If you are wanting to make a difference in the lives of others and help people communicate effectively and confidently, a career as a speech-language pathologist might be the perfect fit. Working with individuals of all ages, you get to use your skills and knowledge of language processing and communication disorders to help these patients overcome their challenges.
However, becoming a speech-language pathologist isn’t a walk in the park. It requires dedication, specialized training, and perseverance. But the rewards of working in this field can far outweigh the hard work it takes to become a speech-language pathologist. To help you understand this career path, here are some helpful insights into speech pathology as a career choice.
What is a Speech Language Pathologist?
A speech-language pathologist (SLP) is a professional who evaluates and treats individuals with speech, language, and communication and swallowing disorders. An SLP may also help people recover language skills after injuries or after undergoing throat or oral surgery.
Speech therapy also plays a critical role in scenarios when patients need to re-learn speech after neurological episodes such as strokes. Speech-language pathologists work with patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly. They work in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, clinics, private practices, and nursing homes.
What You Need to Become a Speech Language Pathologist
To become a speech language pathologist, you will need to earn a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from an accredited institution that has an SLP master’s program. You will also need to pass the national exams for speech-language pathology, which are administered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. All states in the US require SLPs to be licensed. In the UK, you must register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to practice as a speech therapist or pathologist.
Why Speech Pathology Could Be A Good Career Choice for You
If you are looking for a lasting career in the medical field that offers good pay and job security, speech pathology could be a good choice for you. The demand for speech-language pathologists is expected to grow by 21 percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations.
There are a number of reasons why speech pathology could be a good career choice for you. First, as a speech-language pathologist, you would help people communicate more effectively. This can be a very rewarding experience, as you would see the positive impact of your work on people’s lives.
Second, speech pathology is a growing field. As the population ages, there will be an increasing need for speech-language pathologists to help people with communication disorders resulting from stroke, Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other conditions that commonly affect cognitive function in elderly populations.
Third, speech pathology is a well-paid profession. The median annual salary for speech-language pathologists was $79,060 in 2021, according to the BLS. And those with advanced degrees and certifications can earn even more.
Fourth, speech-language pathologists typically enjoy good job security. Because the demand for these professionals is expected to grow so rapidly in the coming years, there should be plenty of job opportunities available. In fact, the BLS projects that nearly 30,000 new jobs will open up in this field by 2024
Different Ways You Can Use Your Degree in Speech Pathology
As a speech language pathologist, you can work in a number of different settings, including hospitals, schools, private practices, and research facilities. You can also work with a variety of populations, from infants to the elderly. Here are some specific ways you can use your degree in speech pathology.
Hospitals: You can work in inpatient or outpatient settings, helping patients with stroke rehabilitation, voice disorders, swallowing disorders, and more.
Schools: You can work with children of all ages to help them improve their communication skills. This may involve working with students who have disabilities, such as autism or hearing impairments.
Private practices: You can open your own private practice or work in an existing one. In this setting, you’ll provide individualized therapy to clients with a variety of communication disorders.
Research: You can use your knowledge of speech pathology to contribute to important research projects. This may involve conducting studies on new treatment methods or participating in clinical trials for new therapies.
How Speech Pathology Can Be a Rewarding Career
As a speech pathologist, you are essentially assisting people how to express themselves to the world. When you really think about this, you’ll see that giving others the gift of communication can be exceedingly rewarding.
Furthermore, as an SLP, you have the opportunity to form a bond with your patients and clients in ways that are meaningful for you both. You might also work with families and caregivers to help them better understand and support the needs of their loved ones which can also be a source of great satisfaction for you and them.
Ultimately, seeing the progress that clients make as they overcome communication disorders can be very gratifying. Knowing that you have helped someone to improve their quality of life is a great feeling – not to mention, you are making a huge difference in the lives of those you serve.