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Become A Speech Therapist

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Working As A Speech Therapist

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

  • Make Decisions

  • $60,671

    Average Salary

What Does A Speech Therapist 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 Therapist

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 Therapist jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Speech Pathologist 7.1 years
Speech Therapist 4.0 years
Graduate Clinician 1.2 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 7.4%
Teacher 7.2%
Volunteer 4.0%
Instructor 3.3%
Top Employers After
Teacher 5.7%
Internship 3.6%
Tutor 2.2%
Volunteer 1.9%
Director 1.8%
Instructor 1.8%
Therapist 1.7%

Speech Therapist Demographics

Gender

Female

90.5%

Male

7.2%

Unknown

2.2%
Ethnicity

White

79.6%

Hispanic or Latino

12.4%

Asian

5.8%

Unknown

1.7%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.4%

French

7.7%

Hindi

3.8%

Arabic

3.8%

Italian

3.8%

Turkish

1.9%

German

1.9%

Japanese

1.9%

Greek

1.9%

Basque

1.9%

Mandarin

1.9%

Urdu

1.9%

Thai

1.9%
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Speech Therapist Education

Schools

Nova Southeastern University

7.9%

College of Saint Rose

6.4%

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

6.4%

Adelphi University

5.7%

Clarion University of Pennsylvania

5.7%

Tennessee State University

5.7%

Ball State University

5.7%

Stephen F Austin State University

5.0%

Hampton University

5.0%

Texas A&M University

5.0%

Northern Arizona University

4.3%

Southern University and A & M College

4.3%

Valdosta State University

4.3%

Lamar University

4.3%

Hofstra University

4.3%

Florida State University

4.3%

Grand Canyon University

4.3%

Carlos Albizu University

4.3%

Syracuse University

3.6%

Arizona State University

3.6%
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Majors

Communication Disorders Sciences

35.1%

Speech-Language Pathology

23.8%

Special Education

11.5%

Education

5.2%

Elementary Education

3.5%

Physiology And Anatomy

3.2%

Psychology

2.8%

Business

2.3%

Educational Leadership

1.7%

Early Childhood Education

1.3%

School Counseling

1.2%

Public Relations

1.2%

Nursing

1.2%

Speech Communication And Rhetoric

1.0%

Occupational Therapy

1.0%

Communication

1.0%

Physical Therapy

0.8%

Health Care Administration

0.8%

Counseling Psychology

0.8%

Medical Assisting Services

0.7%
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Degrees

Masters

58.4%

Bachelors

21.4%

Other

12.8%

Doctorate

2.7%

Certificate

2.3%

Associate

1.6%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Speech Therapist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Speech Therapist Plano Operating Company, LLC Plano, TX Jan 13, 2016 $100,248 -
$110,248
Speech Therapist Sutter Visiting Nursing Association and Hospice Emeryville, CA May 04, 2015 $99,840
Speech Therapist Gateways Rehabilitation, LLC Los Angeles, CA Jun 28, 2012 $98,089
Speech Therapist Gateway Rehabilitation LLC Los Angeles, CA Jun 15, 2012 $98,089
Speech Therapist Cumberland Therapy Services, LLC San Jose, CA Sep 01, 2010 $81,500
Speech Therapist Cumberland Therapy Services, LLC San Jose, CA Sep 01, 2012 $80,000
Speech Therapist Vista Hill Foundation San Diego, CA Sep 15, 2011 $77,251
Speech Therapist Alum Rock Union Elementary School District San Jose, CA Aug 01, 2014 $75,995
Speech Therapist Pediatric Therapy Professionals, Inc. Philomath, OR May 01, 2014 $73,045
Speech Therapist Fellow (Slp-Cfy) SHC Services, Inc. New York, NY Sep 17, 2013 $73,045
Speech Therapist Power Rehabilitation Services, LLC Ocala, FL Dec 09, 2016 $72,904
Speech Therapist Pediatric Therapy Services San Jose, CA Jan 09, 2016 $70,958
Speech Therapist Baker Hall Buffalo, NY Sep 15, 2013 $66,784
Speech Therapist Blue Sky Therapy Canfield, OH Oct 03, 2011 $66,650
Speech Therapist Gonzales Unified School District Gonzales, CA Jul 20, 2011 $65,757
Speech Therapist Michigan Rehab Care, Inc. MI Feb 06, 2014 $65,520
Speech Therapist Child Success Center Santa Monica, CA Feb 01, 2011 $65,000
Speech Therapist Aprendamos Intervention Team Las Cruces, NM Jun 30, 2010 $65,000
Speech Therapist NYL-New York League for Early Learning NY May 10, 2012 $60,000
Speech Therapist Trinity Health Minot, ND Aug 01, 2016 $58,812
Speech Therapist Trinity Health Minot, ND Jan 08, 2016 $58,812
Speech Therapist Grandison Management, Inc. New York, NY Aug 28, 2016 $58,582
Speech Therapist Grandison Management, Inc. NY Aug 28, 2016 $58,582
Speech Therapist Grandison Management, Inc. Monsey, NY Aug 28, 2016 $58,582

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Top Skills for A Speech Therapist

OccupationalTherapistsSpeechTherapyServicesCaseloadPreschoolChildrenCommunicationDisordersLanguageTherapyTreatmentPlansApraxiaDownSyndromeTherapySessionsCommunicationDevicesAphasiaSpecialNeedsLessonPlansTraumaticBrainInjuryIndividualEducationalPlansLanguageSkillsIepsCommunicationSkillsCerebralPalsy

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Top Speech Therapist Skills

  1. Occupational Therapists
  2. Speech Therapy Services
  3. Caseload
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Collaborated with Physicians, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Case Managers to maximize client success.
  • Provided individual and group speech therapy services to students with Autism in a public school setting using a multi-modal approach.
  • Provide services to children ages 3-5; caseload encompasses students with Language Learning Disabilities, Auditory Processing Difficulties and Phonological/Articulation Disorders.
  • Serve as therapist to developmentally delayed preschool children.
  • Conducted assessments in collaboration with others that helped to identify students with communication disorders.

Top Speech Therapist Employers

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Speech Pathology as a career

Career guide to high income jobs that pay Over $70,000 per year

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