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:
- Brain injury
- Hearing loss
- Developmental delay
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cleft palate
Thus, being a speech-language pathologist, you will be required to perform the following duties:
Who can become a Speech-Language Pathologist?
- 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.
You can become a speech-language pathologist if you are looking for the following things in your career:
How to become a Speech-Language Pathologist?
- 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
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:
Licensing and Certification:
- Voice articulation
- Neurological substrates
- Supervised clinical practicums
- Elective courses
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.
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.
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