Speech Language Pathology Career Path


Speech Pathology Tools To Help Your Career

Your Career Is Calling: Be a Speech-Language Pathologist (Joshuaa’s Story)
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About 46 million people in the U.S. have hearing or other communication disorders, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. These disorders can have a profound effect on individuals lives and how they interact with the world. Professionals with expertise in speech-language pathology help individuals improve their communication to the fullest extent possible.

Fortunately, todays speech-language pathologists have a wealth of speech pathology tools to assist them in furthering their expertise and working with clients. From simulation tools to communication devices to mobile apps, these tools have expanded speech-language pathologists ability to help clients make lasting improvements in their communication skills. Anyone who may be considering enrolling in an online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program can benefit from becoming familiar with these tools and how they can enhance speech-language pathology.

Earning Board Certified Specialists

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is the national organization that certifies speech pathologists. Many employers require ASHAâs Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology and some states use this certification to award licensure, but the ASHA also offers optional board-certified specialists certifications.

These certifications are intended for anyone who wants to work with a specific population or with a specific disorder. Specializing in an area of speech pathology can affect your income as you may earn more with additional credentials. You may also be able to work in higher-paying industries with a specialization.

A few BCS options to consider:

  • Child Language and Language Disorders

  • Fluency and Fluency Disorders

  • Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders

Outside of the ASHA, you can earn specialized certifications through organizations that advocate for and provide research for certain conditions or through colleges and universities that offer courses and certifications. For example, the Lee Silverman Treatment Certification certification for speech language pathologists prepares you to work with patients with Parkinsonâs or other neurological disorders. On Coursera, you can also find courses to earn certificates like âVoice Disorders: What Patients and Professionals Need to Know

How To Become A Speech

Knowing how to communicate is critical to living a fulfilling life. Unfortunately, some individuals have difficulty speaking and processing language. Those who struggle with language obstacles may find it hard to reach their full potential and live the life they want. Thankfully, speech-language pathologists are there to help. These professionals work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults. If you have a passion for working one-on-one with individuals to give them the tools to improve their quality of life, then speech-language pathology can be a rewarding career.

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Salary And Job Outlook For Slpas

The national average salary for a speech-language pathology assistant is $63,899 per year. However, this salary may vary depending on an SLPA’s specific type of facility and general location. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of speech-language pathology, in general, is expected to grow much faster than average, with projected job growth of 29% from 2020 to 2030.

For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link provided.

Related: Speech Pathologist Salary

Frequently Asked Questions About The Role And Responsibilities Of Speech Language Pathologists


Speech language pathologists are specialized clinicians who diagnose and treat problems with speech and language. On a typical day for a speech language pathologist, they may recommend exercises for patients to improve their speech patterns or determine whether the speech issue has a physical or mental underlying cause.

Speech language pathology is a good career for individuals who want to dedicate their lives to assisting others. Starting salaries are above average, and the career outlook is positive. Bilingual speech pathologists are in high demand because some languages have sounds that don’t exist in English.

The national average salary for speech pathologists is approximately $94,677 per year. Clinical expertise makes a huge difference, and experts could see their salaries enter the six-figure range. If you earn a doctorate in addition to the required bachelor’s and master’s degrees, you could see your salary increase.

There are some difficult aspects to being a speech language pathologist. If patients become impatient or feel self-conscious with slow progress or, they may take their feelings of inadequacy and embarrassment out on you. When you are working as a speech language pathologist, it’s your job to maintain a sense of calm and objectivity while being compassionate to the patient.

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What Is A Speech

Speech-language pathologists are health care professionals who identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems as well as swallowing disorders. They provide services to clients with disorders in the following areas:

  • Speech disorders, including articulation problems, fluency disorders, and voice problems
  • Language disorders, including receptive/expressive language, spoken and written language, and social/pragmatic language
  • Swallowing disorders, including pediatric and adult feeding disorders
  • Cognitive disorders, including dementia

Speech-language pathologists work with people all throughout the lifespan. Most people already know that speech-language pathologists help children pronounce sounds correctly. But speech-language pathologists do a lot more than that! Speech-language pathologists may also do any of the following jobs:

  • Work with toddlers and preschoolers to develop early language skills
  • Teach children and adults with autism to use speech devices to communicate their wants and needs
  • Help veterans with head injuries recover language comprehension and production skills

Learn more about speech-language pathologistsfull scope of practice or take a closer look at speech-language pathology careers.

Speech Pathology Career Guide

If youre considering a career in speech pathology, there are many factors to consider. For those exploring speech pathology careers, this guide serves as a helpful tool to help you understand the roles, responsibilities, educational requirements, and job opportunities the field presents. A career in speech and language therapy can encompass several specializations and work settings, which this guide will discuss in more detail below. This guide will also cover career outlook, salary, and career path alternatives.

