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Become A Speech And Language Specialist

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Working As A Speech And Language Specialist

  • 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 Speech And Language Specialist 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 Speech And Language Specialist

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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Speech And Language Specialist Career Paths

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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Speech Pathologist 7.1 years
Speech Therapist 4.4 years
Top Careers Before Speech And Language Specialist
Volunteer 4.0%
Teacher 3.0%
Supervisor 2.5%
Therapist 2.5%
Internship 2.0%
Top Careers After Speech And Language Specialist
Volunteer 2.3%
Internship 2.3%
Consultant 1.6%

Do you work as a Speech And Language Specialist?

Average Yearly Salary
$77,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$39,000
Min 10%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$154,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Wayne Public Schools
Highest Paying City
Marfa, TX
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
4.4 years
How much does a Speech And Language Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Speech And Language Specialist in the United States is $77,795 per year or $37 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $39,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $154,000.

Real Speech And Language Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Speech Language Specialist Empire Union School District Modesto, CA Jun 22, 2013 $69,483
Speech/Language Specialist Menifee Union School District Menifee, CA Dec 09, 2009 $66,245
Speech/Language Specialist Menifee Union Elementary School District Menifee, CA Jan 01, 2010 $66,245
Speech Language Specialist Empire Union School District Empire, CA Jun 22, 2013 $64,006
Speech Language Specialist Empire Union School District Modesto, CA Jun 23, 2010 $62,751
Speech and Language Specialist Soledad Unifed School District Soledad, CA Aug 13, 2010 $60,252
Bilingual Speech-Language Specialist Alliedmedix Resources, Inc. Islandia, NY Nov 20, 2013 $58,666
Speech Language Specialist Empire Union School District Modesto, CA Jun 23, 2010 $57,383
Speech Language Specialist Bilinguals Inc. Paterson, NJ Jan 28, 2010 $55,110
Speech Language Specialist Bilinguals Inc. Elizabeth, NJ Nov 09, 2009 $55,000
Speech Language Specialist Bilinguals Inc. Elizabeth, NJ Jan 03, 2011 $54,437
Speech Language Specialist Axiom Link Inc. Elizabeth, NJ Jan 03, 2011 $54,437
Speech Language Specialist Bilinguals Inc. Elizabeth, NJ Feb 11, 2011 $54,437
Speech Language Specialist Bilinguals Inc. Elizabeth, NJ Feb 14, 2011 $54,437

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Top Skills for A Speech And Language Specialist

  1. Occupational Therapy Services
  2. IEP
  3. School-Age Children
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Produce IEP and function as a member of the child study team in order to produce a specialized IEP for students.
  • Provided speech and language evaluations and therapeutic services for elementary school-aged children in individual and group sessions.
  • Serviced an elementary school and authored speech-language materials for students with special needs.
  • Conduct evaluations to assess students with speech language disorders to determine eligibility for services.
  • Managed a caseload of approximately 50 students with mild to severe communication disorders.

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Top 10 Best States for Speech And Language Specialists

  1. Alaska
  2. Connecticut
  3. California
  4. Oregon
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Wyoming
  7. Colorado
  8. Delaware
  9. Maryland
  10. Tennessee
  • (56 jobs)
  • (188 jobs)
  • (1,995 jobs)
  • (171 jobs)
  • (50 jobs)
  • (34 jobs)
  • (248 jobs)
  • (63 jobs)
  • (281 jobs)
  • (178 jobs)

Speech And Language Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

81.4%

Unknown

10.7%

Male

7.9%
Ethnicity

White

60.7%

Hispanic or Latino

17.2%

Black or African American

11.4%

Asian

7.5%

Unknown

3.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.3%

Portuguese

10.3%

French

10.3%

Russian

10.3%

Italian

6.9%

Vietnamese

3.4%

German

3.4%

Japanese

3.4%

Korean

3.4%
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Speech And Language Specialist Education

Schools

Kean University

27.5%

Nova Southeastern University

14.8%

Montclair State University

9.9%

William Paterson University of New Jersey

7.0%

Seton Hall University

6.3%

New York University

3.5%

California State University - Northridge

2.8%

Northern Arizona University

2.8%

Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

2.8%

California State University - Los Angeles

2.8%

Pennsylvania State University

2.8%

Teachers College of Columbia University

2.8%

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

2.8%

Arizona State University

2.1%

The College of New Jersey

2.1%

College of New Jersey

1.4%

La Salle University

1.4%

Saint John's University - New York

1.4%

University of Central Florida

1.4%

Marywood University

1.4%
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Majors

Speech-Language Pathology

36.5%

Communication Disorders Sciences

35.2%

Special Education

7.2%

Physiology And Anatomy

6.5%

Education

2.4%

Educational Leadership

1.7%

Business

1.4%

Communication

1.4%

Psychology

1.0%

Speech Communication And Rhetoric

1.0%

Public Relations

1.0%

Management

0.7%

Medical Assisting Services

0.7%

Human Services

0.7%

Early Childhood Education

0.7%

Counseling Psychology

0.7%

Linguistics

0.3%

School Counseling

0.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

0.3%

Intelligence Operations

0.3%
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Degrees

Masters

68.9%

Bachelors

17.0%

Other

8.7%

Certificate

2.9%

Doctorate

1.3%

Associate

1.0%

License

0.3%
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