Enhance Your Career Growth Opportunities with More Effective Communication Skills in Professional and Social Situations

The Accent Modification Program is a customized instructional program for people who speak English as a second language at an average to advanced level of proficiency. It is designed to help speakers from diverse language backgrounds develop the effective verbal communication skills that are needed in nearly every profession.

Success in business, academics and so many other aspects of life requires clear pronunciation and effective communication. But for some non-native speakers, a strong accent can interfere with the ability to be understood. That’s where our online Accent Modification Program can help.

Clients work closely with a licensed speech/language pathologist who has earned a master’s degree and is specially trained in accent modification. Class sizes are small, and each one starts with a taped evaluation that helps the instructor set individualized goals tailored to each client’s specific communication needs. Clients then work on those goals both in and outside of class using a web-based accent modification program.

Accent Modification vs. Accent Reduction

Accent modification is also known by several other terms. These include:

  • Accent reduction
  • Accent softening
  • Accent neutralization
  • Accent elimination

Though it is typically not possible (or even desirable) to fully eliminate one’s accent, accent modification or accent reduction courses are proven to significantly reduce strong accents. This helps non-native speakers eliminate situations where their accent stands in the way of communicating clearly with others.

Individual Training:  

Individual sessions will be available mid-November 2022. Please contact us at englishacademy@sandiego.edu or fill out the form below:


Who Should Attend?

Most of our clients are non-native English speakers from countries around the globe. But anyone who has a strong accent and a desire to gain greater control over their spoken English can benefit from our program.

This includes professionals across nearly all industries, including attorneys, scientists, medical personnel, business executives and managers, customer service representatives, university students, teachers, professors and more.

Candidates for accent modification include anybody whose personal and/or professional life would benefit from clearer, more effective English communication skills.

In addition to individual clients, our skilled accent reduction trainers have worked with employees and small groups from well-known organizations such as: Sony Electronics, Fitbit, General Dynamics, AT&T, Illumina, Becton Dickinson, Sempra Energy, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the University of San Diego’s Hahn School of Nursing and its international MBA program, the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Marine Corps.

Key Features and Outcomes of the Accent Modification Program

As mentioned above, all accent reduction training is conducted by a licensed, master’s-educated speech/language pathologist.

  • Individual/private instruction is offered upon request (flexible scheduling is available for individual instruction)
  • Learning is customized based on the needs of the individual participant
  • Small group instruction is offered and limited to 5 participants
  • Instruction can be held on location for groups from the same company

Clients participating in the program can expect to:

  • Improve pronunciation and overall communication skills
  • Speak with improved pacing, intonation, stress and pitch
  • Identify differences in their own speech patterns as compared to Standard American English
  • Show a 40-50% improvement as measured by a pre and post assessment.

Benefits of Accent Modification

High-quality accent modification programs are proven to have the following benefits for many participants:

  • Learn to speak with greater confidence • Improve your ability to be understood by listeners in all settings
  • Develop greatly improved pronunciation skills
  • Become calmer and more engaging when speaking
  • Develop better networking and negotiation skills
  • Make fewer “mistakes” when speaking, which increases communication effectiveness
  • Avoid “accent stereotyping,” which can lead to faulty assumptions about capabilities


“The training was a good investment in my personal and professional development. I have become more confident when I communicate and have a better understanding of English. Helpful areas that were addressed included the detailed explanations, the in-class materials, the practice face to face, the continuous feedback, and the patience of my trainer, Terri.”– Dulce, Mexico

“I am now able to recognize my mistakes and fix them.”– Binh, Vietnam

“The class changed my perception of my environment. I pay much more attention to the sounds produced by native speakers. I also developed a much better awareness of the sounds I produce. I found myself listening to the radio and repeating out loud words that I hear. Our teacher was wonderful. Terri is very knowledgeable and very attentive to each student’s need. She uses different techniques to showcase correct production. She was excellent.” – Veronique, Canada (French Canadian)

“When I’m on the phone with my customers, they don’t ask me anymore, ‘What did you say?’” – Customer Service Representative, Plantronics

Experienced Instructors

The trainer for our Accent Modification course is a California licensed and nationally certified speech/language pathologist. Terri Anderson is certified by the Institute of Language and Phonology to conduct training with the Compton P-ESL program and trained to use the nationally recognized Speech Training in English Pronunciation (STEP) program. She is also certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Terri has been working with clients for over 30 years, including 16 years with the University of San Diego’s English Language Academy, teaching ESL classes in addition to the Accent Modification course. She earned her Master of Education degree from the University of Florida.

Prospective Student Information

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, instruction will be delivered in an online format through the University of San Diego’s English Language Academy. Currently, only one-to-one remote training is offered; small group classes are scheduled to resume in the Spring semester and will be offered on campus. One-to-one training is also scheduled to resume on campus in the Spring semester.

Application process:

For information on how to apply for the Accent Modification Program, please contact Terri Anderson at tanderson@sandiego.edu or (619) 260-4234, or fill out the form below. This program is offered through USD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Education.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is involved in accent modification training?

A: The goal of our training is to give the individual tools to help them speak more effectively and confidently. A comprehensive analysis of the individual’s speech patterns is conducted, and then a customized training program is designed.

Q: What materials are used for training?

A: An online program is used, which can be customized to each client’s communication goals. The program enables the client to submit recorded material to the trainer for feedback between the weekly meetings.

Q: Is there homework?

A: Yes. The more a client practices in between sessions, the more progress will be made.

Q: How much does the program cost?

A: For information on the cost of accent modification training, please contact the program instructor, Terri Anderson, at tanderson@sandiego.edu.

Why the University of San Diego?

Our English Language Academy is a member of the American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP) and Association of International Educators (NAFSA). USD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Education is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – Senior College and University Commission (WASC).

Additionally, University of San Diego is ranked among the Top 100 U.S. colleges and universities by U.S. News and World Report.


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