USF Sarasota-Manatee to expand communication sciences program

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: May 05, 2016

SARASOTA, Fla. (May 5, 2016) – Dr. Susan Fulton, assistant professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders (CSD) at USF Sarasota-Manatee, said there’s a shortage of speech pathologists and audiologists, which is why she wants to expand the campus’ CSD program.

“There’s a huge need out there,” she said. “It’s a great profession where you help others and it gives you get a wonderful feeling of satisfaction.”

Starting this summer, USF Sarasota-Manatee will ease some requirements to admit CSD students.

The program previously enrolled students with bachelor degrees only, but starting this summer it will register freshman and sophomore students without the degrees. Students with bachelor degrees will still be permitted to enroll in CSD. The semester starts May 16.

Dr. Fulton says the program is trying to meet burgeoning job demands and reach out to students who may consider entering the rewarding field. Increasingly, CSD careers offer a variety of opportunities. Audiologists and speech pathologists often work in hospitals, clinics, schools, assisted-living facilities, nursing homes, rehabilitative facilities and private practice.

The American Speech Language Hearing Association predicts job growth for audiology to increase by 37 percent between 2010 and 2020, much faster than average for other occupations, while demand for speech pathology will grow a robust 23 percent.

“There are a lot of options available,” Dr. Fulton said.

Speech pathologists assist children suffering articulation or language disabilities or they may work with adults and the elderly experiencing swallowing disorders or suffering from stroke, multiple sclerosis, aphasia or some other form of head trauma.

Audiologists deal primarily with issues involving hearing and balance. They diagnose and provide treatment options for people of all ages suffering hearing, balance and other auditory disorders.

Currently, 85 students are enrolled in USF Sarasota-Manatee’s CSD program. Graduates typically continue their studies, earning a graduate degree, including at USF in Tampa. However, many enter the field as speech pathology assistants or audiology assistants.

To learn more about the profession, visit

There’s still time to enroll at USF Sarasota-Manatee as a CSD student. Prospective students can register by Friday, May 13, without incurring a late fee. Classes begin May 16. However, students may enroll as late as May 20.

For more information about USF Sarasota-Manatee’s CSD program, visit

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