I'm torn between becoming a Speech Language Pathologist or Occupational Therapist?

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Lauren in Westminster, California

27 months ago

MoreShore I just read your post and even though I'm not an SLP have you thought of relocating to find job opportunities that are more up your alley? I just want to say that I feel for you in regards to working with the severely autistic. I was a behavior therapist for a short period of time and I felt sooo in over my head, bless their hearts but it wasn't for me at all and it's refreshing to hear someone else admit this.

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MoreShorePls in New Jersey

27 months ago

Lauren in Westminster, California said: MoreShore I just read your post and even though I'm not an SLP have you thought of relocating to find job opportunities that are more up your alley? I just want to say that I feel for you in regards to working with the severely autistic. I was a behavior therapist for a short period of time and I felt sooo in over my head, bless their hearts but it wasn't for me at all and it's refreshing to hear someone else admit this.

Hi Lauren, I can't even imagine being a behavior therapist! What did you end up switching to instead (maybe it will give me ideas)?? It seems like that's what a lot of the SLPs in my area are essentially doing now, though, as they pretty much all work in schools with autistic kids. I just feel so stupid for somehow not realizing this during grad school, it's like I had all of these pie-in-the-sky ideas of what actual SLP jobs would be like that were so far from reality. I don't know where the straight-forward artic/language cases at cushy school/private practice jobs that end at 3 p.m. actually exist, but it seems completely impossible to find them. Anywhere. ESPECIALLY as a CF/"new" grad.

ANYWAY, to answer your question. I have looked in other states but it seems to be a trend across the country that 99% of jobs for Clinical Fellows are with kids and/or autism, or adult swallowing. Not to mention, job boards are FLOODED with contract companies which makes it very hard to find an actual, existing position sometimes too.

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D in Western W in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

27 months ago

Christopher Vanburn in Montesano, Washington said: I am an OT who specializes in upper thoracic and shoulder impairments. I am a full time consultant to three group orthopedic practices and to national steel fabrication company. I have only a BS in OT. You see, it is up to you.

Respectfully, it's really up to the licensing requirements in the state where you practice. In WI, the licensing for even OTAs is a high bar.

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D in Western W in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

27 months ago

Cpowers in Las Vegas, Nevada said: I am also torn. I wanted to complete a speech language pathology degree and I am declared and working on pre-speech pathology requisites right now but I am 63 and by the time I get my masters I will probably be 67. Am I too old for this job?

YOU'RE not to old, but in truth, the people who interview you may think you are. If you know anyone in HR ask them to tell you honestly if they'd hire someone of your age. And, consider how long it will take you to pay for your degree and how many more years you intend to work. If money/compensation isn't an issue for you, then GO FOR IT!

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SLP Babe in Ogden, Utah

26 months ago

After reading the majority of comments on this post, I hope that the narcissistic Jazzy finally got out of the speech assistant profession, especially after whining about it for over THREE YEARS! After working as a certified SLP for twenty years, I can honestly say that caring about students and their progress is always foremost in a therapist's mind if you are someone one who should be in the profession. There is also a huge difference in the amount of knowledge obtained by an SLP with a master's degree vs. an SLP assistant...By the way, I have had EXCELLENT assistants who have been instrumental in helping my students achieve great progress, but the "fabulous"and self-absorbed Jazzy would not come close to any of them... Slow progress and working with developmentally delayed people are just not enough to feed her ego that needs to be "challenged" all of the time, and if progress isn't made, it's because it's "developmental" and/or boring, but it would NEVER be Jazzy's attitude. I hope that she finds a job worthy of her self-perceived tremendous intellect and need for many pats on her own back...The helping professions are for people who want to help OTHERS and not about how exciting it will be for them, and certainly not about how much of a "rush" they'll get blessing people with their presence. In her mind, it's "Jazzy's World", and we're all just a part of it.

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MsSlp in Fletcher, North Carolina

26 months ago

Thank you, no one is making you work in this field, if you hate being an SLP or an OT please leave the field, there are plenty of people out there who need jobs and would be able to find a silver lining in this career and stop whining about how pointless their job is, the grass is the greenest where you water it, I am so happy I can pay my bills, live a very comfortable life, and help people to boot!

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SLP Babe in Ogden, Utah

26 months ago

MsSlp in Fletcher, North Carolina said: Thank you, no one is making you work in this field, if you hate being an SLP or an OT please leave the field, there are plenty of people out there who need jobs and would be able to find a silver lining in this career and stop whining about how pointless their job is, the grass is the greenest where you water it, I am so happy I can pay my bills, live a very comfortable life, and help people to boot!

I agree with you, MsSIp! Our profession has many stressors, but I have also had many rewards...I hate seeing Speech-Language Pathology being trashed by people who don't understand the depth and breadth of what we do in the schools or hospitals. Some people also don't understand how much the vast majority of SLP's do care and do have some great success with our students and clients...When school starts, I will go back to working 12 hour days and doing paperwork and leason planning at home..Our assistants also work hard and do not have tons of "free time" as the ignorant and negative Jazzy has stated. She was either lazy, had a bad attitude, was poorly trained, or was a mixture of all three factors. No one I know came into this profession for the "big bucks" (Ha!), The people I know have chosen this profession because they genuinely care about improving the quality of people's lives. I'm proud to be an SLP.

