Program Spotlight: HESPIE Post-Baccalaureate Program
A college student’s worst nightmare: recognizing their true “calling” after it is far too late to abandon their current field of study. However, for those who may have realized late in the game that they wanted to pursue a degree in either speech language pathology or audiology, there is hope yet: The Department of Hearing and Speech Science (HESP) just launched its Hearing and Speech in the Evening (HESPIE) post-baccalaureate, non-degree program this past fall, with an initial cohort of 25 students.
“Although there are online programs, many individuals prefer learning in traditional classroom settings where they can build a relationship with the instructor,” Dr. Rochelle Newman, HESP chair, explained. “This has led some individuals to return to college to pursue second bachelor’s degrees or to return as non-degree-seeking students in order to take these prerequisite courses.”
However, the cost of living and student loans make it difficult for most people to quit their day jobs to return to school. HESPIE offers eight evening-only pre-requisite courses to any post-grads wishing to apply to graduate programs in the hearing and speech sciences. “Speech-language pathology and audiology are fascinating fields with many well-paying jobs and there is a great need in the community for more high-quality clinicians,” Newman said. “By allowing people to take these initial courses in an evening program, it makes it easier for them to decide if this is the right move before giving up their current employment.”
Additionally, people with a personal interest in the field of hearing and speech science—such as teachers or family members of someone affected by hearing loss—can enroll in courses through HESPIE as non-degree seeking students. HESPIE is the only program of its kind in the greater Washington, D.C. area. “Many current clinicians have commented that they wish such a program had been available when they returned to school to take prerequisite courses,” Newman said. “We are looking forward to preparing members of our community to successfully pursue graduate education in speech-language pathology and audiology and to help them become excellent clinicians who will affect people’s lives for the better.” HESPIE is offered through the Office of Extended Studies; more information can be found at go.umd.edu/HESPIE.