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Become A Language Pathologist

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Working As A Language Pathologist

  • Developing Objectives and Strategies
  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • $77,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Language Pathologist Do

Speech-language pathologists (sometimes called speech therapists) assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent communication and swallowing disorders in patients. Speech, language, and swallowing disorders result from a variety of causes, such as a stroke, brain injury, hearing loss, developmental delay, Parkinson’s disease, a cleft palate, or autism.

Duties

Speech-language pathologists typically do the following:

  • Evaluate patients’ levels of speech, language, or swallowing difficulty
  • Identify treatment options
  • Create and carry out an individualized treatment plan that addresses patients’ specific functional needs
  • Teach patients how to make sounds and improve their voices
  • Work with patients to develop and strengthen the muscles used to swallow
  • Counsel patients and families on how to cope with communication and swallowing disorders

Speech-language pathologists work with patients who have problems with speech and language, including related cognitive or social communication problems. Their patients may be unable to speak at all, or they may speak with difficulty or have rhythm and fluency problems, such as stuttering. Speech-language pathologists may work with people who are unable to understand language or with those who have voice disorders, such as inappropriate pitch or a harsh voice.

Speech-language pathologists also must complete administrative tasks, including keeping accurate records. They record their initial patient evaluations and diagnoses, track treatment progress, and note any changes in a patient’s condition or treatment plan.

Some speech-language pathologists specialize in working with specific age groups, such as children or the elderly. Others focus on treatment programs for specific communication or swallowing problems, such as those resulting from strokes or a cleft palate.

In medical facilities, speech-language pathologists work with physicians and surgeons, social workers, psychologists, and other healthcare workers. In schools, they work with teachers, other school personnel, and parents to develop and carry out individual or group programs, provide counseling, and support classroom activities. For more information on teachers, see the profiles on preschool teachers, kindergarten and elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, high school teachers, and special education teachers.

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How To Become A Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists typically need at least a master’s degree. They must be licensed in most states; requirements vary by state.

Education

Speech-language pathologists typically need at least a master’s degree. Although master’s programs do not require a particular undergraduate degree for admission, certain courses must be taken before entering a program. Required courses vary by institution.

Graduate programs often include courses in speech and language development, age-specific speech disorders, alternative communication methods, and swallowing disorders. These programs also include supervised clinical experience.

The Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA), part of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, accredits education programs in speech-language pathology. Graduation from an accredited program is required for certification and, often, for state licensure.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Almost all states require speech-language pathologists to be licensed. A license requires at least a master’s degree and supervised clinical experience. Many states require graduation from an accredited master’s program to get a license. For specific requirements, contact your state’s medical or health licensure board.

Speech-language pathologists can earn the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Certification satisfies some or all of the requirements for state licensure and may be required by some employers.

Speech-language pathologists who work in schools may need a specific teaching certification. For specific requirements, contact your state’s department of education or the private institution in which you are interested.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Speech-language pathologists must select the most appropriate diagnostic tools and analyze the results to arrive at an accurate diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Communication skills. Speech-language pathologists need to communicate test results, diagnoses, and proposed treatments in a way that patients and their families can understand.

Compassion. Speech-language pathologists work with people who are often frustrated by their difficulties. Speech-language pathologists must be able to support emotionally demanding patients and their families.

Critical-thinking skills. Speech-language pathologists must be able to adjust their treatment plans as needed, finding alternative ways to help their patients.

Detail oriented. Speech-language pathologists must take detailed notes on patient progress and treatment.

Listening skills. Speech-language pathologists must listen to a patient’s symptoms and concerns to decide on the appropriate course of treatment.

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Average Length of Employment
Speech Pathologist 7.1 years
Speech Therapist 4.4 years
Graduate Clinician 1.2 years
Student Clinician 1.0 years
Top Careers Before Language Pathologist
Internship 6.5%
Instructor 2.4%
Volunteer 2.2%
Teacher 1.8%
Top Careers After Language Pathologist
PRN 4.9%
Director 2.3%
Supervisor 1.6%
Instructor 1.6%
Owner 1.4%
Teacher 1.3%
Manager 1.3%

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Top Skills for A Language Pathologist

  1. Speech-Language Pathology
  2. Occupational Therapy Services
  3. Dysphagia
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supervised graduate-level speech-language pathology students completing mastery clinical coursework.
  • Conducted diet texture analysis and determined/implemented strategies for safe oral intake in conjunction with dysphagia therapy.
  • Provided assessments of various receptive/expressive language disorders and articulation/speech disorders within a population of clients with a primary diagnosis of ASD.
  • Collaborated with general education and special education staff to best target IEP goals and support the academic progress of students.
  • Experience treating articulation, stuttering, expressive/receptive language disorders, and autism.

Language Pathologist Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,541 Language Pathologist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Language Pathologist Resume

View Resume Examples

Language Pathologist Demographics

Gender

Female

79.9%

Male

10.3%

Unknown

9.8%
Ethnicity

White

64.3%

Hispanic or Latino

12.9%

Black or African American

11.9%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

43.4%

French

7.5%

Italian

5.7%

Hindi

3.8%

Russian

3.8%

Hebrew

3.8%

Portuguese

3.8%

Urdu

3.8%

Arabic

3.8%

Turkish

1.9%

Cherokee

1.9%

Hungarian

1.9%

Bosnian

1.9%

Thai

1.9%

Croatian

1.9%

Kurdish

1.9%

Filipino

1.9%

Dakota

1.9%

Greek

1.9%

Tagalog

1.9%
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Language Pathologist Education

Schools

Nova Southeastern University

9.8%

Clarion University of Pennsylvania

7.6%

University of Texas at Dallas

6.8%

University of Central Florida

6.4%

University of South Florida

6.1%

College of Saint Rose

6.1%

Ball State University

6.1%

University of Pittsburgh -

5.3%

Wayne State University

4.9%

Michigan State University

4.9%

Adelphi University

3.8%

Marquette University

3.8%

Saint Louis University-

3.8%

Loyola University Maryland

3.8%

Hampton University

3.8%

Florida Atlantic University

3.4%

New York University

3.4%

Western Michigan University

3.4%

Northern Arizona University

3.4%

Northeastern University

3.4%
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Majors

Speech-Language Pathology

38.0%

Communication Disorders Sciences

34.8%

Physiology And Anatomy

9.3%

Special Education

4.4%

Education

3.5%

Educational Leadership

1.5%

Speech Communication And Rhetoric

1.2%

Public Relations

1.2%

Business

1.0%

Clinical Psychology

0.8%

Psychology

0.7%

Communication

0.7%

Rehabilitation Science

0.5%

Interdisciplinary Studies

0.4%

Curriculum And Instruction

0.4%

Philosophy

0.3%

Occupational Therapy

0.3%

Health Care Administration

0.3%

Elementary Education

0.3%

Counseling Psychology

0.3%
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Degrees

Masters

83.3%

Bachelors

5.5%

Other

5.4%

Doctorate

3.0%

Certificate

2.4%

Associate

0.3%

License

0.1%

Diploma

0.1%
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Top Language Pathologist Employers

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Jobs From Top Language Pathologist Employers

Language Pathologist Videos

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Being A Speech Language Pathology Major

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