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SLP Babe in Ogden, Utah

26 months ago

Whoops! "lesson" , not "leason"! Typing on the IPad is tough:-)

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SLP Babe in Ogden, Utah

26 months ago

jazzyjmj in The Colony, Texas said: Oh yeah, as far as science classes go - there is one I haven't taken and that is Microbiology... So i will have to take that first, one semester only... But if I ever want to become a Nurse Practitioner, Midwife, Physician Assistant or Nurse Anesthetist, then i will have to take two semesters Chemistry ..

Who knows? I feel that there are so many possibilities and different career directions to go to in the Hospital ... I feel that there will always be something new that I can try or learn in the hospitals... In Speech or all Therapy Professions, I feel very limited... God I hope it works out!

You feel limited in all therapy positions because you ARE limited by your negativity, narrow mind, and arrogant, rotten attitude...I sure hope that your patients in the hospital are exciting and ego- stroking enough for you. It would be so awful if you were "bored".

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NotJustanSLP in Leesburg, Virginia

25 months ago

I've been an SLP for almost 20 years. I do sympathize with those who find it boring because that's how we tend to burn out. In the past I have taken breaks from the profession to do some other job, maintaining my licenses the whole time and keeping up with CEUs. IN all professions, sometimes people need a sabbatical to regroup and refresh. As for you, MoreShorePls, I had no interest in working with kids, but that's how I got my CCCs. AS soon as I got them I went elsewhere. I have had a good career in both school and healthcare settings, including nursing homes and my own private practice. I'd advise against a CFY in a SNF, though, because you won't get good mentoring most likely. So get the CFY done so you can start paying back your loans (CFY must be a paid position BTW). Once you have your CCCs you can hang out a shingle and figure out if there's a clientele in your area that will pay you for your services. Get a National Provider number so you can register with the insurance companies. If this is all still hateful to you, the next thing to consider is an academic career.

MoreShorePls in New Jersey said: I finished grad school and got my master's degree 2 years ago, but have not even started a Clinical Fellowship because I do not like any of

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NotJustanSLP in Leesburg, Virginia

25 months ago

You said you like the learning part of this, so maybe you should look for a research based career. You'd have to go for a PhD, but maybe it doesn't have to be in communicative disorders. If I were younger I'd consider going into Cognitive Linguistics, because it combines pscyhology, cognition and language, which are all subjects I love to study. University based work is a kind of nice life, IMHO, I know it's hard to get into, but maybe that's where your heart is, as opposed to clinical practice. If it's any consolation, I had also gotten a masters in teaching, and burned out on that profession before my masters thesis was even done, but I finished anyway and got a teaching license in NY as a back up. Good luck.

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jazzyjmj in Frisco, Texas

25 months ago

Hey "SugarPop"!!! If you are out there on this forum and you read this anytime soon... I just wanted to say thanks for what you said about me on Friday at our meeting.. You are my last hope right now and I owe you one! I will try, I will make it work... The good thing is, that I'm not bored! Anyways, thanks and see you tomorrow!

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LoufromLou in Louisville, Kentucky

25 months ago

Hello. I am going to try and enroll in OT school next year. I am very interested in working with wounded veterans. Is there enough of a need where you could do this full time? I also would not mind working in other settings but veterans I feel have been under-served in this country and I have a desire to get them back on track so they can live a productive happy life with their families after their sacrifices for us all.
Also, based on some of the other comments it seems that you will see a lot of patients in one day. Is there even time to develop relationships or is it: sit down for 30 min, examine, take notes, prescribe some exercises and then leave? On to the next patient, then hours of paperwork each night after you get off? With a supervisor harping on you to hurry up and get to the next patient? I hope that isn't the extent of it because that sounds really stressful and boring :/ I know it's not all glamorous, and paperwork and deadlines must be met but I hope there is enough time of helping and connecting with people to make it worthwhile :)

Thank you for your time

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cherryberry7 in Federal Way, Washington

25 months ago

Jazzyjmj in Princeton, Texas said: I don't care if you got my point or not. This is for "Learning Something" or anyone out there who reads this forum trying to find answers or investigate a career. To search deep, you need to hear the facts. That means the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I came to speak the Bad and the Ugly because there wasn't enough of it on this forum. And as I said before, I think everyone needs to know the Bad and the Ugly and not just the Good. Same goes with Marriage, young kids who get into this also need to know the Bad and the Ugly as well. It would be naive not do so. "Learning Something" is just starting out and apparently is having a hard time deciding, that is why she started this forum in the first place. She actually started a forum to try and get a little more information from people who work in the profession. And look what all these posts neglect to talk about, the Con's. That is not a realistic view to give her and if I have the chance to, I will make sure anyone who is considering this career has a full detailed view of what it is like. So, whether you or Tonia or all the others disagree with me, I could care less. "Learning Something" wants answers, she wants details, she wants examples, she wants specifics. And I'm more than happy to give her or anyone the other side of the story, since nobody else seems to be willing to.

To Jazzyjmj,

Thank you so much for being open-minded. All the negativity being spewed up at you is an obvious sign that many of these responders are only looking to hear what they want to hear. As is the case with people, usually and unfortunately. I think that if people cannot entertain other people's ideas (and not necessarily accept them), they are very closed-minded and unrealistic. They are, as you stated, people that will never exit the matrix of our bureaucratic system. Sorry to turn this into politics, but I just needed to show you some love.

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cherryberry7 in Federal Way, Washington

25 months ago

vicque fassinger said: Only boring people get bored.

