What does a Speech Pathologist do?
Speech Pathologists are typically either employed by an institution like a hospital, school or nursing home, or they have their own private practice where they see patients. They perform duties like assessing, diagnosing, treating and helping to prevent swallowing and communication disorders in adults and children. Swallowing, speech and language disorders result from a variety of causes including autism, a cleft palate, Parkinson’s disease, developmental delay, hearing loss, brain injury and stroke.
Speech Pathologist skills and qualifications
Skills and qualifications that will assist individuals looking to enter into a Speech Pathologist career include:
- Analytical skills for selecting the best diagnostic tools and analyzing results to identify an accurate diagnosis while developing an effective treatment plan.
- Communication skills for communicating diagnoses, test results and available treatments in terms that clients and their families can understand.
- Compassion when working with individuals frustrated by the difficulties they are experiencing.
- Critical thinking skills for adjusting treatment plans as required and identifying alternative ways to help.
- Attention to detail for maintaining notes on treatment and progress.
- Listening skills for listening to concerns and symptoms of clients so they can decide the most appropriate course of treatment.
Speech Pathologist salary expectations
Speech Pathologists can expect a salary range of $11.10 to $91.65 an hour with the average salary at $41.66 per hour based on 7,554 anonymously submitted salaries to Indeed by Speech Pathologists, Indeed users and past and present Indeed job postings within the last 36 months.
Speech Pathologist education and training requirements
Speech Pathologists usually need a minimum of a master’s degree. While master’s degree programs don’t require specific undergraduate degrees for admission, certain coursework is often required to be completed prior to entering a program.
Graduate programs typically include supervised clinical experience along with coursework in swallowing disorders, alternative communication methods, age-specific speech disorders and speech and language development.
The Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) which is part of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is responsible for accrediting educational programs in speech-language pathology. Certification and state licensure require candidates to graduate from an accredited program.
Speech Pathologist experience requirements
All states regulate Speech Pathologists, and most require them to be licensed while a few states also require registration. Licensure usually requires a minimum of a master’s degree, supervised clinical experience and passing exams.
Speech Pathologists can also earn the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) administered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Certification usually satisfies many state licensure requirements and is required by some employers.
In order to obtain CCC-SLP certification, applying candidates must have a degree from an accredited program, successfully pass an exam and complete a fellowship while being supervised by a certified Speech Pathologist. An additional 30 hours of continuing education is required every three years in order for Speech Pathologists to maintain their CCC-SLP credentials.
Job description samples for similar positions
If this job description sample isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, check out the samples for related positions below.