Consider a Career in the Exploding Field of Speech-Language Pathology
Speech-language pathologists, commonly called speech-language therapists, or SLPs, are one of the top jobs in the health-care industry in 2018. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected an 18% growth through the year 2026. According to the BLS speech-language pathologists that are willing to relocate have the best job opportunities.
Why do they project such a large growth for speech-language pathologists?
As baby-boomers continue to age and they will suffer from health conditions that require different types of speech therapy such as strokes and dementia. Medical advances have increased the survival rate of premature infants, trauma patients and stroke victims and these patients typically have an increased need for the services of a speech-language pathologist. Additionally, increased awareness of speech and development problems associated with autism and other developmental delays require the intervention of a speech-language pathologist to assist them in a variety of ways.
What requirements are needed to become a speech-language pathologist?
To become a speech-language pathologist, you typically need a master’s degree from the Council on Academic Accreditation. During your master’s degree progress, you will have to complete supervised clinical experience and successfully pass a Praxis exam. After you complete your master’s degree you will need to complete one year of supervised practice known as your clinical fellowship year. Contact your state’s medical or health licensure board for specific requirements for your state.
Aside from the education requirements for speech-language pathologists, you should possess these important qualities; people skills, good listening skills, an analytical mind, be detailed-oriented, and have empathy.
Where are they hiring speech-language pathologists?
In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics cited that over 40% of the 145,100 speech-language pathologists (SLPs) were working in the education sector. Twenty percent of SLPs were working in physical, occupational or speech therapy offices or with audiologists. The remaining 20% worked in hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, or had a private practice. There has been a huge growth in utilizing the therapies that SLPs have to offer in all sectors.
When applying for an SLP position, consider what patients you would primarily want to work with and the environment you want to work in. SLPs who work in schools typically have the summers off, but have a greater caseload and tend to have to travel more due to the school systems not having enough SLPs to cover the demand for services needed. Whereas working in nursing or rehabilitation facility, you would typically encounter adult patients that are dealing with trauma, strokes, or dementia.
Something to look forward to any new speech pathologist is teletherapy. This allows the SLP to provide services to clients remotely via a video-chat service. This type of speech therapy is ASHA-approved and is growing at a rapid pace in the industry. To qualify for this type of therapy, speech pathologists must have an active license in the state they are practicing in along with a license in the state where their clients are. They also need to have a completed ASHA Certificate of Competence (CCCs) and enough experience to work successfully in a remote position. We personally don’t recommend that new clinicians apply for or consider teletherapy positions, as their clinical fellowship cannot be completed remotely and having a sense of in-person community is best for a new SLP.
Working with patients from newborns through the elderly, this field has something for everyone that is interested in speech-language pathology. With a median income of $74,680 (May 2016) the career is lucrative as well as rewarding. Do your research to find out what area you would to specialize in and what educational requirements your state has.
If you have other questions that aren’t answered here, feel free ask your question in the comments section below or reach out to us directly by contacting us here.