When you leave someone's house, or a classroom where you worked with a child, what thoughts and feelings ABOUT YOU would you like that individual to have ABOUT YOU? That you were in a hurry? That you were not patient, or kind, or compassionate? Or that you are an amazing, gifted individual who is helping to enhance, empower, and uplift the life of someone in need?
There are GREAT people - authentic people - in every profession. They are great, authentic INDIVIDUALS first - not just with their clients - but with everyone in which they interact throughout their day. Then there are all the rest - the complainers, the bored people, the judgemental boring people -the folks who don't get it and who will never get it except by the grace of God. And that's only if they humble themselves.
UUgggghhh! I cannot read any more of these posts - I am so offended by the lack of compassion and the audacity to talk about someone who must use his mouth to hold a paintbrush like it was a burden for YOU. PLEASE GET OUT OF THE PROFESSION and look for a job that does not involve interacting with people.

Truly creative people are ALWAYS part of the solution and not part of the problem. They think outside the box. They embrace every moment and every opportunity to be of service to others.
uuuggghh.

There are too many grammatical errors throughout these posts, how can u be an SLP? And God is a huge lie, learn.

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cherryberry7 in Federal Way, Washington

25 months ago

LoufromLou in Louisville, Kentucky said: Actually, your statement has grammatical errors as well.

It's correct for internet-usage grammar. As in, you can understand what I'm typing. Let me rephrase, if you would like to be particular with me:

There are too many grammatical errors throughout these posts. How can you be an SLP? And God is a HUGE lie. Learn.

It just seems all the more emphatic that way too...thanks for the tips. I will no longer waste my time on nitpickers like you (and all other disillusioned people on this forum). Good day.

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cherryberry7 in Federal Way, Washington

25 months ago

Addendum:

I would like to give a HUGE thanks to Jazzy and the Australian SLP (maybe y'all are better educated over there...away from us American crazy lazies). You have both opened my mind up and have revealed extremely insightful information rather than being persistent about absolutely nothing. It's seriously like these people are driving themselves into a wall.

For the student who was applying to NOVA simply b/c he she was rejected from other schools...perhaps that's a reason to reconsider the profession. A school with such low acceptance standards may be more of a false pretense than a real solution. It's OKAY to have reality checks.

In fact, I would argue that it's veritably HEALTHY for the American populace to check ourselves often. That is the number one problem with the U.S. now. We feel entitled as U.S. citizens to be "correct" when no learning has occurred in our feeble minds. Please, I wish for all of us to be more humble and more open with our perspectives. With the elections coming up, people are increasingly playing the blame game. Oh it's the Democrats, it's the Republicans' fault! WTF...what if it's (gasp) YOUR fault? What if, in fact, we each have individual possession of our minds and have a capacity to re-evaluate what others have maintained to be true (with/without veritable evidence).
If there is scientific evidence for something, DO look at it. Please, for the future of humanity!

Ok, fine, I admit I made a few hypocritical grammatical mistakes in my last post...but I corrected it. My bad. But as you can tell, it seems like I have articulated my current post fairly well, and I am ok with being wrong so long as I learn from it. Essentially, it can be a grave error to so quickly take something for its face value without further evaluation.

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beekind in Albuquerque, New Mexico

24 months ago

cherryberry7 could you please give me some advice on how to maintain license and CEUs when not practicing as an SLP? I am a school-based SLP and would like to take a long break in the next few years to pursue an artistic career. How long can you take leave from being an SLP - would a couple of years be too long? Would it be hard to get a job after leaving the job for awhile? Would you still have to pay annual dues/fees to ASHA and the state?

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drwspeech in New York, New York

24 months ago

Cherryberry, I think as long as you keep your state license active by forking over the dollars when they are due, and keeping up on the required number of CEU hours then you should be fine at the state level. It will go the same for ASHA. That will at least keep all of your credentials current, and you won't have to go through the painstaking process of collecting all of your graduate paperwork and CFY info for recert and relicensing. I've known a few people who have unintentionally let their licenses and certificates lapse, and they have huge regret for doing so (it's a lot of work to get them all back). It's more expensive to keep everything active (and to keep up with the CEUs), but if you want to keep the option of returning to the field, you'd be smart to keep everthing current. As far as I can tell, you don't have to be employed in order to maintain a license, you just have to have the qualifications (degree/education, Continuing ed hours, and the fees). As for getting a job after a leave of absence....that's probably just more about your skill level and what you can negotiate with a potential employer. But, at least you would be able to go to a job interview with current/actives licenses which shows dedication to the field. Hope that helps.

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Lucy in Columbia, Missouri

24 months ago

I haven't read all of the replies to the person wanting to know whether she should become an OT or an ST, but I have read enough to offer some assistance, as I am a 35 year "veteran" speech pathologist who has a daughter who is an OT. OT and ST are considered to be closely related as they can both deal with cognitive issues. My daughter and I have ongoing conversations about the entertwining of these two professions and the talks never mention anythng about boredom.

As to the "boring" aspect for my work, I can tell you that being a public school ST is everything BUT boring. I have dealt with all aspects of ST work, from simple articulation disorders all the way to working with students who have had strokes and lack language skills that they once had. In one school system, I was the only therapist, K-12. I was there for 25 years. I also have been involved with hundreds of evaluations, IEP meetings, progress reports, personality differences among faculty, staff, and administration, school policies, and expectations outside this field (yes, speech therapists in schools often must do bus, cafeteria, recess, and after school duties).

I have planned lessons for students who can't produce adequate /r/ sounds and we have had a lot of fun maneuvering our tongues for production of the sound. I have helped students with fluency disorders with breathing techniques, identyfying stressors, and attacking words that give them trouble. I have helped those with language disorders gain strengths in word finding, definitions, and sentence structure. I have assisted those with pragmatics issues (i.e., those with Asperger Syndrome and Autism) solve social skills issues. The job is absolutely not boring.

