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How to Become Speech-Language Pathologist

How to Become Speech-Language Pathologist

If you are able to communicate without difficulties, you are blessed with one of the most precious gifts. Imagine how different your life could be if you were not able to communicate again. It means you wouldn’t be able to express your thoughts, needs and desires. Working as a speech-language gives you the chance to diagnose, assess treat and help curb speech, language, swallowing, fluency, cognitive, voice communication and various other associated disorders. This profession is related but detached from audiology.

What Do Speech-Language Pathologists Do?

Speech-language pathologists work in a range of environments such as schools, hospitals, private practices and skilled nursing facilities. Even though their job is not physically demanding, it requires attention to detail, intense concentration and specialized skills and knowledge. The clients as well as their families’ emotional needs might appear to be demanding. Additionally, speech-language pathologists might need to travel to various facilities to carry out the following tasks:

  • Monitoring patient’s progress and adjusting treatments accordingly
  • Writing reports and maintaining proper documentation of data such as caseload activities, billing or Medicaid records as well as initial evaluation, progress, treatment and discharge of patients
  • Participating in in meetings writing reports about patient’s progress
  • Completing administrative duties such as scheduling case management undertakings, coordinating paperwork, and documenting lesson plans
  • developing group or individual programs and activities in schools to deal with language, speech, behavior, or swallowing problems
  • Instructing clients in techniques for more efficient communication for instance lip reading, sign language and voice improvement
  • Educating patients and family relationships on a variety of topics such as ways to avoid or cope with personal misunderstandings or communication techniques


In 2012, the median annual salary for speech-language pathologists was $69,870. Their pay has risen at a high rate in recent few years. The best paid speech-language pathologist earned a median annual salary of $107,650 while the lowest paid received a median annual salary of $44,380. Below is the median annual salary in the best paying cities.



Sherman, Texas


New Bedford, Massachusetts


Bowling Green, Kentucky


Ocala, Florida


Chico, California


Source: usnews



Speech-language pathologists work with individuals of various ages in a variety of contexts including hospitals, clinics, universities, schools among others. Below are the imperative qualities for these experts:

  • Emotional stability
  • Capability to face problems with a scientific approach
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Active listening to offer full attention to others
  • Critical thinking to use reasoning and logic to determine weaknesses and strengths of alternative resolutions, approaches and conclusions to problems
  • Reading comprehension
  • Social perceptiveness to be wary of other people’s understanding and reactions and understand why they act so
  • Speech eloquence
  • Judgment and decision making abilities
  • Active learning and monitoring abilities


Individuals aspiring to obtain undergraduate education might pursue a bachelor’s degree that consists of coursework in communications and biological sciences. However, a master’s degree in speech and language pathology is generally acknowledged the minimum requirement to become a speech-language therapists. These programs are acknowledged by the CAA which is an affiliate of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. These programs are offered at educational institutions that are associated with medical schools. The didactic coursework consists of:

  • Phonetics
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Linguistics and phonology
  • Scientific methods
  • Communication

Training programs include various clinical experiences in the speech and language pathology coursework. Students have to complete 25-40 hours of field administered training to complete their degree. Once they graduate, they complete another year of clinically administered process before gaining eligibility to work independently.

Most states require these professionals to obtain licensure upon finishing their curriculum. This can be obtained by completing the ASHA certification exam. Those pathologists who are willing to pursue doctorate degree programs are open to careers in education and research. PhD programs take about 3-5 years to finish. The first two years are accorded to coursework in the preferred specialty of concentration. The students are then later paired with a mentor, the period within which they gather research and lab experience. A large number of institutions require their students to pass a comprehensive test to secure doctoral candidacy. PhD students on the other hand are required to complete a dissertation.

Career Prospects

There has been a rising trend of instances of health problems causing language and speech impairments in recent years. According to BLS, employment in speech-language pathology is projected to increase 19% from 2012-2022, which is actually faster compared to many other professions.

Speech language pathology as a profession is rated to be among the best occupations for the varying job landscape. Eligible speech-language pathologists who have pursued doctoral and PhD programs are able to administer organizations and agencies, train future pathologists in various institutions, undertake research and develop more efficient treatment and diagnosis programs. Therefore, if you would like decent pay, love working with people, and helping them, this is an ideal career for you.

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