Demand for SLPs Continues to Grow

February 13, 2015By: VocoVision

speech language pathologist job outlookAlyssa Cook, an upcoming graduate of the speech-language pathology program at University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), spent years working with a Speech Language Pathologist of her own. She had difficulties pronouncing “R” correctly, and with the help of her SLP, was able to correct the issue.

SLPs continue to be in high demand, and at UNCG, over the past eight years, the program has had a 100% graduation rate, and a 100% job placement rate. The high demand for SLPs is, in part, due to a shortage of programs across the country that teach speech-language pathology. There’s a clear need for more programs like the one at UNCG, and for more graduates to provide services in the field.

Another student, after posting her resume on a public forum for speech therapists on a Sunday, woke up the next morning with 30 emails from various recruiters with positions to fill.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 134,100 jobs in the field in 2012, and the job outlook forecast between 2012 and 2022 shows a 19% increase, faster than the average across all positions. The national average for all occupations is only 11%.The forecasted employment change between 2012 and 2022 is expected to add 26,000 more jobs in the field, bringing the total to 160,100 jobs.

According to the BLS Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Winter 2013-14 special issue, speech language pathology ranked 13th out of the 20 large growth occupations that typically require either a master’s, doctoral, or professional degree for entry. ranked speech language pathologist as the 10th best job of 2014.  U.S. News & World Report chose the position as one of the 100 best jobs of 2014.

Data from the US Department of Education shows 61,194 full-time equivalent, fully certified practioners, as well as 1,230 not fully certified as SLPs, were employed to provide services for children and students ages three through 21 across the United States, Bureau of Indian Education Schools, and Puerto Rico.

Part of the reason for the increase in demand for SLPs lies in the fact that the large Baby Boomer population is growing older. As they age, there is an increase in health conditions causing speech or language impairments, including hearing loss and strokes.

As research continues to bring awareness to speech and language disorders in younger children, there is an increased demand for more SLPs who specialize in treating children. Medical advances are helping to improve the survival rate of premature infants, as well as victims of strokes and trauma. Many of these people require help from SLPs.

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