Too Old For a Career Change to SLP?

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (23)

speakeasy in Cleveland, Ohio

72 months ago

Hi. I am a 51-year old woman who is considering a career change into SLP. Because of the pre-req courses I would need, I am looking at starting the program in Fall 2013 at 53. So I won't finish until 2015 at age 55. Yikes! My concern is, would I even get hired at that age? Two things: I do look a lot younger than my age. I also work at a college so all the pre-req courses would be free. Please be honest! I would especially like to hear from hiring personnel as to whether you would hesitate to hire a newbie in their mid-50s. Thanks!!!

- Was this comment helpful?
Reply - Report abuse

speakeasy in Medina, Ohio

72 months ago

slp girl in Compton, California said: speakeasy, i am an older person also considering this career change. i'm wondering also if the hiring practices vary from state to state?

Well, I suppose it comes down to supply and demand. If there is an abundant supply of SLPs in a given area then I would think the competition would be fierce. However, if one is in an area where jobs outnumber applicants then the chances of an older applicant getting hired would be better. Oh, and one more thing....it also depends on the age of the person hiring you ;)

- Was this comment helpful?
Reply - Report abuse

MidLifer in San Fernando, California

70 months ago

I am 51 and I am thinking of going in to SLP as a career change also. I have a bachelor's in communicative disorders. I have been laid off as a teacher and can't stand the constant threats of losing my job every March because of the lack of money. It is so competitive getting into grad school and some of the school's SLP departments are so snooty. I had a really tough time at CSUN. After I got my degree, the dean of the master's program denied me entrance into the SLP program because, as he said, "There is nothing special about you. You don't even speak a second language...go get your masters in special ed and then reapply."
I also heard a young SLP program student's mother, say," they put my daughter through hell and back at CSUN to get her degree... I don't know if all of this is worth it." To bad CSUN is the only CA school that has an online program. I have met speech teachers in my school district that keep saying that there is a great need for SLPs. How can these universities make getting a Master's degree in SLP so difficult? They tell me how they could work 24/7 if they wanted to; that they are constantly getting offers to work-not only in the schools,but in the hospitals or clinical settings. One particular speech teacher said that she got her SLP license in her late 30's. She is now in her 60's, and she is working all the time. Does anybody have any suggestions on really good SLP master options besides CSUN?

- Was this comment helpful?
Reply - Report abuse

new ST in Seattle, Washington

70 months ago

Hi there, I just completed my masters in SLP at Washington State University and it was ... interesting. Considering the field is all about communication, the staff had some of the worst communication skills of all! However, anywhere you go I believe there is going to be difficult circumstances. I had two friends who had complaints about expectations at the Universities of Oregon and Washington. However, another friend was pleased with her experiences at University of Redlands. I am not sure if this is an option for you location wise. However, it may be a good idea to request a tour of the campus clinic/student work room, and meet some of the faculty and current students at any universities you are considering. It is pretty easy to get a vibe about a place based on quick interactions with the faculty students. If they deny you a tour, that might be a good indicator that the university is not somewhere you want to attend!

- Was this comment helpful?
Reply - Report abuse

speakeasy in Brunswick, Ohio

68 months ago

I know at CSU the minimum number of prereq courses that must be complete before one can even apply is 5. Only a few of the prereqs are online and the in-person courses are during the day (at Cleveland State). Ohio State offers all prereqs (they are the same for most schools) online through their Continuing Education department. Check with whatever school you are interested in to see if they accept the online OSU courses.

Yep, I considered Education, too. As I am sure you know, the teaching outlook for newbies is not good right now. But I notice you said Science. If you can teach Science or Math then you have one up on others. Do you have enough Math that you can teach 4-9 Science/Math? That would add even a couple more points to your profile. Plus, you are a male -- another score for you. I think teaching is something one can do through their 60s so you would definitely make it worthy of your time.

I suppose the difference between the two is that you have 25 kids at a time or one child at a time. I think the pay would be comparable between the two although you would probably start out higher as an SLP.

Hope this helps. Let us know how things go.

- Was this comment helpful?
Reply - Report abuse

certain burns in Denver, Colorado

68 months ago

No,

There are several women in my program who have changed their careers in their 50s. Plan on living a long-long time. :)

- Was this comment helpful?
Reply - Report abuse

speakeas in Cleveland, Ohio

61 months ago

Hi just wondering if any of the above folks who replied has made a decision on whether to delve into an SLP program? This summer, I am taking two pre-req courses and plan on applying in next year for the Grad Program. Yeah, at 52 I am certainly the oldest in my courses but, what the heck, they'll all be my age someday. It is really interesting so far. Tim, have you decided on which program you would enter?