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Social Communication Disorder Jobs

SLPs in these roles work with people who struggle with the social aspects of verbal and non-verbal communication. Their goal is to help patients understand the social elements of communication such as adjusting speech to suit the listener and setting, understanding conventions for conversation and storytelling, and understanding appropriate speech behavior in different social settings. They often work with people across the autism spectrum disorder as well as with people who have experienced trauma such as a brain injury.

Take The Certification Exam

Speech Pathology Career Profile

Once you have completed your education and required training, you can take ASHA’s Assistants Certification Exam. This is a national exam that has been approved by the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology . To take this exam, you must submit an application, the required documents and a fee. There are resources online that you can use to study for the exam. If you dont pass on your first try, you can retake it two more times within the year.

The exam assesses your knowledge and skills within the field of speech-language pathology and your understanding of an SLPA’s job duties and scope of practice. This test consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, and once you pass, youre a certified speech-language pathology assistant and can and start applying for positions.


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Earn A Masters In Speech Pathology

The next steps to becoming a Speech Pathologist include earning your masters in speech pathology.

You should choose a masters degree that is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology . There are currently 272 CAA accredited programs in the U.S.

These CAA programs meet all compliance standards and will train you how to become a Speech Pathologist, preparing you with the necessary skills and educational requirements to succeed.

During your masters program, you will be introduced to concepts such as:

  • Voice articulation,
  • Neurological substrates.

Additionally, you may have the opportunity to specialize your education in an area such as neurogenic disorders or early intervention.

Supervised clinical practicumstotaling 400 hourswill also be a part of your SLP continuing education. These practicums will teach you how to diagnose and treat patients who come from a variety of different socioeconomic and linguistic backgrounds.

During your supervised clinical experience, you will spend at least 25 hours in clinical observation and 375 hours in direct client/patient contact. This is the minimum required to graduate.

To improve your speech pathology job outlook post-graduation, some masters students may also decide to become bilingual. Being fluent in more than one language can open up additional job opportunities and assist you in developing extensive speech language skills.

Work With Unique Patients

A speech pathologist can work with clients from many areas of life, including those learning English for the first time, those facing new disorders and those who seek treatment for lifelong conditions. This makes it easy for pathologists to meet new people and interact with those with diverse and interesting backgrounds. If you enjoy learning more about new people and building your network, becoming a speech pathologists can be a great career.

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The National Shortage Of Speech Pathologists

Increasing awareness of communication disorders, such as stuttering and autism, continue to raise the demand for SLPs who focus on young patients. Some states are projecting shortages of school-based speech-language pathologists for the 20222023 school year, particularly in Connecticut, Nevada, North Dakota, and West Virginia.13 To take advantage of such shortages, consider being open to relocating for a great job opportunity.

What Is A Typical Salary For A Speech Therapist

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary for speech therapists is $80,480 annually, or $38.69 per hour, as of May 2020.8 At that time, the top 10% took home more than $122,000 per year. Potential income for an SLP is often dependent on geographic location, experience, and whether they are working in a specialty field.

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Speech Pathology Assistant Jobs

If youre interested in speech pathology but dont want to obtain a masters degree, becoming a speech pathology assistant may be a good option for you. While speech-language pathologists are not allowed to practice independently, they are able to provide support to certified speech pathologiststaking on duties like administrative work. Speech pathology assistant careers include two main levelsaides and assistants. The difference between these levels is based on training and responsibilities, with aides generally requiring less training. The terminology used to describe support personnel in the speech pathology field varies by state.

Employment And Job Outlook For Speech

Speech-language pathologists hold about 111,640 jobs and close to 48 percent of those jobs were in the educational services industry. Other places of employment for speech-language pathologists include nursing care facilities, home healthcare services, outpatient care centers, child day care centers or individual and family services.

Self-employed speech-language pathologists contract to provide services in offices of physicians, hospitals, schools, nursing care facilities or work at consultants to industry.

Speech-language pathologists should expect a 19 percent employment growth, which is faster than average for all occupations. Aging baby boomers are at a high risk of developing neurological disorders associated with speech, swallowing and language. Technological advances in medicine have also increased the survival rate of trauma and stroke victims, as well as premature infants, who then need assessments and possibly treatment.

As elementary and secondary school enrollments grows, including enrollment of special education students, employment for speech-pathologists in educational services will increase.

Job openings will become available in speech-language pathology due to retirements as well as job growth. Good opportunities should be enjoyed for all, especially for those who speak a second language, such as Spanish. Speech-language pathologists jobs vary by region, so those who are willing to relocate will have better job prospects.

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Explore A Career In Speech Pathology

What is Speech-Language Pathology?

Speech-language pathology is the study of developmental and acquired communication and swallowing disorders. It includes the assessment and management of such disorders.

The Profession

Speech-language pathologists work with people of all ages whose disorders may include delayed speech and language development, neurologically-based speech and language impairment, stuttering, voice and/or swallowing disorders. Speech-language pathologists often work as part of a team, working alongside teachers, physicians, audiologists, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation counselors and others.

