Understanding a Career in Speech-Language Pathology

Understanding a Career in Speech-Language Pathology
Speech-language pathology is a booming career path filled with life-long learning, problem solving and daily challenges. Recently ranked number 20 on U.S. News and World Report’s Best Health Care Jobs list and number 28 on The 100 Best Jobs list, this promising profession is projected to grow faster than average (21 percent) within a 10-year timeframe, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

What Does a Speech-Language Pathologist Do?

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to assess, diagnose and treat speech, language, social, communication, cognitive-communication and swallowing disorders in both children and adults.

SLPs treat a variety of disorders such as:
  • Articulation disorders
  • Voice and resonance disorders
  • Fluency (stuttering) disorders
  • Receptive and expressive language (speaking, listening, reading and writing) disorders
  • Feeding and swallowing disorders
  • Cognitive disorders – affecting memory, attention, reasoning, problem solving, orientation, judgment, or executive functioning
  • Social communication disorders – affecting one’s ability to use and interpret language in social situations
  • Accent modification – modifying or reducing accented speech for non-native English speakers or speakers with regional accents
Since SLPs work with a range of individuals on a daily basis; they may have clients as young as newborns who have nursing difficulties through geriatric clients who have deficits in organizing their thoughts and speech after a stroke. Many of their clients’ speech-language and communication disorders stem from certain conditions such as autism, strokes, traumatic brain injuries and ALS among others.

While working as an SLP, there may also be the need for cross-disciplinary collaboration with other professionals because the disorder you are treating involves other body systems, such as the auditory system. Co-management of a disorder with an audiologist may be required to ensure all aspects of a client’s condition are being attended to and treated in the best way possible.

Where Do Speech-Language Pathologists Work?Where Do Speech-Language Pathologists Work?

SLPs practice in a variety of clinical settings including hospitals, public and private schools, rehabilitation facilities and private practices. They can also focus on the academic aspect of the field by teaching classes to burgeoning SLPs at the undergraduate and graduate levels or conducting research, which has recently become a growing facet of the industry, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Qualifications to become a Speech-Language Pathologist

Typically, a master’s level degree is needed to practice as a professional SLP. Nearly every state requires SLPs to be licensed, which includes the appropriate educational training and supervised clinical experiences. A Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) is required through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, which further strengthens the credentials of an SLP.

Salus University’s Speech-Language Pathology Program

Salus University’s Master of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology provides future SLPs with a strong academic, scientific and clinical foundation for their future careers. Housed in the University’s College of Education and Rehabilitation, the SLP program incorporates challenging coursework in specific areas such as aphasia, motor speech disorders and autism spectrum disorders in conjunction with early clinical experience.

Students work in the University’s on-campus clinical facility, the Speech-Language Institute, at the onset of their first year. Under the clinical supervision of professional SLPs, students work with a variety of clients to hone their clinical skills in a multitude of real-world situations. Students also rotate through several off-site externships throughout their academic career to experience various authentic working environments for SLPs such as hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, schools and community outreach events.

Salus University’s Speech-Language Pathology Program

In addition to their coursework and clinical experiences, Salus students have opportunities to present at professional conferences, conduct research, become involved in the University’s chapter of the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association and network with potential employers through the Bennett Career Services Center.

Learn More About Our SLP Program