My OT daughter will tell you the same types of things about her job. She is on the go all day without much of a break. She is happily exhausted at the end of the day and enjoys her work very much. It's all in how you look at what you do. Happiness is a choice.

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landslide in Absecon, New Jersey

23 months ago

Can anyone share what exactly the paperwork entails for an SLP or OT in the school system vs. other settings? I'm guessing it is a review of how the session went and goals that were met or need to be met, as well as many other forms that I'm not quite aware of. When everyone says they are stressed out by the paperwork (which I'm sure it is stressful)-- are you stressed out because you have to write a lot, or is it maybe pages and pages of information that needs to be checked off after each session? I'm sorry if this is a silly question. I'm thinking of going back to school for one of these fields and was always a little confused by what exactly the paperwork entails (not that I am basing my decision off that; I've just been wondering).
Thanks in advance if anyone is still checking this thread! :-)

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20yrOT in Portland, Oregon

23 months ago

What I have loved about working as an OT are the connections with people. I have worked in SNFs ( about 3 years) and schools over a decade. It's not about the adls or the fine motor - it's about connecting with another human being and giving them hope that they may have a better moment now and ahead in their life.
What got me through OT school was a comment from our family dentist, "Put blinders on and reach the goal - eyes on the prize". Everyday I felt like quitting.But I am glad I stuck it out! I have been employed steadily for so long.
Some of the work is depressing, yet it is spiritual. You will see some very sad situations, but I thought of myself as a vessel. I could give loving engergy to the patient from the universe and not get pulled down by their sad state.
Work is work there are some dull parts. Schools over time got quite frustrating because we could not actually be with the kids, the COTAs did in my state. We OTs had to go to meetings,write IEPS, do evals, write evals, make treatment plans, and then turn the fun over to the COTAs ( i.e. they got to work with the kids.) In some rare schools they have the money to let the OTs still be with the kids. But it is more cost effective for them to use us to make the plans, and then let the less expensive employees carry them out. At times I felt to be a therapist and work with actual kids I should have been a COTA. In the schools it felt to me to be about 90% paperwork and 10 or even less, kid time.
I also worked at SNFs off and on. Good honest hard work too. The contract companies seemed greedy to me, and pushed us so hard to have productivity up. But there I felt it was about 90% treatment time with human beings,a nd 10% paperwork time. The pay at schools varied for me between "$21.oo an hour and 41.OO an hour at best. SNFs are better pay in general. But if you are lucky you can get good pay after many years in the schools. Don't go in to it for the money. Go in if you care for people.

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20yrOT in Portland, Oregon

23 months ago

Addendum: We also have to write progress reports. There is one style called S.O.A.P. notes:
S- Subjective ( What the person said, i.e. " I would like to work on getting discharged."
O - Objective ( What you did during the session with the patient - the factual details.)
A - Assessment ( What your clinical reasoning skills think about what happened
i.e. will they need more therapy? Why?
P - Plan ( What is the next plan for them?
The trouble with some institutions is that they create more and more and more paper work. IT was becoming incredible.We had to fill out forms saying we were going to be filling out forms etc. etc. A lot of it has been created because of law suits. Everything has to be documented and, but it is very out of control and at least in the schools, every year they would add ( just a few more ) little forms which we had to fill out. Also there are Medicaid billing forms - like a soap note where they can collect money from Medicaid. You also have progress notes like report cards and end of year reports. With school and work, I often felt I worked with computers and zerox machines more than people. There is an idealism I find where you want work to be one thing, and the reality of what it has become by the systems is what you really have to look at. Lots of people are quite happy with the work - you might be one of them, but GO WATCH PEOPLE!! Ask them what they like and what they don't.

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workhardlife in Oviedo, Florida

23 months ago

Going back to the original post of whether to choose SLP or OT. I happen to be a SLP that has worked for many years in primarily SNFs, hospitals, and home health. Keep in mind this is my opinion. But if I had to do it over I would have not chosen SLP from a "job seeking perspective". There are too many SLPs in Central FL and with those online courses making it easier it is getting flooded with SLPs and teachers or others with Bachelors degrees wanting to be one because they are misinformed and clueless basically. I spoke with a recruiter for a large hospital and he had this pityful look for me when I told him I was a SLP. He said the OTs are calling the shots and they are in HUGE demand. They're paid more and they can basically tell recruiters "hey..wait in line". As for the work of SLPs it can be monotonous and like Jazzy wrote "boring" especially if you work full time in one setting. I do not work in schools but know what they do and also did externships in all settings and that was my least favorite. Basically, I find when you enter a female dominated profession your payscale goes down. If I had to do it over (since I lean more toward that medical arena) I would have chosen to be a PA and if there was not a program in my area I would have chosen NP (nurse practitioner). The only reason I enjoy my work now is because I work only per diem and ONLY in the medical world. Frankly when I see the PAs or NPs I can't help but say in my head "woulda, shoulda" but there was no program in my area for PA and nursing intimidated me at the time, but now that I am in the hospitals I find that line of work more my "cup of tea". With nursing they literally "call the shots" for case management (if you want more of a desk job and you are older), home health DON etc. Frankly, it annoys me that I have a Masters and did so many years of school, fellowship etc and a 2 year degree RN is my boss in a home health agency or other settings. Broom closet office etc. OT, PA or NP

