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A career in speech language pathology has an 85 percent job satisfaction rate, a retention rate of 11-35 years and a higher-than-average job growth rate. But is this career path right for you?

What is the Role of Speech-Language Pathologists?

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) assesses, diagnosis and treats speech-language disorders.

What Are Speech-Language Disorders?

A person with a speech disorder can experience the following:

  • problems with voice or resonance;
  • difficulty pronouncing words or speaking fluently; or,
  • difficulty producing sounds correctly.

A person with a language disorder has difficulty:

·         understanding others as they speak;

·         sharing their own thoughts, ideas, and feelings; or,

·         properly using language—cognitively, functionally or socially.

Speech-language disorders can be a result of:

  • genetics;
  • illness or medical condition; or,
  • injury.

Methods of Helping Patients and Their Families

There are many ways a speech-language pathologist helps patients and their families, including:

  • Providing training and rehabilitation for the deaf or hard of hearing
  • Providing augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for patients with severe difficulty expressing or comprehending language, including patients with neurological or autism-spectrum disorders
  • Educating family members on the patient’s condition and on improving communication with the patient
  • Collaborate with patients’ caregivers, medical providers, teachers or employers

Where Do Speech Pathologists Work?

Due to the demand for SLPs, you can find full-time, part-time, PRN, and virtual opportunities. There are opportunities in a variety of settings, including:

  • Clinics or private practices
  • Colleges and universities - teaching, research and clinical supervision
  • Education - early intervention, preschool, K–12
  • Federal, state or local government agencies
  • Hospitals - acute care, rehabilitation and psychiatric hospitals (in patient and out patient)
  • Counseling or consultative services
  • Residential healthcare facilities
  • Non-residential healthcare facilities
  • Corporations
  • Uniformed services for active military personnel and veterans

What’s Needed to Be Successful?

Helping patients with speech-language disorders can be very rewarding. But it’s also a big responsibility. Although a master’s degree and a state license are required, more is needed to be successful.

Success is measured by your effectiveness in helping improve the quality of life for your patients. Love for patient care and a desire to apply what you’ve learned, to learn from experienced SLPs and to acquire new skills and techniques are crucial to success. You also need to have and maintain the following qualities:

  • Willingness to work with and respect diverse clients, patients, family members and professionals
  • Ability to communicate accurately, clearly and simply
  • Accept constructive criticism, suggestions and advice
  • Accuracy and timeliness
  • Active listening
  • Critical thinking
  • Excellent vision and hearing to evaluate, identify, discriminate and understand speech and language issues, and to recommend treatment
  • Exemplary reading, speaking and writing skills
  • Good mental health and stress management
  • Good physical health and stamina
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Honesty, integrity and confidentiality
  • Professional, ethical conduct
  • Willingness to learn

Are You Interested in Opportunities?

At WSi, we can help you find rewarding opportunities as a speech-language pathologist at facilities that match your interests and career goals. Join our network.