What Does A Speech Therapist Do?

Speech Therapists work with patients across multiple age groups to facilitate the treatment of speech and language disorders, such as stammers and stutters. They work with people who cannot produce speech sounds or cannot produce them clearly.

Here are examples of responsibilities from real speech therapist resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Manage caseload with optimal productivity while meeting patient and family needs.
  • Manage outpatient needs with rehab clinical supervisors and managers to ensure site productivity.
  • Provide speech services for a variety of special education student's including articulation, hearing impair, and augmentative communication devices.
  • Train PRN staff on Medicare / Medicaid reimbursement documentation and facility policies.
  • Graduate student supervisor, and supervisor for CFY's.
  • Work under the supervision of an ASHA's certify SLP.
  • Assess swallowing safety and form dysphagia diagnoses via clinical bedside evaluation and MBS.
  • Deliver therapy to clients with dysarthria, articulation disorders, and language disorders.
  • Work with concomitant attention and motor deficits (mobility limitations, dysarthria).
  • Supervise several graduate student interns from local universities, clinical supervisor for one CFY employee.
Speech Therapist Traits
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.
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.
Detail oriented involves being extremely mindful and observant of all details.

Speech Therapist Overview

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a speech therapist is "should I become a speech therapist?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, speech therapist careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 27% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a speech therapist by 2028 is 41,900.

Speech therapists average about $28.29 an hour, which makes the speech therapist annual salary $58,841. Additionally, speech therapists are known to earn anywhere from $41,000 to $82,000 a year. This means that the top-earning speech therapists make $41,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

Once you've become a speech therapist, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a graduate student clinician, student clinician, language pathologist, and speech-language pathology internship.

Speech Therapist Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 19% of Speech Therapists are proficient in Treatment Plans, Acute Care, and Communication Disorders. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Communication skills, and Detail oriented.

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

  • Treatment Plans, 19%

    Completed reports regarding clients treatment and monitored progress and adjusted treatment plans accordingly.

  • Acute Care, 14%

    Served on a full-time basis as Speech Therapist in the Acute Care of one of the leading hospitals of Singapore.

  • Communication Disorders, 12%

    Provided diagnostic and remedial services to children displaying the types of communication disorders diagnosed above.

  • Asha, 11%

    Trained and registered users of ASHA National Outcomes Measurement System (NOMS).

  • Communication, 6%

    Reviewed and analyzed student assessments and records; identified, diagnosed and formulated educational treatments and strategies for various communication disabilities.

  • Caseload, 4%

    Provide services to children ages 3-5; caseload encompasses students with Language Learning Disabilities, Auditory Processing Difficulties and Phonological/Articulation Disorders.

Some of the skills we found on speech therapist resumes included "treatment plans," "acute care," and "communication disorders." We have detailed the most important speech therapist responsibilities below.

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a speech therapist to have happens to be analytical skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "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." Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that speech therapists can use analytical skills to "plan, administer, and interpret appropriate testing to gather data for the development and/or revision of the iep."
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many speech therapist duties rely on communication skills. This example from a speech therapist explains why: "speech-language pathologists need to communicate test results, diagnoses, and proposed treatments in a way that individuals and their families can understand." This resume example is just one of many ways speech therapists are able to utilize communication skills: "assessed/diagnosed/treated speech, language, social communication, and cognitive- communication disorders in children and youth."
  • Detail oriented is also an important skill for speech therapists to have. This example of how speech therapists use this skill comes from a speech therapist resume, "speech-language pathologists must take detailed notes on progress and treatment." Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "created detailed reports and individual educational plans (iep) to comply with federal regulations."
  • In order for certain speech therapist responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "listening skills." According to a speech therapist resume, "speech-language pathologists must listen to symptoms and concerns to decide on the appropriate course of treatment." As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "communicated with non-speaking students, using sign language and computer technology."
  • See the full list of speech therapist skills.

    We've found that 29.1% of speech therapists have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 62.2% earned their master's degrees before becoming a speech therapist. While it's true that most speech therapists have a college degree, it's generally impossible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every nine speech therapists did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those speech therapists who do attend college, typically earn either communication disorders sciences degrees or speech-language pathology degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for speech therapists include special education degrees or education degrees.

