more than 70,600 alumni. To date, Laurentian has graduated 160 students from the undergraduate Speech-Language Pathology program, and 103 students from the Masters-level Speech-Language Pathology program. This figure breaks down further to 36 graduates of the Masters-level Speech-Language Pathology program previously offered at Laurentian between 1995 and 2003, and 67 graduates of the Masters-level Speech-Language Pathology program currently offered at Laurentian since 2014.
New program pairing options have recently become available to students: Éducation Concurrent - B.Sc.S.Orthophonie and Concurrent Education - B.Sc.S.Orthophonie.
Students enrolled can complete the B.Sc.S.Orthophonie while taking courses to meet the requirements for entry into the Professional Year (5th year) of either the Éducation Concurrent or Concurrent Education program. The five years of the education programs provides students with an opportunity to experience a wide variety of educational settings. These pairing of programs enable prospective students to work in two distinct professions - expanding their options for employment.
Prospective students interested in learning more about these new program pairing options are encouraged to reach out to Liaison Services: firstname.lastname@example.org.