What is a Speech Language Pathologist

Charles Van Riper is a name that is renowned in the field of speech pathology. He/She was a boy who stuttered since the age of 2, loved reading, and grew to become an English high school teacher while developing techniques to cope with his/her stuttering. His/Her childhood was filled with challenges as stuttering was associated with local superstitions, and his/her profession in teaching was no less different, given the overwhelming fear of stuttering he/she was personally experiencing.

After finding no way to improve his/her situation, he/she joined a speech pathology graduate program at Iowa to create techniques to improve one's stutter, which proved successful. He/She was known for his/her therapy on stuttering modification. A technique which allowed a person to confront his/her stutter, reduce associated stress, and increase speaking control. One of the strategies to improve speaking confidence is by teaching a client how to recognize stuttering behaviors and modify its form, gradually, toward a state of normal fluency. As a result, his/her program has been foundational to the practice of many clinicians in effectively diagnosing stutterers.

One of the most rewarding parts of being a speech-language pathologist is being able to work with a patient and through a process, improve their speech abilities. Besides developing suitable treatment plans, they are also heavily involved in interesting research finding new solutions to solve speech-associated disorders such as dyslexia and autism. Speech-language pathologists work a typical 40 hours a week at hospitals and clinics, earning an average of $32 per hour.

What Does a Speech 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.

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How To Become a Speech 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 Salary
$68,253
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
27%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
18,708
Job Openings
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Speech Language Pathologist Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Speech Language Pathologist

Speech Language Pathologists in America make an average salary of $68,253 per year or $33 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $87,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $53,000 per year.
Average Salary
$68,253
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Speech Language Pathologist Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Speech Language Pathologist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

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At Zippia, we went through countless Speech Language Pathologist resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Speech Language Pathologist Demographics

Speech Language Pathologist Gender Statistics

female

84.5 %

male

11.3 %

unknown

4.1 %

Speech Language Pathologist Ethnicity Statistics

White

80.6 %

Hispanic or Latino

9.6 %

Black or African American

4.4 %

Speech Language Pathologist Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

65.2 %

French

6.3 %

Russian

5.7 %
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Speech Language Pathologist Education

Speech Language Pathologist Majors

Speech Language Pathologist Degrees

Bachelors

51.2 %

Masters

46.2 %

Associate

1.6 %

Top Colleges for Speech Language Pathologists

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

2. University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA • Private

In-State Tuition
$17,653
Enrollment
16,405

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

5. Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,816
Enrollment
6,840

6. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Enrollment
34,564

7. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

8. Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, MO • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,399
Enrollment
7,356

9. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

10. USF Sarasota-Manatee

Sarasota, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,587
Enrollment
1,834
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Online Courses For Speech Language Pathologist That You May Like

Stuttering Treatment The ABC's of Smoother Speech
udemy
4.3
(322)

"This Is Exactly How I Help Clients STOP Visible Signs of Stuttering - Stammering And Start Speaking More Smoothly...

The Complete Presentation and Public Speaking/Speech Course
udemy
4.5
(13,204)

From page to stage; learn everything you need to know about giving a great speech for business & personal presentations...

It Speaks! Create Synthetic Speech Using Cloud Text-to-Speech
coursera

The Cloud Text-to-Speech API lets you create audio files of machine-generated, or *synthetic, *human speech. You provide the content as text or Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML), specify a voice (a unique 'speaker' of a language with a distinctive tone and accent), and configure the output; the Text-to-Speech API returns to you the content that you sent as spoken word, audio data, delivered by the voice that you specified. In this Google Cloud Lab, you will create a series of audio files u...

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Top Skills For a Speech Language Pathologist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 19.4% of speech language pathologists listed slp on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and communication skills are important as well.

12 Speech Language Pathologist RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For a Speech Language Pathologist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a speech language pathologist. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, Maryland, California, and New Jersey. Speech language pathologists make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $79,524. Whereas in Maryland and California, they would average $74,334 and $74,044, respectively. While speech language pathologists would only make an average of $71,943 in New Jersey, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Connecticut

Total Speech Language Pathologist Jobs:
233
Highest 10% Earn:
$108,000
Location Quotient:
1.29
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Delaware

Total Speech Language Pathologist Jobs:
93
Highest 10% Earn:
$106,000
Location Quotient:
1.36
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. South Carolina

Total Speech Language Pathologist Jobs:
301
Highest 10% Earn:
$101,000
Location Quotient:
1.23
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Speech Language Pathologists

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Top Speech Language Pathologist Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ speech language pathologists and discovered their number of speech language pathologist opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that EBS Healthcare was the best, especially with an average salary of $69,351. Bilinguals follows up with an average salary of $70,638, and then comes interface rehab with an average of $69,506. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a speech language pathologist. The employers include Job Corps, Harford County Public Schools, and Adams 12 Five Star Schools

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Speech Language Pathologist FAQs

How long does it take to be a speech-language pathologist?

It takes about six to seven years to become a speech-language pathologist. This time includes the time it takes to complete the required undergraduate and graduate courses for speech therapists and the postgraduate clinical hours needed.

Prospective speech therapists must complete a four-year bachelor's degree that includes the required prerequisite courses. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association typically requires completing classes in linguistics, phonetics, semantics, psychology, and human development.

Most speech-language pathologists have a master's degree in speech and language pathology. Some states require a speech-language pathologist to have a master's degree from an approved ASHA's Council on Academic Accreditation master's program.

In addition to the course work, a supervised clinical practice also plays an essential part in master's degree programs in speech-language pathology. State licensing boards usually require 300 hours of supervised clinical work during the graduate years. For example, a typical speech-language pathologist graduate program includes a one-semester introduction to clinical practicum, plus three sections of clinical training and two areas of hearing practicum, all over just four semesters.

Overall, most state boards usually require nine months of postgraduate clinical practice for a speech-language pathology license. Moreover, most states also require graduates to pass the Praxis exams from the Educational Testing Service. Once you have completed the graduate program and examinations, you can work as a speech-language pathologist. However, your role as a student will continue throughout your career.

Continuing education, for instance, is required to keep your license in most states. Qualifying classes and web seminars are available from ASHA, which also offers the Certificate of Clinical Competence. This certificate helps satisfy professional licensing requirements in some states.

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Is speech pathologist a good career?

Yes, being a speech pathologist is a good career. Speech pathologists rank themselves in fourth place in the best health care jobs. The top reasons why working as a speech pathologist is a good career choice are that it pays well, has an excellent work-life balance, and has a high level of job satisfaction in their work to help others.

Becoming a speech pathologist may be a financially rewarding career choice. The average mean pay for speech pathologists is $79,120 per year ($38.04 per hour). The BLS predicts the number of speech pathologist jobs will increase 25% from 2019 to 2029.

While a good job outlook, financial return, and flexible schedules are all important, one of the most significant benefits of being a speech pathologist is the emotional satisfaction of helping patients. Speech pathologists work closely with patients daily, and a genuine desire to help improve patients' lives may help you do your job well while also enjoying your career. The satisfaction of helping others is a major motivation for speech pathologists as you get to celebrate with them in their triumphs.

Speech pathologists evaluate, diagnose and treat people with speech, language, or swallowing difficulties. They work with many types of patients, including stroke victims who are relearning to speak, babies who have trouble swallowing, people who speak with a stutter, and children with language delays.

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Updated August 18, 2021