    Once you're ready to become a speech therapist, you should explore the companies that typically hire speech therapists. According to speech therapist resumes that we searched through, speech therapists are hired the most by Life Care Centers of America, PruittHealth, and Tenet Healthcare. Currently, Life Care Centers of America has 98 speech therapist job openings, while there are 29 at PruittHealth and 29 at Tenet Healthcare.

    Since salary is important to some speech therapists, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Cleveland Clinic, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and NorthShore University HealthSystem. If you were to take a closer look at Cleveland Clinic, you'd find that the average speech therapist salary is $100,472. Then at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, speech therapists receive an average salary of $99,908, while the salary at NorthShore University HealthSystem is $99,417. Currently, Cleveland Clinic has 2 jobs listed for speech therapists. Additionally, Cancer Treatment Centers of America and NorthShore University HealthSystem only have 1 and 2 job openings.

    View more details on speech therapist salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire speech therapists from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include RehabCare Group East, Private Practice, and Aegis.

    The industries that speech therapists fulfill the most roles in are the health care and education industries. But the highest speech therapist annual salary is in the health care industry, averaging $65,144. In the finance industry they make $55,335 and average about $53,155 in the non profits industry. In conclusion, speech therapists who work in the health care industry earn a 23.0% higher salary than speech therapists in the education industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious speech therapists 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.

      In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take graduate student clinician for example. On average, the graduate student clinicians annual salary is $10,295 higher than what speech therapists make on average every year.

      While their salaries may differ, one common ground between speech therapists and graduate student clinicians are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like treatment plans, acute care, and communication disorders.

      There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a speech therapist responsibilities require skills like "asha," "communication," "caseload," and "medicare." Meanwhile a typical graduate student clinician has skills in areas such as "dysphagia," "spinal cord injury," "barium swallow studies," and "aphasia." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

      On average, graduate student clinicians reach higher levels of education than speech therapists. Graduate student clinicians are 20.1% more likely to earn a Master's Degree and 0.1% less likely to graduate with 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.

      The next role we're going to look at is the student clinician profession. Typically, this position earns a higher pay. In fact, they earn a $10,741 higher salary than speech therapists per year.

      While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both speech therapists and student clinicians are known to have skills such as "treatment plans," "communication disorders," and "asha."

      But both careers also use different skills, according to real speech therapist resumes. While speech therapist responsibilities can utilize skills like "acute care," "communication," "caseload," and "medicare," some student clinicians use skills like "spinal cord injury," "aphasia," "speech-language pathology," and "expressive language."

      When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, student clinicians tend to reach lower levels of education than speech therapists. In fact, they're 19.7% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Language Pathologist Compares

      Let's now take a look at the language pathologist profession. On average, these workers make higher salaries than speech therapists with a $10,536 difference per year.

      While looking through the resumes of several speech therapists and language pathologists we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "treatment plans," "acute 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 example, gathering from speech therapists resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "asha," "test results," "individual needs," and "staff members." But a language pathologist might have skills like "speech-language pathology," "dysphagia," "slp," and "spinal cord injury."

      Language pathologists are known to earn higher educational levels when compared to speech therapists. Additionally, they're 22.6% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 1.5% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Speech-Language Pathology Internship

      In a speech-language pathology internship, an intern's duties vary depending on a supervising pathologist or manager's directives. They typically gather industry insights and practical experience while performing support tasks such as answering calls and correspondence, preparing and processing documents, organizing files, maintaining records, assisting clients with filling up forms, and running errands as needed. They may also help pathologists in developing materials and strategies in adherence to the clients' needs. Moreover, as an intern, it is essential to understand and abide by the facility's rules and policies, including state laws and regulations.

      Now, we'll look at speech-language pathology interns, who generally average a higher pay when compared to speech therapists annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $11,821 per year.

      While their salaries may vary, speech therapists and speech-language pathology interns both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "treatment plans," "acute care," and "communication disorders."

      Each job requires different skills like "asha," "communication," "medicare," and "test results," which might show up on a speech therapist resume. Whereas speech-language pathology internship might include skills like "dysphagia," "spinal cord injury," "barium swallow studies," and "speech-language pathology."

      The average resume of speech-language pathology interns showed that they earn higher levels of education to speech therapists. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 9.1% more. Additionally, they're less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 1.5%.