- Was this comment helpful?
Reply - Report abuse

Tim in Columbus, Ohio

61 months ago

speakeas in Cleveland, Ohio said: Hi just wondering if any of the above folks who replied has made a decision on whether to delve into an SLP program? This summer, I am taking two pre-req courses and plan on applying in next year for the Grad Program. Yeah, at 52 I am certainly the oldest in my courses but, what the heck, they'll all be my age someday. It is really interesting so far. Tim, have you decided on which program you would enter?

Hi. Since my post, I completed an intro Bio course as a general prereq and am about to complete my first leveling class (Anatomy & Physiology of the Speech Mechanism) through the Univ of Cincinnati on-line program. I'm signed up to take my 2nd leveling class (Language Acquisition) on-line through Univ of Akron. Univ of Akron & Cincinnati have a collaborative on-line program and there are 4 leveling classes that you must take if you do not have a Speech & Hearing undergrad degree. You do not need to complete all 4 before entering the program, but I felt it best to begin them in order to prove to myself and to the program that I can do the work. I still need to take my GRE. Unfortunately, working more than full time already, I just can't handle 2 classes (Having been out of school for so long, I feel that I definitely need to do a Kaplan-like course before taking the GRE) so won't be able to take the GRE in time to apply for Fall 2013. This means 2014 for me.

The on-line program requires AT LEAST 400 clinical hours in a variety of settings. Unless I can find places to do clinical hours in the evenings or on weekends, this will likely mean that I'll need to quit my job and find a part time while I do the clinicals and coursework - which will also mean trying to find ways to save as much cash now as possible. I currently do volunteer work at the Columbus Speech & Hearing Center one evening a week and will be talking to them about doing some clinical hours there.

**************IF ANYONE HAS ANY

- Was this comment helpful?
Reply - Report abuse

Tim in Columbus, Ohio

61 months ago

(continued)

*****************IF ANYONE HAS ANY SUGGESTIONS AS TO PLACES TO GET CLINICAL HOURS IN ON WEEKENDS OR EVENINGS, PLEASE LET ME KNOW****************

How about you?

Best,
Tim

- Was this comment helpful?
Reply - Report abuse

anonymous in Tampa, Florida

57 months ago

I am a first year student at USF, which has an SLP program rated in ~the top 20% of SLP graduate programs.
I was reading through some comments and want to offer some of my thoughts.
I would research the schools to which you may apply, not only on a professional level, but also on a personal level. Talk to students. Ask for their thoughts and feelings about the program. Ask about their workload, their professors, etc. Talk to the teachers. Try and get a idea of the level of care they have for their students. Retention rate is also something to consider.
Please don't underestimate the workload and stress that a master's slp program may give you. It is up to you to decide whether or not it is worth it... but it can seem overwhelming. There is an incredible breadth of material to cover in a relatively short period of time. You may want to look into ASHA's scope of practice for information on this. In addition to your class work load, you have to complete quite a few hours in clinic... don't forget the hours spent preparing for and reviewing sessions. It can take a lot of time.

During orientation we were kindly warned that it was not advisable to work over 20 hours a week while taking a full time courseload. It seems to me that 20 hours of work could be a strain even going part time (3 years instead of 2, at USF).
There is a lot of pressure that you may not fully understand until you are in a program. I hope not to just be a discouragement... I think that SLP is a wonderful field! Certainly very rewarding. However, I want those considering pursuing the road to becoming an SLP to weigh the pros and cons, and truly consider whether or not they are willing and ready to put forth the effort and sacrifice nessesary to make it through.
Best Wishes to you all

- Was this comment helpful?
Reply - Report abuse

anonymous in Tampa, Florida

57 months ago

If you didn't derive it from the text of my prior post, I should have put first year "grad" student.

- Was this comment helpful?
Reply - Report abuse

easytalker in San Jose, California

49 months ago

I am writing to the gals over 55 who are considering changing or going for an MA in SLP. It will be a long time w/no work. CA universities do not support part time MA SLP students. There are only 2 online SLP programs in the country that CA will accept.
I am 64 years old, a certificated SLP in NY, NJ and PA but moved to CA after other SLPs residing here and my age were grandfathered in for a permanent CA SLP credential and I am looking for a job in a school setting (I have done this for over 20 years back east, but now I live in CA). I am working on a waiver from CA which must be renewed each year. I do not have a MA and each time I apply for admission to an SLP masters program I am told that since my undergrad courses are more than 7 years old, I have to start over. Too much money, too much time to spend not working (considering my age).
I have applied and will most likely get an SLPA credential. I live in the SF Bay area where there are no English only SLPA jobs and although I have sent resumes to 60 school districts, have been interviewed and turned down my most.
I think that the districts don't want to deal with renewing my waiver.
I just thought this might save someone considering a change or a move to CA time and energy.
Good luck.