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drwspeech in New York, New York

23 months ago

@landslide: I'm an SLP who works in a medical setting, but I thought I'd take a stab at answering your questions about the paperwork involved with school settings. Documenting SLP work is a daily process/struggle of trying to quantify (put into numbers) something that is inherently very difficult to do. Most of what we do is much easier to capture in qualitative descriptions that describe contexts (environment) and stimuli presented to achieve the results and changes in our clients. Of course this is true of any therapy, but from what I have seen, in fields such as PT and OT the documentation, while difficult, is much easier to quantify quickly and succinctly. In other words, it's easier to quickly and efficiently describe progress and change in those fields due to their more objective nature. SLP documentation is often held under the same pressure as our PT/OT step-siblings, although the SLP field itself has its underpinnings on a much more psychological model. As a result, our notes tend to be much more descriptive, longer, and quite frankly more esoteric (it's hard to "see" communication change, and change can be sooo small. My colleagues in the schools often complain that they are bogged down with their paperwork because in order to fully capture what they are doing with their clients, they feel they have to write so much more because the work is so extremely qualitative in nature. It makes the IEPs, and progress notes much longer because most clinicians don't want to sacrifice quality in their content. I'm not an OT, and I'm sure the writing in the schools is also challenging in that field, so I don't mean to imply any differently. In the medical settings, SLP documentation is less grueling, simply because no other health professional has time to slog through a 3-page narrative of someone's speech/language and swallowing ability and history, response to treatment, etc.

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Lucy in Columbia, Missouri

23 months ago

landslide in Absecon, New Jersey said: Can anyone share what exactly the paperwork entails for an SLP or OT in the school system vs. other settings? I'm guessing it is a review of how the session went and goals that were met or need to be met, as well as many other forms that I'm not quite aware of. When everyone says they are stressed out by the paperwork (which I'm sure it is stressful)-- are you stressed out because you have to write a lot, or is it maybe pages and pages of information that needs to be checked off after each session? I'm sorry if this is a silly question. I'm thinking of going back to school for one of these fields and was always a little confused by what exactly the paperwork entails (not that I am basing my decision off that; I've just been wondering).
Thanks in advance if anyone is still checking this thread! :-)

__________________________________________________
I can only reply to this as it applies to a public school setting because I have 30+ years experience in that setting alone as an SLP. The basis of nearly all paperwork for a student receiving any type of special services is the IEP and that paperwork splinters out into a myriad of directions. Everything else hinges on that document which needs a lot of ongoing and time consuming care. Other paperwork is: compiling a schedule which is an intricate process and morphs as often as the wind changes its course, lesson planning, Professional Development documents (a school district requirement in Missouri), and whatever else your district might require. All of this paper chase takes up a huge amount of your time and accompanies your actual therapy/testing time. Mix that in with travel time and transitioning from building to building and you are worn out at the end of the day. Still, I wouldn't trade what I do. In fact, I am retired and have come back as an independent contractor. At age 61, I feel confident and respected. I will work as long as I am able to do so

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slp reality in California

23 months ago

I hear you! This is an AWFUL field and let me tell you why: SLP (Speech-Language Pathology) graduate programs, schools are HORRIBLE!!!! This review is based on my own and hundreds of other students’ first-hand experiences in speech-language pathology (via email survey). First of all, I would NEVER advise anyone to go into this field at all. It is a very negative experience and is 5-6 years of pure hell. You will come out a nervous wreck, severely stressed, and emotionally drained. Before I get to the ASHA graduate programs, this job/career is not at all what is advertised, described, or what you will study in your program. The actual name of this job should not be “Speech-Language Pathologist” but rather “Special Education Teacher and Swallowing Therapist.” That is what you will be doing. In the schools, you will be working under the special education director and other SLP supervisors. Most of your caseload will be teaching severely autistic, mentally retarded, learning disabled, and emotionally disturbed students. Only a small percentage of your caseload will be treating regular speech or articulation issues. These kids actually get the short end of the stick because most of the resources are spent on students who have any type of language (listening, speaking, reading, writing, gesturing) or social problem, and that is virtually everyone! You will be teaching whole classes and groups of special education and learning disabled students. You are actually doing nothing too different than what the special ed and resource teachers are already doing: singing, asking questions, working on literacy, and trying to have them talk and socialize. I had no idea that I was going to be a special ed teacher until I was way into the graduate program because no one told me the reality of the job. On top of that, you will have very high caseloads (60-120 students plus preschool intervention) and will have to screen hundreds of students that are referred to you, evaluate, diagnose

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Aus SP in Parkville, Australia

23 months ago

slp reality in California said: Before I get to the ASHA graduate programs, this job/career is not at all what is advertised, described, or what you will study in your program. The actual name of this job should not be “Speech-Language Pathologist” but rather “Special Education Teacher and Swallowing Therapist.” That is what you will be doing.

Although I trained and work as a speech pathologist (as we're known here) in Australia, I can vouch for this too. I work in a public school setting, and in a position that is predominantly assessments and short-term individual student intervention ('short term' meaning less than 10 sessions in total!), but I agree with the bulk of your post.

slp reality in California said:
Only a small percentage of your caseload will be treating regular speech or articulation issues. These kids actually get the short end of the stick because most of the resources are spent on students who have any type of language (listening, speaking, reading, writing, gesturing) or social problem, and that is virtually everyone!

