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Career Overview: Works with patients who suffer from speech ailments that affect daily life.
Career Salary Range: $57,000 to $75,000+
Become a Speech Pathologist
The primary responsibility of the Speech Pathologist is to help individuals use their voices to the best of their abilities in an attempt to get them to speak words and sounds clearly. Many children are born with speech issues that require the assistance of Speech Pathologists, while some individuals go through unfortunate events like car accidents or strokes that lead to impaired speech.
Specific speech problems that require the assistance of Speech Pathologists include stuttering, unwanted accents, inappropriate pitch, and more. Basically, the Speech Pathologist plans specific treatments for each patient and then executes those treatments in hopes of finding a cure for their speech problems. Depending on the patient and the ailment, Speech Pathologists sometimes incorporate singing and music into their treatment approach.
Many Speech Pathologists work within public schools, while other work out of their own private practice or in colleges, universities, clinics, hospitals, hearing centers, government agencies and more. There are also Speech Pathologists who undertake research projects that are designed to develop and produce new methods or equipment in this field.
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On average, Speech Pathologists can expect to earn between $57,000 and $75,000 depending on their work setting and the patients they tend to. For example, those working in elementary and secondary schools will earn less than those working in hospitals or care facilities.
Because there are a variety of different settings the Speech Pathologist can work in, employment prospects are fair. One can find jobs with public and private schools, health centers, care facilities, hospitals, research units, and more. Once can even begin their own private practice.
Career advancement for the Speech Pathologist can occur when one is promoted to a supervisory role. It can also happen when one moves from work in a school into a position with a more prestigious facility. Advancement also occurs when one opens their own practice.
Education and Training
Speech Pathologists are usually required to hold master’s degrees in most states. Also, some states will only grant licenses to those individuals who took courses and graduated from a Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology recognized institution.
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Experience, Skills, and Personality
Those with a background in anatomy, physiology, disorders and acoustics principles usually fare best. Successful Speech Pathologists must have an understanding nature and should have patience when dealing with patients. Confidence in their abilities and a passion for what they do is also necessary for aspiring Speech Pathologists.
Unions and Associations
Speech Pathologists may belong to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), which is the organization that strives to provide quality services for professionals in this industry.
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Check with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) for information on opportunities for Speech Pathologists.
- Ask school advisors about licensing requirements and what you need to do to become a licensed Speech Pathologist in your state.
- Research and send your resume and cover letter to those institutions that employ Speech Pathologists.
- Check for opportunities and availability online.