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:
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
Hospital inpatient and outpatient
Home health 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?
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:
Supervised clinical practicums
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.
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.