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Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists or speech therapists are the healthcare professionals who would involve in diagnosing and treating disorders related to speech and swallowing. I chose this healthcare career for discussion today as I noticed this career in the ‘List of Healthcare Careers with the Best Job Security’ and this has been ranked eighth as the best-secured profession in the U.S. Now, let’s see more details about this healthcare career here…

Who is a Speech-Language Pathologist?

As mentioned above, as a speech-language pathologist, you will be assessing, diagnosing, treating, and helping in the prevention of communication and swallowing disorders. In general, these disorders will result from various causes like:

  • Stroke

  • Brain injury

  • Hearing loss

  • Developmental delay

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Cleft palate

  • Autism


Thus, being a speech-language pathologist, you will be required to perform the following duties:

  • Evaluating the patients’ levels of speech and swallowing difficulty

  • Identify the appropriate treatment options

  • Creating and carrying out a customized treatment plan for addressing the patients’ needs

  • Educating patients how to make various sounds

  • Enhancing the patients’ voices

  • Working with patients for developing and strengthening the muscles that are involved in the swallowing process

  • Counseling patients and their families on coping with speech and swallowing disorders.


Who can become a Speech-Language Pathologist?

You can become a speech-language pathologist if you are looking for the following things in your career:

  • Variety of work settings like:

    • Early intervention programs

    • Public and private schools

    • Private clinics

    • Hospital inpatient and outpatient

    • Rehabilitation centers

    • Nursing facilities

    • Home health agencies

    • Non-profit agencies



  • Opportunity to work with diverse clients

  • Need for continuous learning

  • Ability to be self-employed

  • Ability to use creativity

  • Ability to specialize or not to specialize

  • Educating, as well as empowering your patients and their families


How to become a Speech-Language Pathologist?

Educational Requirements:

A minimum of master’s degree in speech pathology is required to become a speech-language pathologist. In order to enroll into this master’s degree program, you must hold a bachelor’s degree most preferably in communications, speech or hearing sciences.

The coursework of master’s in speech pathology would include:

  • Voice articulation

  • Phonology

  • Literacy

  • Neurological substrates

  • Supervised clinical practicums

  • Elective courses


Licensing and Certification:

Most of the states in the U.S. require the speech-language pathologists to be licensed. To earn a license, you are advised to enroll in a master’s program that is accredited by the ‘Council on Academic Accreditation’ which works under the ‘American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’.

The certification can be earned from the same association and it is called as ‘Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology’.

Job Outlook and Opportunities:

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment opportunities for the speech-language pathologists are estimated to increase by 21% from the year 2014 to 2024.

Pay:

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for the speech-language pathologists is found to be $73,410 (as of May 2015) per year which is equal to $35.29 per hour.

Summary:

Average Annual Pay:  $73,410

Average Hourly Pay: $35.29

Education:  Master’s degree

Employment Growth from 2014 to 2024: 21%

On-the-job training: None

Work Experience: None