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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.
Speech-language pathologists typically do the following:
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.
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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Speech Pathologist
Top Careers After Speech Pathologist
Hispanic or Latino9.1%
Black or African American0.7%
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Nova Southeastern University8.5%
New York University6.2%
University of South Florida5.6%
Tennessee State University5.6%
University of Central Florida5.1%
College of Saint Rose5.1%
University of Cincinnati5.1%
Ball State University5.1%
Eastern Michigan University4.5%
Illinois State University4.0%
University of Texas at Dallas4.0%
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville4.0%
Northern Arizona University4.0%
University of Houston4.0%
University of South Carolina - Columbia4.0%
Southern University and A & M College4.0%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Speech Pathologist||Innovative Healthcare Management Services, Inc.||Jacksonville, FL||Mar 26, 2014||$104,350|
|Speech Pathologist||The Perfect Playground||New York, NY||Apr 16, 2016||$93,915|
|Speech Pathologist||Advantage Rehab Solutions, LLC||Castro Valley, CA||Apr 24, 2013||$91,000|
|Speech Pathologist||Advantage Rehab Solutions, LLC||Castro Valley, CA||May 01, 2011||$89,741|
|Speech Pathologists||Global Communication Services Inc.||Lake Success, NY||Feb 10, 2016||$85,000|
|Speech Pathologist||Sutter Health West Bay Region||San Francisco, CA||Jan 26, 2015||$83,760|
|Speech Pathologist||Morongo Unified School District||Twentynine Palms, CA||Oct 01, 2012||$80,802|
|Speech Pathologist||Morongo Unified School District||Twentynine Palms, CA||Aug 21, 2012||$80,802|
|Speech Pathologist||Uc Physicians, Inc.||Cincinnati, OH||Jan 03, 2016||$79,181|
|Speech Pathologist||University of Cincinnati||Cincinnati, OH||Jan 03, 2016||$79,181|
|Speech Pathologist||University of Cincinnati||Cincinnati, OH||Mar 14, 2016||$79,181|
|Speech Pathologist||Special Communications, LLC||Bunnell, FL||Aug 16, 2015||$77,282|
|Bilingual Speech Pathologist||Cbhsp Arizona, Inc.||Tucson, AZ||Aug 03, 2011||$70,218|
|Speech Pathologist||Julia Hobbs Speech Pathology, Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Sep 27, 2014||$70,000|
|Bilingual Speech Pathologist||Cbhsp Arizona, Inc.||AR||Feb 09, 2012||$69,010|
|Speech Pathologist||Lahey Clinic, Inc.||Burlington, MA||Jul 25, 2011||$68,000|
|Speech Pathologist||Lahey Clinic, Inc.||Burlington, MA||Aug 01, 2011||$68,000|
|Speech Pathologist||Rhema Therapy II, LLC||Roseville, MI||Jul 27, 2015||$66,784 -
|Speech Pathologist||Language Fundamentals, Inc.||Goshen, NY||Sep 19, 2016||$66,784|
|Speech Langauage Pathologist||Alphavista Services, Inc.||Downey, CA||Apr 09, 2014||$60,528|
|Rpe/Cfy-Speech Languate Pathologist||Pristine Rehab Care, LLC||Diamond Bar, CA||Sep 07, 2013||$60,278|
|Speech Pathologist||Compton Unified School District||Compton, CA||Sep 20, 2013||$60,278 -
|Speech Pathologist||Compton Unified School District||Compton, CA||Aug 26, 2013||$60,278 -
|Speech Pathologist||The New England Center for Children||Southborough, MA||Apr 01, 2011||$60,189|
|Speech Pathologist||City Sounds of Ny-Speech Language Development Center, Inc.||New York, NY||Jan 09, 2016||$60,000|
|Speech Langage Pathologist||Alphavista Services, Inc.||Riverside, CA||Mar 07, 2012||$60,000|
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