How to Become A Speech Language Pathologist
Speech Language Pathologists, also known as Speech Therapists, diagnose and treat different disorders that affect the speech abilities of an individual. The treatment provided by these specialists helps people get rid of rhythm problems and helps them get more fluency in speech. They usually work in a proper clinical setting, though they are also employed at schools, medical facilities, clients’ homes and research and development labs. Some speech language pathologists work on contractual basis and spend a lot of time travelling for work.
Should I Become a Speech Language Pathologist?
If you have a knack for helping people get better and live a more fulfilled life, the career of a speech language pathologist might interest you. The following table provides a detailed look into this career, along with education requirements, mean salary and job outlook data.
Required in most states
Analytical Skills, Communication Skills, Critical-thinking, Detailed Oriented, Listening Skills, Compassion
Annual Mean Salary (2018)
Job Outlook (2018-2028)
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Speech language pathologists treat people at homes, schools and at private facilities. They assess the problem and then devise a treatment plan accordingly. Some professionals specialize in a certain area like working on swallowing issues, working with kids, etc. while others teach patients who cannot hear. Speech language pathologists are required to have analytical skills so they can use their tools properly and diagnose the problem. They are also required to have excellent communication skills so they can understand and communicate with patients and their families. Pathologists are expected to be detail oriented. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary of a Speech Language Pathologist was $80,700 in 2018.
How to Become a Speech Language Pathologist?
1. Bachelor’s Degree
There is no specific major requirement to become a speech language pathologist. However, having a degree in speech and hearing sciences and communications may help a lot.
2. Master’s Degree
Aspiring speech language pathologists need to have a Master’s degree. This program introduces them to new concepts like phonology, voice articulation, neurological substrates and literacy. Clinical practicums are an important part of this degree. These programs help students examine and treat different patients belonging to varied socio-economic backgrounds. Some of them choose to be bilingual as those who are fluent in two languages have better career opportunities in this field.
3. Earn Your License
Speech therapists are offered credentials by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in academic programs, continuing education, clinical practice and clinical specialty programs. The licensure requirements of most of the states is satisfied by the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech Language Pathology (CCC- SLP). To earn this, applicants have to finish 400 hours of supervised clinical experience. Those who complete their majors in speech pathology get validated by the Council for Clinical Certification.
4. Continuing Education
Some states require these professionals to continue their education. Continuity helps them maintain their license and stay updated with the current trends of the industry. There are different workshops, seminars and classes arranged for this purpose.