As a profession, the field of speech-language pathology:

  • Provides an essential human service
  • Is in high demand
  • Provides opportunities to work in publicly-funded health or education programs, or in private practice
  • Allows workplace and work-week flexibility
  • Invites creative and practical application of linguistic, psychological and other scientific theories

Earnings And Salary For Speech

A Career In Speech Pathology

The median annual wage of speech-language pathologists is $65,090, and the middle 50 percent earn between $52,030 and $82,380. The highest 10 percent earn more than $101,820, while the lowest 10 percent earn less than $42,310. In some cases, a speech-language pathologistâs employer will reimburse them for required continuing education credits. Close to 40 percent of speech-language pathologists are covered by union contract or union members. The median annual wages in top employing industries for speech-language pathologists are:

Nursing care facilities: $79,120

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Speech Language Pathologist Salary: Career Outlook And Earning Potential

Speech pathology is a career focused on helping others. Find out more about this rewarding career and how much speech pathologists can earn.

A speech language pathologist diagnoses and treats children and adults who struggle with speech impediments, processing language, pronouncing words or sounds, or swallowing and eating. These issues may result from a development delay, injury, illness, or aging. Speech language pathology is an in-demand field, offering many opportunities for growth and flexibility within the profession.

Speech language pathologists can work in various settings, remotely from home or in an office, as a freelancer, or as a full-time employee. The salary of a speech language pathologist will vary based on work location, schedule, certifications, and more. With so much flexibility and choice, speech language pathology ranks as one of the top 3 careers in health care by US News and among the fastest-growing professions by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics .

Why Become An Slp

Speech-language pathology offers practitioners the opportunity to change lives by helping people overcome communication and swallowing challenges.

As a speech-language pathologist , you can treat clients across the life span in diverse ways, such as the following:

  • Helping a child with a speech sound disorder be understood by his classmates
  • Assisting a transgender woman to achieve her authentic voice
  • Working with a senior citizen to safely enjoy her favorite foods again

Take a closer look at this rewarding field, which also offers flexibility, a promising job outlook, and high job satisfaction1 as reported by practicing SLPs.

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Complete Training Courses And Fieldwork

Before you can become an SLPA, you must complete short courses on ethics, safety precautions and patient confidentiality. You also need a minimum of 100 hours of clinical fieldwork. 80 of the hours should involve working directly with patients, clients and students, and the other 20 can be indirect.

This total doesnt include observation hours, so you must get experience working with patients under the supervision of a certified speech-language pathologist. You can complete the courses online through ASHA’s website, and you may be able to complete your clinical fieldwork during college.

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The Best Way To Earn Asha Ceus Sac Ceus And Find Jobs

SLPs: What led you down your career path? I love speech language ...

SpeechPathology.com is one of the leading resources for speech-language pathology professionals seeking to increase their knowledge and career potential. This site was built to offer SLP professionals an outstanding selection of online speech-language pathology CEU courses and lifelong learning opportunities.

SpeechPathology.com was developed by professionals in the speech-language pathology community. Our managing editor Amy J. Hansen, M.A., CCC-SLP, has over 14 years of experience practicing speech-language pathology and industry-specific research at Case Western University. We take great pride in providing an educational and career growth platform run by speech-language pathology industry experts.

Our mission is to provide high-quality speech-language pathology continuing education courses developed and presented by thought leaders within the SLP community. We offer affordable annual memberships and unlimited online access to hundreds of speech-language pathology CEU courses.

As an industry leader in online continuing education, SpeechPathology.com offers members more than 350 online speech-language pathology CEU courses. The SpeechPathology.com curriculum is determined by a distinguished master level team of licensed speech-language pathologists, including many of the top industry experts.

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National Asha Certification & State Licensing

Perhaps the most important step in this journey is securing your official credentials as a speech-language pathologist. ASHA, which oversees the certification process, lists four requirements that you must meet to obtain your Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology :

  • An official transcript from your graduate school verifying your graduation date and degree
  • Your official Praxis score
  • A Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Fellowship report documenting your completion of 1,260 hours of mentored clinical experience and 36 weeks of full-time experience
  • Documentation of your 400 hours of supervised clinical experience, composed of 375 hours of direct patient/client contact and 25 hours of clinical observation
  • Each state has its own guidelines for licensure. Certain states require fewer hours of clinical experience than others. Some state-specific requirements may depend on the setting you plan to work in, such as education, telemedicine, or early intervention. Check the ASHA State-by-State resource page for more information.

    Forging A Future In Speech

    With the requisite expertise and sound knowledge of the tools of speech pathology, professionals who work in speech-language pathology can help clients make crucial improvements in their communication and significantly improve the quality of their lives.

    If you have an interest in working in speech-language pathology, explore Maryville Universitys online Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology to learn how the program can help you pursue your goals. Incorporating tools such as Simucase and MBSImP, it equips individuals with the knowledge to pursue rewarding careers. Take the first step toward your career in speech-language pathology today.

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