My interests are predominantly in working with children who have speech sound disorders. Yet somehow, despite research showing that therapy for this has more efficacy than language therapy (for which there is basically no high quality research evidence that it works, except for younger children with isolated expressive language problems), this client group is pushed down to near, if not the, bottom of the priority list! It's crazy! You can actually see tangible improvement with articulation disorders (though admittedly many kids would grow out of their problem with time anyway).

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Aus SP in Parkville, Australia

23 months ago

Continued from my previous post:

I don't mind assessing children who have mild autism, but the 'therapy' (esp. in the social skills area) is lacking substance, and could be delivered by others (special ed teachers, trained aides, ABA therapists).

Thankfully in the mainstream school setting in Aus, I don't have to deal with swallowing. Ever. I don't know of anyone who decided to enrol in a speech pathology program because they wanted to do swallowing assessments.

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NotJustAnSLP in Leesburg, Virginia

23 months ago

To Aus SP - interesting the differences between training in Aus and US. Here, many of us went to grad school to work with swallowing disorders because that's what we wanted to do. Unfortunately, most of the grad programs here provide inadequate training for that. So many of us had to take CEUs that focus on that in order to get the types of jobs we wanted.

And I agree with those above who feel misled. I would also advise anyone interested in this type of work to consider being a PA or NP first, then an OT or PT. I would never recommend ST. There are too many of us in some areas and we are spread too thin in others, but in any case you really are restricted to working with kids with severe/multiple disabilities and in nursing homes. Hospital work can be had but is hard to come by and does not pay as well (and is very stressful compared to other settings). The grad schools are HORRIBLE, I don't care which one you pick, they all will drive you to drink! If I didn't have a supportive husband to help me get through, I would have definitely dropped out - if for no other reason than the fact I had to be a speech slave for a year for "clinical practice" (which was all board games with kids, "L" and "S" remediation, etc.) in my school - we had to work 40 hours a week and so my ability to work was limited. Sometimes I regret not sticking in the restaurant biz - in that time I did waitress and bartend to help with bills, and I was accepted to a chef school, but turned it down. Big mistake.... but that's my own personal issue...

Bear in mind I say this as a person with a nearly 20 year career (prior career was elementary school teacher, which I really hated), and having worked in: special ed, early intervention, private practice, hospitals and nursing homes/home healthcare. I enjoy nursing homes the most because I like the elderly patients much more than kids, it pays well, and I can make my own schedules by piecing several PRN jobs together.

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NotJustAnSLP in Leesburg, Virginia

23 months ago

1 more thing:

Clearly the grad schools for SLP in the US are too big - I feel they accept and graduate too many people into this profession and there's not enough jobs to justify it (it took me nearly a year just to get a CFY in special ed setting). The programs are also too demanding of adults who have lives (see above) and bills to pay. It's also really really expensive, not worth it, takes years to pay back the loans. Why do this when you can be a COTA or PTA with a 2 year degree?

And I LMAO when I hear professors or other SLPs talk about how "we really need to make SLPs doctorate degrees". It's like they know if they do that, all of us will leave rather than pony up for a PhD, and those that do stick with will have to pay another $50-60k to get their doctorate. If anyone doubts this - look what happened to audiologists. How many of them do you see around? 25 years ago each hospital had at least 1, and nursing homes referred to them actively. Now they only work here and there in an ENT office and usually not even full time. So what was the point of that?

Ok.... off my soap box.... Good luck to all...

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jenjen04 in Lexington, Kentucky

22 months ago

Hello everyone,
I have been looking into many colleges that offer speech pathology programs and was needing some insight from others. I am looking at online programs because I have a full-time job and a mother also. I was looking into Nova Southeast University and I was wondering if that was a good college too get my degree at?

Also I was wondering if anybody knew of any other online programs that I could do without having to go to the campus site.
Thanks

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steph080 in Euless, Texas

18 months ago

Hi Mattie, my name is Stephanie and I'm also from Ft worth. I'm a student right now and for my assignment i have to interview an SLP for my research paper. It's due this week and thought it would be quicker and easier finding someone who is in the field online and more convenient lol. I was wondering if i could just ask you a few questions regarding your career?

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steph080 in Euless, Texas

18 months ago

mattie in Fort Worth, Texas said: I am an SLP. I don't find it difficult to find work. I definately don't find it boring. However, I have to tell you that the better pay lies in home health . This setting hurts sometimes. I have been in the field 4 years. I have a very flexible schedule and I really value the relationships I have with PCGs. I would not be comfortable physically moving someone and I know from observing OTs and PTs that the pt is often in physical pain. I'm glad that for the most part, I don't have to see my pts in physical pain for them to progress. But seeing the dysfunction in homes where kids can't/choose not to communicate is hard. Yes, I am there to help change the dynamics and I do. It's rewarding. However, change doesn't happen over night. Some visits are just educating the parents on how what they are doing has to stop if they want the pt to improve. If this didn't come with mom having so many feelings about the pt already, then magnify that by - she thought the pt had the problem when she asked for help. She though the pt was impossible to deal with yet the therapist is here telling her she has to change if she wants the pt to change. I guess I have seen the various reactions to this news so many times. Those first few visits, depending on the PCG, can be from 0 visits to 6 months, where the PCG continues to do the old behavior - is just so hard to watch. PCG scolds pt each time pt says it wrong. Pt becomes angrier and angrier. ST intervenes and models a better response for mom while reminding her of the previous discussion about negative attention vs positive attention. Mom gets upset because pt "knows" how to say it. The war between mom & pt is trying but the situation where mom finds her place in this world by enabling her child that "can't" do anything without her is worse. Helping her detach from her identity of a mom with a child that "NEEDS" her vs a child that needs to feel a sense of accomplishment, needs to be a

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steph080 in Euless, Texas

18 months ago

mattie in Fort Worth, Texas said: Hi Mattie, my name is Stephanie and I'm also from Ft worth. I'm a student right now and for my assignment i have to interview an SLP for my research paper. It's due this week and thought it would be quicker and easier finding someone who is in the field online and more convenient lol. I was wondering if i could just ask you a few questions regarding your career?

