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Speech Language Pathologist

Speech Language Pathologist

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The Creator
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The People Person
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The Problem Solver

Spotlights

Similar Titles

Speech Pathologists, Speech Therapists

Job Description

Speech language pathologists diagnose and treat speech, language and swallowing disorders in patients. 

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Helping others and make a difference in people’s lives!
  • High in demand 
  • Flexibility in the field: you can work part-time or full-time, work with different types of people (adults, children), different places (nursing homes, hospitals, independent), and different specialties (augmented communication (computers), head/neck cancer (more medical)). 
  • Regular schedule: 9 to 5, some weekends, but don’t have to be on-call or work nights like other healthcare careers. 
The Inside Scoop
Day in the Life

Diagnose

  • Communicate with patients to evaluate their levels of speech or language difficulty.
  • Determine the extent of communication problems by having a patient complete basic reading and vocalizing tasks or by giving standardized tests.
  • Identify treatment options.
  • Create and carry out an individualized treatment plan.
  • Evaluation of their swallowing disorder.

Treat

  • Teach patients how to increase their speech clarity and be better understood.
  • Teach alternative communication methods, such as using communication boards, to patients with little or no speech capability.
  • Work with patients to increase their reading comprehension.
  • Work with patients to increase their ability to swallow safely.
  • Work with patients to improve their cognitive skills such as memory and problem-solving.
  • Counsel patients and families on how to cope with communication disorders.
Employment Types
  • Elementary, middle and high schools, colleges, and universities (public and private)
  • Hospitals (public and private)
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Nursing care facilities
  • Home health care services
  • Private practice: open your own office.
Current Industry Trends

Growing industry, faster than the average. As the baby-boom population grows older, there will be more instances of speech language impairments. In addition, there is an increased awareness of speech and language disorders such as stuttering that will increase need for this profession.

What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were young...
  • Liked helping other kids in your class. Had the patience to teach other people how to do certain things.
  • Interested in working in medical career but didn’t like seeing or touching blood.
  • Wanted to work with somebody one on one, personal.
Expectations/Sacrifices Necessary
  • Need flexibility with schedule management, according to patient’s schedule.
  • Need patience: sometimes work with difficult patients.
  • Not much room for advancement: no promotions.
  • Can be productivity requirements at facilities (hospital, nursing homes) where they make sure you bill a certain number of hours per day.
  • Have to work with saliva and work in patient’s mouths.
  • Can be a lot of documentation (paperwork).
2016 Employment
145,100
2026 Projected Employment
171,000
Education and Training Needed
  • Bachelor’s Degree required: Communication Sciences and Disorders, Linguistics, Psychology, Math, or General Science.
  • Masters in Speech-Language Pathology required.
  • Clinical doctorate in Speech Language Pathology (SLP-D) required if you are looking to work in research or as a college professor.
  • Supervised Clinical Experience (400 hours)
  • Completion of Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) which lasts 9 months.
  • Have completed 24 hours of continuing education every 2 years for length of career.
Certifications
  • Passing score on the National Speech Language Pathology board exam (PRAXIS).
  • Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) by the American Speech Language Hearing Association.
  • If you want to work in a school setting, some need state teaching certificate will be needed in most of the states.
  • Get state license.
Things to look for in a program
Things to do in High School and College
  • Speech pathology programs are highly competitive so you want to choose a school where you can get a B+ to A average.
  • Volunteer in hospital to get idea of how it feels to work in the healthcare industry.
  • Talk to the speech pathologists at your school.
  • Volunteer in organizations with kids with special needs.
  • Volunteer at a nursing home.
Education Stats
  • 0.4% with HS Diploma
  • 0.6% with Associate’s
  • 8.6% with Bachelor’s
  • 87.2% with Master’s
  • 2.7% with Doctoral
How to Land your 1st job
  • Get hands-on experience: Some states allow you to be a speech pathology assistant where you work under the supervision of a licensed speech pathologist. They only require a bachelor’s degree. This way you can see if you want to spend the time, money and energy in getting your Master’s to become a licensed speech pathologist.
  • Many have graduate programs have job placement help.
  • Make connections during the hands-on training (practicum job) of your training and many times, you will get job leads during this process.
  • Respond to job postings: Indeed.com, Monster.com
  • Cold call different organizations that you want to work for.
How to stay competitive and stay in the game
  • Read publications on a regular basis to keep up with what is going on in the industry.
  • Going to continuing education courses, conferences.
Words of Advice

“I would definitely try volunteering or observing a speech pathologist at some point before embarking on the education path.” Jen Wiley, speech language pathologist

Infographic

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Speech Language Pathologist Gladeographix

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Source: Interview, Bureau of Labor Statistics

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