How to Become a Speech Pathologist

Career Advice for Tomorrow's Speech Pathologist

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Speech pathologists are professionals who evaluate and treat a variety of disorders and developmental needs related to the function of speech. They work with people who cannot make speech sounds at all (or struggle to be understood) and those with communication difficulties such as stuttering. They also treat people who want to learn to speak without an accent or alter their pitch and tone. Career skills for speech pathologists encompass the physical act of communication as they use their knowledge to treat people who have swallowing difficulties, cerebral palsy, cleft palette, and other medical problems or those who have had strokes.

Career Skills in Speech Pathology

If you are interested in helping people become more effective in their speech capacity, and you have patience, empathy, and good problem-solving skills, a career in speech pathology might be an interesting option for you. Through proper training and education, you can learn how to develop a good rapport with patients, accurately and effectively diagnose what the speech impediment is, and then be able to create and carry out a treatment plan.To be able to practice effectively, speech pathologists typically need a graduate degree and licensure that covers the anatomy and physiology of the body functioning related to speech.They work in a variety of settings, from schools to medical facilities, and with both individuals and groups.

Speech Pathologist Career Advice

If you have worked in the health service sector, perhaps providing a basic level of physical care, you might improve your skills to specifically be able to treat speech pathology. Speech pathologist is also a good match for someone who has a teaching background and is interest in the medical field; speech pathologists spend much of their time teaching patients to speak better through various methods tailored to specific needs.

The Role of Online Training Courses

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts excellent growth in this exciting job area. Partly due to the expected rise in retirees, and partly because the profession is expected to expand in the future, there will likely be a need for those who want to retrain for a career in speech pathology. Getting the right education is key to retraining; enrolling in online training courses can help you take the first step toward a career as a speech pathologist.

Career Outlook

  • Median Annual Salary:: In May 2013, the speech pathologists earned a median annual salary of $73,970 with top 10% making more than $109,800.
  • Most common level of education required: Master's degree in speech-language pathology
  • Most common level of education required: Master's degree in speech-language pathology
  • Popular coursework: anatomy, physiology, language, principles of acoustics
  • Common licensure: Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology
  • Popular employment opportunities: Schools, hospitals, nursing-care facilities
  • Top-paying states for speech pathologists: California, New Jersey, Colorado, Maryland, Nevada
  • Typical hours worked per week: 40
  • Alternate career duties: research, design and development of techniques or equipment
  • Accreditation:: In 2012, there were 252 CAA approved master’s degree programs in speech-language pathology.
  • Skills needed: attention to detail, intense focus, and concentration
  • Number of speech pathologists employed in May 2013: 134,100
  • Projected employment change through 2012-2022: 19 percent - Faster than the national average of 11 percent for all careers.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Speech-Language Pathologists
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Speech-Language Pathologists, May 2013 Wages