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Caitlyn in Shelby, North Carolina

17 months ago

East Carolina University has an online program!

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tora in London, United Kingdom

16 months ago

Hi,
In my school we are starting to decide on university's and careers. I am hopefully going to be the first in my family to go to university (figures crossed), and so do not have much guidance. I am in a debate between 4 careers / degrees to study Speech and Language therapy, Social Worker, Occupational Therapy and counselling.
I would like a career which involves communicating with children or others as well as pays well. I am also finding writing my personal statement for university challenging.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Thank You.

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Cindy in Appleton, Wisconsin

15 months ago

I started my CF as an SLP and am miserable. I love the therapy sessions and seeing patients progress, but have almost no support in my CF, have very few hours despite being hired ft, and productivity - who can make those numbers? not me. I'm not punching out every time I have to wait on a patient to use the toilet. Wish I had gone a different direction. Going to keep living like a poor person, pay off those bills as fast as I can, and go a different direction.

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APost in New York, New York

12 months ago

slp reality in California said: I hear you! This is an AWFUL field and let me tell you why:

Would you say that the job of a school psychologist is also the equivalent to being a special education teacher too? your post was extremely helpful to me and i'd like your insight into school psychology, which is another program i am considering.

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NotJustAnSLP in Leesburg, Virginia

12 months ago

@ Tora - Become a Child Psychologist, it will afford you the most diverse opportnities and should pay very well (it does here in the US, not sure about UK).
@ Cindy - Sounds like your CFY is in a SNF? You couldn't have known beforehand, but SNFs are the least supportive CFY environment out there. I'm sure the recruiter made it sound just peachy.... I should know, since I am required to supervise students and CFs in my current job. Because I am subject to the same grind/productivity standards as everyone else, while covering multiple buildings, I honestly don't have time to train a CFY properly. If you JUST started, consider tossing in the towel and finding another CFY in another setting. If not, know that as soon as those CCCs show up in your mailbox you're free to move on.
@APost - School psychs do very well in NYC area, and are considered slightly above special ed teachers (I worked as a teacher and SLP in NYC).
@ Everyone - I am so burned out that I'm not looking at other SLP jobs. I'm looking for a major career change. If you look at my posts above, you'll see my regret at not becoming a chef. Well, I'm on the road to becoming a chef (eventually). I'm not going to culinary school - too expensive, I'm interning at a great restaurant where I know the owner. The head chef and his cooks are teaching me, and they get a little free labor in exchange. The days in the kitchen fly by. Unlike in the SNF, where I look at the clock every 30 seconds. I've even started a blog about my journey. Anyhoo, bottom line, I would advise anyone considering ST to NOT do it. Unless you really really really love it, in which case go for it. I think everyone needs to find work that they love, otherwise you could end up bitter and burned out. Like me.

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APost in New York, New York

12 months ago

[QUOTE who="NotJustAnSLP in

Hi, my question was in response to the person who posted that being an SLP was essentially the same as being a special education teacher. the person who posted that said that SLP's should be called special education teachers or swallowing therapists. so, perhaps you can help clarify this for me. do school psychologists have very similar responsibilities as special education teachers?

Since you worked as a teacher can you please share your insights. i am considering either enrolling in a masters of education program in social studies to become a high school history teacher OR enrolling in a school psychology program. i find aspects of both professions interesting. with that said, can you tell me which job is more stressful, which has longer hours and which profession has more job security? your insight would be great since you have experience in different areas.

thank you!!!!

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NotJustAnSLP in Leesburg, Virginia

12 months ago

IN NY, there's a fine line between school psychs and special ed teachers. There's minimal overlap. A special ed teacher will work in a classroom most likely, either in combination with the regular teacher (if the kids are mainstreamed) or in a self-contained classroom for kids with specific challenges. School psychs are more free floaters - they do all of the Evals for special ed/IEPs. They will usually treat kids individually or in small groups, as pull-outs. Both professions are capable of curriculum development. School Psychs get paid more and have more flexibility.

As for becoming a teacher, my best advice is this: if your passion is teaching history - go for it - all the way! By that I mean consider doing a PhD, especially if you are young. Then you would have more options open to you than just H.S. teaching. If you really really want to teach H.S. in NYC, you can start working with a Bachelor's, get a provisional license while you finish up your Masters. (I think they give you 2 years to finish.)

Having taught, in New York City, I have nothing nice to say about the experience. I have friends in Westchester Co. who work as School Psychs and they are very happy. As for job security, I don't know if NYC schools ever got around to abolishing tenure. It exists in some suburban districts too, so after you've been there 3-5 years, they can't fire you. Long Island public schools ahve the highest pay, but it's competitive, you really need an inside connection. In NYC, they'll take you as long as you're breathing (no offense), but that is the highest stress job I ever had. I cried myself to sleep every night for 3 years. Finally, one winter morning I woke up, exhausted, realized no one was pointing a gun at my head, and I quit. That day. No notice. And I never looked back or relied on those skills again. I was 3 months from finishing my Masters thesis, so I decided WTH, may as well finish it, and it was certainly easier not working as a teacher.

