What Does A Speech Language Pathologist Do?

A speech-language pathologist specializes in diagnosing disorders in speech, language, and communication among children and adults. They are also responsible for devising and providing suitable treatments and therapeutic solutions that would improve a patient's condition. With each case varying from the rest, a speech-language pathologist must conduct an extensive assessment, research, analysis, and observation. Aside from providing treatments, a speech-language pathologist can also supervise other personnel in the same field, engage in various programs to share expertise, and provide consultations.

Here are the duties and responsibilities that speech language pathologists across different industries are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Experience in treating aphasia and working with individuals with augmentative and alternative communication devices.
  • Provide evaluations and diagnosis for adults with communication and swallowing disorders at a skil nursing facility.
  • Create and implement IEP s, complete and document evaluations, collaborate with special education teachers and maintain confidential files.
  • Provide evaluation and remediation of various forms of communication disabilities in adults, with emphasis on swallowing and aphasia disorders.
  • Evaluate, diagnose and treat inpatients and outpatients with a variety of communication and swallowing disorders in a skil nursing facility.
  • Execute necessary documentation and implement appropriate care plans, as indicated in compliance with medicare, medicaid, private insurance companies.
  • Leverage experience and expertise in speech pathology to design individualize educational plans for communication disorders in students on a self-pace curriculum.
  • Supervise by Lauren Haley, CCC-SLP
  • Supervise by Wendy Greenspan, M.A., CCC-SLP
  • Offer speech therapy services in schools k-12 grade.
Speech Language Pathologist Traits
Analytical skills
Analytical skills have to do with gathering information from various sources and then interpreting the data in order to reach a logical conclusion that benefits the business.
Compassion is a skill that is necessary for working with others as you're able to put aside your differences and show genuine kindness toward others.
Critical-thinking skills
Critical-thinking skills shows that you're able to think through decisions clearly ending with a well-reasoned judgement.

Speech Language Pathologist Overview

Compared to other jobs, speech language pathologists have a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 27% between the years of 2018 - 2028 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of speech language pathologist opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 41,900.

Speech language pathologists typically earn $72,330 annually, which breaks down to $34.77 an hour. However, speech language pathologists can earn anywhere from upwards of $54,000 to $95,000 a year. This means that the top-earning speech language pathologists make $41,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

Let's say you're interested in learning about careers that are similar to speech language pathologists just so you can understand the differences in skills, salaries and education. Well, you've come to the right place. We've compiled information regarding all of that for becoming a graduate student clinician, student clinician, graduate student internship, and speech correction consultant. The information on how these careers compare to the job description of a speech language pathologist will come later.

Speech Language Pathologist Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 16% of Speech Language Pathologists are proficient in SLP, Speech-Language Pathology, and Facility. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Compassion, and Critical-thinking skills.

We break down the percentage of Speech Language Pathologists that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • SLP, 16%

    Identified need to improve interdepartmental communications and implemented use of SLP Microsoft SharePoint site with administrator level privileges for co-workers.

  • Speech-Language Pathology, 15%

    Evaluated children with diverse linguistic and cognitive abilities to identify speech-language pathology utilizing a variety of informal and formal-standardized methods.

  • Facility, 7%

    Provided in-services to other departments within the facility regarding safe swallow strategies for residents and adherence to dietary guidelines and restrictions.

  • Rehab, 6%

    Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation/Winchester Place

  • Patient Care, 6%

    Participated in Interdisciplinary Team Meetings, patient care conferences, in-services for facility staff as warranted, and utilization review meetings.

  • CFY, 6%

    Supervised a Clinical Fellow during CFY; provided feedback during meetings, reviewed quarterly/annual reports, conducted session observations.

Slp, speech-language pathology, and facility aren't the only skills speech language pathologists have. In fact, there's a whole list of personality traits that are commonly seen among them, including:

  • Analytical skills can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a speech language pathologist to have. Speech-language pathologists must select the most appropriate diagnostic tools and analyze results to arrive at an accurate diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan. A speech language pathologist is able to use analytical skills in the following example: analyzed physician referrals and patient medical records to determine need for speech therapy services.
  • It's essential that a speech language pathologist have communication skills. Speech-language pathologists need to communicate test results, diagnoses, and proposed treatments in a way that individuals and their families can understand. Communication skills is extremely important for speech language pathologists to have. As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "administered skilled speech therapy services to adults with dysphagia and deficits in executive functioning, memory, and overall cognitive communication."
  • Yet another important skill that a speech language pathologist must demonstrate is the following: listening skills. Speech-language pathologists must listen to symptoms and concerns to decide on the appropriate course of treatment. This is clearly demonstrated in this example from a speech language pathologist who stated: "communicated with non-verbal clients' using basic sign language and augmentative alternative communication (aac)."
  • While detail oriented is listed last, don't underestimate its importance. Speech-language pathologists must take detailed notes on progress and treatment. Here's an example of how this is utilized: "completed daily logs detailing objectives targeted, outcomes, and plans for future therapy sessions."
  • See the full list of speech language pathologist skills.

