Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Career Spotlight: Speech Pathologist

Fresh Start Women’s Foundation Career Spotlight December 2013
Laura Morrison GradSchools.com

Welcome to the start of a monthly career spotlight blog series created by the team at GradSchools.com, an educational directory and resource for adult learners interested in pursuing a graduate degree.  Deciding to invest in your education is a huge decision, one that should be made only after careful planning and evaluation of all available options.  One way you may want to start thinking about your educational decisions is to consider what you want your life to look like after you graduate: How much money do you hope to earn? How much flexibility do you need in your career? Are you willing to relocate to pursue a career? What is the anticipated job growth in your field? In this series we will provide an overview of the job outlook, salary data, daily life, and educational requirements of selected careers in hopes that one of these spotlights will help you decide what you want to be when you grow up.

Okay, the first career spotlight is “Princess” just kidding (even though that does sound nice), in the interest of staying grounded in reality, let’s explore career options for Speech Pathologists.  If you have children or know people who have children you have probably heard about speech pathologists and you may have wondered what exactly they do and how exactly they got onto this career path.  Let’s take a closer look at what it is like to be a speech pathologist.

A speech pathologist is someone who works to diagnose and treat communication and swallowing disorders.  They are generally employed within the educational or healthcare system, but they might also work in private practice, at an agency, or at rehabilitation facilities.  Most states require speech pathologists to obtain licensure, licensure requirements vary by state, but in general SLP’s are required to have earned a master’s degree from an accredited speech pathology program and have completed several hundred hours of supervised clinical training.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics speech pathologists earn a median annual salary of $69,870, and employment of speech pathologists is expected to grow by 23% between 2010 and 2020, and  most speech pathologists are employed full time.    

Interested in this career, great, now let’s dispel some common myths about speech pathologists:

Myth: Speech pathologists only work with children.

Fact:  Speech Pathologists are trained to work with individuals suffering from a communication or swallowing disorders.  This can include people of all ages and walks of life.  Speech pathologists are employed by schools, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, and hospitals or health care centers. 

Myth: Speech pathologists are glorified teachers.

Fact: The educational requirements for speech pathologists more closely resemble those of a person in the healthcare field.  Speech pathologists are often required to take courses in anatomy, biology, neurology, and physiology, to name a few.  They are also usually required to complete several hundred hours of supervised clinical training in a variety of institutional settings.

Myth: Speech pathologists spend most of their time doing arts and crafts or playing games with their clients.

Fact:  While crafts and games are often used in speech therapy to encourage interaction, speech pathologists do much more than sit around cutting out squares and circles or playing guess who.  A good speech pathologist knows how to make therapy fun, but while their clients are playing SLP’s are working hard to ensure the activity is helping to improve their client’s ability to communicate.

In addition to a comfortable median salary, and potentially varied job opportunities, speech pathology was listed as number 19 in Forbes magazine’s list of the Top 20 Best Paying Jobs for Women in 2013.  If you are interested in learning more about careers in speech pathology visit GradSchools.com to search for programs or browse our resources section.

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