- Was this comment helpful?
Reply - Report abuse

APost in New York, New York

45 months ago

I am considering enrolling in an SLP program, a school psychology program and a Master in Education program for teaching social studies. Does any one know what the job prospects in social studies are like? Is it very low? If its low, I might as well not consider that as I decided not to apply to a school counseling program b/c there aren't any jobs. I know I'd prefer working with students one on one and not in a classroom setting but I am worried about the work of an SLP getting too repetitive or too heavy on paper work. Can someone share their thoughts on this? Is the work of an SLP very stressful and very paper work driven? In your opinion what are the differences in pay, stress and diversity of work between the SLP, school psychologist or teacher?

I want to pick something that is not overly stressful, not excessive in writing and where there is at least some job security.

- Was this comment helpful?
Reply - Report abuse

spkezee1@*****.*** in Clarksville, Tennessee

31 months ago

speakeasy in Cleveland, Ohio said: Hi. I am a 51-year old woman who is considering a career change into SLP. Because of the pre-req courses I would need, I am looking at starting the program in Fall 2013 at 53. So I won't finish until 2015 at age 55. Yikes! My concern is, would I even get hired at that age? Two things: I do look a lot younger than my age. I also work at a college so all the pre-req courses would be free. Please be honest! I would especially like to hear from hiring personnel as to whether you would hesitate to hire a newbie in their mid-50s. Thanks!!!

There is much to be said for maturity and judgement. It is a rewarding profession and you sound as if you will be successful in the field.

- Was this comment helpful?
Reply - Report abuse

Liz in Cincinnati, Ohio

19 months ago

Hi, everyone. I am 41, live in Dayton, Ohio, and am looking into starting the online SLP program through Univ of Cincinnati.

Tim (if you're still around: Besides the "leveling" courses, what other prerequisite courses did you have to satisfy? I earned my BA in English in 1997, so I'm expecting to have to complete some additional undergraduate courses. I took a lot of non-required courses when getting my English degree -- in biology, psychology, art -- just because they interested me, so I do have a pretty well-rounded educational background, but who knows what they still consider "valid" after nearly 20 years.

I currently work full time as a technical writer and am considering pursuing a job as a school paraprofessional in order to gain experience in a school setting while working toward my degree, and so I can have the flexibility to be off work (and hence not have daycare costs) the same days/times my 4-year-old will be out of school when she starts kindergarten next fall. I know paraprofessional jobs do not pay much, and my husband makes only about $30K, so it will definitely be a struggle financially.

- Was this comment helpful?
Yes
/ No
Reply - Report abuse

Annie in New York, New York

5 months ago

speakeasy in Cleveland, Ohio said: Hi. I am a 51-year old woman who is considering a career change into SLP. Because of the pre-req courses I would need, I am looking at starting the program in Fall 2013 at 53. So I won't finish until 2015 at age 55. Yikes! My concern is, would I even get hired at that age? Two things: I do look a lot younger than my age. I also work at a college so all the pre-req courses would be free. Please be honest! I would especially like to hear from hiring personnel as to whether you would hesitate to hire a newbie in their mid-50s. Thanks!!!

So how is it going? You last posted this 67 months ago. Did you complete your prerequisites and get into speech pathology grad school. Would love to hear an update to your story. I am in my mid 40's and just starting the process taking the GRE's and prerequisites etc.

- Was this comment helpful?
Yes
/ No
Reply - Report abuse

Annie in New York, New York

5 months ago

easytalker in San Jose, California said: I am writing to the gals over 55 who are considering changing or going for an MA in SLP. It will be a long time w/no work. CA universities do not support part time MA SLP students. There are only 2 online SLP programs in the country that CA will accept.
I am 64 years old, a certificated SLP in NY, NJ and PA but moved to CA after other SLPs residing here and my age were grandfathered in for a permanent CA SLP credential and I am looking for a job in a school setting (I have done this for over 20 years back east, but now I live in CA). I am working on a waiver from CA which must be renewed each year. I do not have a MA and each time I apply for admission to an SLP masters program I am told that since my undergrad courses are more than 7 years old, I have to start over. Too much money, too much time to spend not working (considering my age).
I have applied and will most likely get an SLPA credential. I live in the SF Bay area where there are no English only SLPA jobs and although I have sent resumes to 60 school districts, have been interviewed and turned down my most.
I think that the districts don't want to deal with renewing my waiver.
I just thought this might save someone considering a change or a move to CA time and energy .
Good luck.