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NotJustAnSLP in Leesburg, Virginia

12 months ago

I think teaching has longer hours. I think no one in any profession has job security anymore. Hope that helps.

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APost in New York, New York

12 months ago

NotJustAnSLP in Leesburg, Virginia said: I think teaching has longer hours. I think no one in any profession has job security anymore. Hope that helps.

your posts are very helpful!!! i would like to ask you a few more questions and tell you a little bit about my background and interests. your insight would be most sincerely appreciated. could you please contact me at postanon110@yahoo.com. i am in NYC and am torn between what to do next. i have no one else to ask (as i do not know anyone in public education.)

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APost in New York, New York

12 months ago

NotJustAN SLP,

your experience teaching sounds intense- can you tell me why you cried every night? was a combination of administration, disruptive students, loads of paperwork? your friends that are school psychs- do they talk about endless paperwork? when school psychologists talk about paperwork sometimes im curious if they mean the work is difficult or if its just boring. doesn't the paperwork become routine after a while? i'd imagine it's not like writing something from scratch every time. then other school psychs say that they have to wear so many different hats. however, if teachers work longer hours as you mentioned maybe the paperwork isnt as bad as everyone makes it sound?

on another note, when you were an SLP, did you work in the schools? SLP work seems interesting to me, but i know i would not want to feed people or work with swallowing devices. do SLPs in the schools have to do that as well? i think i am better suited for teaching or school psych though. im just worried about the horror stories i've been reading about from teachers saying it is absolutely hell and that they quit shortly after beginning. and the concern with the school psychs is that people say the paperwork is endless and that they take it home every night and do it on the weekends too b/c it is so much. not sure if people are over-reacting or not.

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NotJustAnSLP in Leesburg, Virginia

12 months ago

@APost - it was everything - violent kids, violent parents, favoritistic and toxic administration, endless lesson planning, toxic classroom aides.
As for paperwork, in all of these fields, the paperwork becomes semi-automatic and easier - you don't need to reinvent the wheel every time :)
I worked in a special ed school that was publicly funded as a SLP for my CFY. Hated very minute of it. I also worked as an independent early intervention provider, which was just OK, up in Westchester. Good money but too much driving and I got sick of all the rich people treating me like a nanny. I think becoming a teacher to teach kids is a waste of time at this point. Teachers are woefully underpaid. School SLPs make GREAT money, BUT the caseloads in most public districts in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic will b3 60+ kids in multiple buildings. I found articulation and developmental apraxia therapy to be especially boring.... also, in some districts SLPs work a 12 month year, not school calendar, especially newbies. And I found that in the educational environments, the CFYs and/or new employees always get dumped on by the other SLPs - they'll shovel all their sh*t cases right onto you as soon as you walk in the door.

I suggest trying to see if you can shadow a school psych for a day. Promise not to ask any questions til the end of the day, and then see how you feel about it.

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curiouslady211 in Charlotte, North Carolina

12 months ago

SLP Lady in Antioch, Tennessee said: I have been a practicing SLP for 10 years and I love my job. I work in a SNF (nursing home) and I eat lunch every day. Productivity has not been an issue for me, but I work for a company that has it's own rehab team. My job is not boring. I do use a lot of standarized tests to show progress and to get patient baselines. As far as being a SLP aide is concerned the American Speech and Hearing Association does not certify and the pay is really low for these postions. Most people who become aides have a very difficult time finding a job. As far as salary is concerned, I am the highest paid of all the therapists (OT and PT). As far as being less stressful than OT I can't believe that. Try explaining to a patient that they may never regain normal speech again or explaining that a patient must eat blended foods for the rest of their lives. I do make excellent money and I have great benefits. I make $88,000 per year. How's that for a career?

Hey! Thank you for the post. Im relocating to Nashville in a couple months and Im still torn between doing SLP or OT at TSU. I saw you lived in atioch and that was really encouraging to hear that youre doing so well in TN! What made you decide on doing SLP vs. anything else? What are the starting slaaries for SLP in TN? What kinds of things do you do every day? I think Id be happy with either choice but I'm leaning more towards SLP just because TSU has an online masters program for it and I can work at the same time as going to school. Thank you!

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Steffy Lynn in Orlando, Florida

10 months ago

I have enjoyed reading these posts! I will graduate next semester with my bachelor's in Communication Sciences and Disorders and I will be applying to grad schools soon. I am terrified at the cost of completing my education as I am already maxed out in undergraduate loan money. I was recently told about a new, fully funded master's degree program at my university (UCF) for Com-Dis graduates. It's called project ASD, and it is essentially a masters in exceptional education with a heavy focus on Autism. My issue has been in deciding my future based on not only my happiness within a profession, but also where I will be financially. I have been in school off and on for a long time and am in my 30's, so it's time to pick something, and see it through.

SLP's make great money and have flexibility as far as venues(hospitals, schools, private practices, etc.)and for the most part, seem to love their job. Special education teachers seem under-appreciated, overworked and make less money...from what I have gathered in visiting forums for both careers. Do I take out another 30k in loans to be an SLP, or take this free master's degree? To be honest, Autism is my heart and soul, I work with kids with Autism currently while in school. So I can see myself doing either one in theory, but in reality...I am not so sure which one to choose.
I have never taught, nor been an SLP so I have no idea which I might like better and I have to decide soon! Any advice, even just from an SLP perspective would be great! Thanks!

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