    Now that you have the skills necessary to secure a career in your dream job, we've taken it a step further to figure out what type of education might be necessary or helpful. The results showed that 9.8% of speech language pathologists have graduated with a bachelor's degree. What's more is that 86.2% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While it may be true that most speech language pathologists have a college degree, you may find it also true that generally it's impossible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every ten speech language pathologists were not college graduates.

    Those speech language pathologists who do attend college, typically earn either a speech-language pathology degree or a communication disorders sciences degree. Less commonly earned degrees for speech language pathologists include a special education degree or a physiology and anatomy degree.

    Now that you have your degree, you're ready to become a speech language pathologist. So where do you start applying? According to our research, speech language pathologists are mostly hired by Healthpro, Genesis HealthCare, and The Stepping Stones Group. Now is a good time to apply as Healthpro has 804 speech language pathologists job openings, and there are 554 at Genesis HealthCare and 538 at The Stepping Stones Group.

    If you're in it for the money, you'll want to apply for positions at DotCom Therapy, Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union, and Massachusetts General Hospital as that's where speech language pathologists seem to make the most money. Let's take a closer look. At DotCom Therapy, the average speech language pathologist salary is $92,257. Whereas at Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union, speech language pathologists earn roughly $91,859. And at Massachusetts General Hospital, they make an average salary of $91,027. Before you get too excited over those salary numbers, you should make sure that securing a job at these companies is doable. For example, while DotCom Therapy has 4 job listings for speech language pathologists, Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union and Massachusetts General Hospital have 0 and 2 job listings respectively.

    View more details on speech language pathologist salaries across the United States.

    Salaries aside, the most respected speech language pathologists are working at RehabCare Group East, Private Practice, and Aegis. By assessing which schools speech language pathologists mainly earn their degrees, and comparing that with the companies that have hired a significant number of speech language pathologists from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, we're able to determine the most prestigious companies.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious speech language pathologists are:

      What Graduate Student Clinicians Do

      Graduate student clinicians can be a nurse practitioner, pharmacist, or doctor whose primary job is to work with patients and assist patients in managing their medical condition or illness. They perform varied duties and responsibilities that include maintaining a good relationship with patients, discussing the treatment progress to patients, and documenting patients' medical history. Additionally, they are also responsible for assisting physicians on non-surgical procedures, updating the medical information of patients on charts, and giving diagnostic tests.

      Up to bat, or first to compare, is graduate student clinician. Looking at the salary aspect, graduate student clinicians earn a $3,194 lower salary than speech language pathologists annually.

      While their salaries may differ, one common ground between speech language pathologists and graduate student clinicians are their skills. In both careers, employees bring forth skills such as patient care, communication disorders, and treatment plans.

      The overlapping skill sets may be the only thing these two roles have in common, as there are some key differences. For example, a speech language pathologist is more likely to have skills in slp, speech-language pathology, facility, and rehab. Meanwhile a typical graduate student clinician has skills in areas such as language therapy, alternative communication, diagnostic reports, and ccc-slp. This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

      Onto a more studious topic, it's no surprise that graduate student clinicians tend to reach similar levels of education than speech language pathologists. The actual difference in levels of education may actually surprise you. Graduate student clinicians are 2.5% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.1% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Student Clinician?

      A Student Clinician is a healthcare practitioner who works as caregiver of a patient in a hospital or clinic. They integrate knowledge obtained in courses into the clinical practicum assignments.

      On deck, we have student clinicians. This career brings along a lower average salary of $2,748, which is lower than the salary of speech language pathologists per year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Speech language pathologists and student clinicians both require similar skills like speech-language pathology, patient care, and communication disorders.

      In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, a speech language pathologist is more likely to have skills in slp, facility, rehab, and cfy, while a typical student clinician is skilled in areas such as adult clients, diagnostic reports, ccc-slp, and hearing loss. These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

      So you need to know how much education you're going to need. As it turns out student clinicians study at lower levels of education than speech language pathologists. They're 42.9% less likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Graduate Student Internship Compares

      Let's now take a look at how graduate student interns compare. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower dough than speech language pathologists with a lower pay of $40,493 per year.

      Speech language pathologists and graduate student interns both have similar skills such as speech-language pathology, patient care, and communication disorders, but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

      As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For starters, speech language pathologists are more likely to have skills like slp, facility, rehab, and cfy. But a graduate student internship will probably be skilled in data collection, mental health, substance abuse, and language therapy. This shows just how different these careers can be.

      Is less better than more? Maybe in some cases, but when you're talking about graduate student interns they typically study at lower levels than speech language pathologists. In fact, they're 7.2% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 2.7% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Speech Correction Consultant

      Last, but not least, are the speech correction consultants who typically earn lower pay than speech language pathologists, with a difference of $43,714 per year.

      While their salaries differ, speech language pathologists and speech correction consultants both use similar skills to perform their jobs like slp, patient care, and cfy.

      Speech-language pathology, facility, rehab, and communication are typically used by a speech language pathologist, whereas the average speech correction consultant uses skills like speech consultant, language therapy, professional knowledge, and public speaking to get through the day. Now you can really understand how different these two professions are.

      When it comes to education, these two careers couldn't be more different. For example, speech correction consultants typically reach lower levels of education than speech language pathologists. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 51.4% less. Additionally, they're more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by a whopping 8.5%.