Once you get the Masters and register with ASHA, there is no shortage of SLP jobs. How did you become an SLP without a Masters - I am assuming that when you became an SLP, only a bachelors degree was required? If so, should you not have the same SLP status as those who have the Masters?

- Was this comment helpful?
Yes
/ No
Reply - Report abuse

speakeasy in Olmsted Falls, Ohio

1 month ago

I am the OP on this thread and just wanted to say that I never did pursue an SLP program. I am now 57 and only 51 when I first posted. I wish I would have -- I would have been done by now. Since then I got divorced after 23 years of marriage and am now struggling to make it on my own making nonly $30K a year as an administrative assistant. Surely, it is too late for me now but for anyone who thinks your early 50s is too old I say go for it.

- Was this comment helpful?
Yes
/ No
Reply - Report abuse

Windy in Las Cruces, New Mexico

1 month ago

speakeasy in Olmsted Falls, Ohio said: I am the OP on this thread and just wanted to say that I never did pursue an SLP program. I am now 57 and only 51 when I first posted. I wish I would have -- I would have been done by now. Since then I got divorced after 23 years of marriage and am now struggling to make it on my own making nonly $30K a year as an administrative assistant . Surely, it is too late for me now but for anyone who thinks your early 50s is too old I say go for it.

I am 57 and will start my 2nd BS in Communication Disorders this summer. Its late, but not TOO late. I know of people in their mid 70s still working as SLPs.

- Was this comment helpful?
Yes
/ No
Reply - Report abuse

mimi in Clayton, North Carolina

1 month ago

speakeasy in Olmsted Falls, Ohio said: I am the OP on this thread and just wanted to say that I never did pursue an SLP program. I am now 57 and only 51 when I first posted. I wish I would have -- I would have been done by now. Since then I got divorced after 23 years of marriage and am now struggling to make it on my own making nonly $30K a year as an administrative assistant . Surely, it is too late for me now but for anyone who thinks your early 50s is too old I say go for it.

why not still go? i dont think youre too old for it. if youre good youre good. i am rooting for you

- Was this comment helpful?
Yes
/ No
Reply - Report abuse

Ginger in Springfield, New Jersey

28 days ago

Hi - In my late 40s, I went back to school full time. and earned my SLP master's degree 3 years ago. I'm currently in my 50s and have been working as a school-based SLP of 3 years. I'm now considering taking the GRE and applying to full-time research doctoral programs to earn a PhD that will enable me to work/teach at the university level. (For those wondering why I'm considering this, my children will soon all be in college giving me greater flexibility to attend school and move, if necessary, I loved and easily handled school for my SLP masters, and I'd like to do something greater and more challenging in the field.)

Hoping to receive input on the following questions:

Am I too old to start this study program?

Should the PhD be in communication sciences or a related discipline (linguistics, psychology)?

What are the job prospects, given that by the time I would earn the PhD and would be looking for a university job I would be in my late 50s?

Thanks!

- Was this comment helpful?
Yes
/ No
Reply - Report abuse

Ginger in Springfield, New Jersey

28 days ago

Ginger in Springfield, New Jersey said: Hi - In my late 40s I went back to school full time and earned my SLP master's degree 3 years ago. I'm currently in my 50s and have been working as a school-based SLP for 3 years. I'm now considering taking the GRE and applying to full-time research doctoral programs to earn a PhD that will enable me to work/teach at the university level. (For those wondering why I'm considering this, my children will soon all be in college giving me greater flexibility to attend school and move, if necessary, I loved and easily handled school for my SLP masters, and I'd like to do something greater and more challenging in the field.)

Hoping to receive input on the following questions:

Am I too old to start this study program?

Should the PhD be in communication sciences or a related discipline (linguistics, psychology)?

What are the job prospects, given that by the time I would earn the PhD and would be looking for a university job I would be in my late 50s?

Thanks!

Edited

- Was this comment helpful?
Yes
/ No
Reply - Report abuse

Windy in Aurora, Minnesota

13 hours ago

I would contact someone with a PhD working in the field at a University. They will be able to answer your questions about which field to study based on your interests and goals. I would also ask for info on jobs. I do know (from talking with my program director) that the reason there is such a shortage of SLPs is because there is a relative shortage of PhD's to teach them. However, I don't know if that shortage translates into demand.

As for your age you already know it isn't too late. If you breezed through your Masters you should finish in 3 years. The only limitation is your health and how many years you are willing to work, and if the jobs you want are available. I feel comfortable knowing I can get a job as an SLP even if I'm in my 60's when I graduate. If there isn't a similarly high demand for professors, you'd have tougher competition against a lot of younger people.

- Was this comment helpful?
Yes
/ No
Reply - Report abuse

» Sign in or create an account to comment on this topic.