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About the Profession

What is a Speech Language Pathologist?

Speech-Language Pathologists, also known as Speech Therapists or Speech Pathologists, are health service providers who evaluate and diagnose disorders associated with speech, language, cognition, communication, and swallowing in individuals from infants to geriatrics. They work with a wide variety of people, including: those who cannot articulate speech sounds or produce them clearly, have difficulties understanding and using language, problems with fluency or rhythm of speech such as stuttering, difficulty with feeding or swallowing, vocal quality problems such as hoarseness, inappropriate pitch, and resonance issues like cleft palate, individuals who wish to achieve better communication skills through accent reduction, and cognitive communication impairments dealing with problem solving, memory, and attention.

To be employed as a speech-language pathologist, a graduate degree is required.  Some states allow, in some settings, those holding a Bachelor's degree to work as a speech-language pathology assistant.

See ASHA's webpage about professions: https://www.asha.org/Students/Learn-About-the-CSD-Professions/

In what settings do Speech Language Pathologists work?

Speech-Language Pathologists have an infinite amount of settings they can pursue during their career. Settings they could possibly work in include but are not limited to public or private schools, hospitals, private practice, short and long term health care facilities, adult day care centers, college and universities, home health agencies, state and local health departments, community clinics, rehabilitation centers, centers for persons with developmental disabilities, and research laboratories.

What salary can a Speech Language Pathologist expect to earn?

Earnings for Speech-Language Pathologists are dependent on the amount of education, years of experience, and state and type of setting employed in. Some jobs will also offer good incentives for working, such as paid vacations and insurance policies.

For more detailed information regarding average employment, median wages overall, by geographic area, etc please click here to access the Bureau of Labor and Statistics website for Speech-Language Pathology.

Job Outlook

Employment in this field is growing at a rapid pace due to many factors. Members of the baby boomer generation are reaching middle age, which increases the risk of speech, language, and swallowing impairments associated with neurological disorders. Due to medical advances, people who have strokes, traumatic brain trauma, and premature infants are surviving and in need of assessment and many times treatment to restore lost function. Employment ratings will also continue to rise in education due to federal mandates put in place, in which states must offer special education and related services to children with disabilities. Individuals with impairments and disabilities are also being identified at a younger age due to greater awareness, increasing the amount of services delivered. Opportunities will also be more favorable for those, in particular who speak a second language such as Spanish due to the increases in immigration. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of speech-language pathologists is expected to grow by 23 percent from 2010 to 2020.

A May 2012 publication in the ASHA LEADER also discusses the job outlook and growth of the field of Speech Language Pathology.  Click here to read the article.

According to CNN Money website Speech-Language Pathologist is the #1 Best Job for Working Parents and #14 in Best Jobs for Saving the World!!


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Speech-Language Pathologists,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/speech-language-pathologists.htm (visited October 22, 2013).

American Speech Language Hearing Association. Fact sheet for speech-language pathologists. Retrieved April 22, 2010.

Brook, G. (2012, May 15). ASHA Members: 150,000 Strong and Growing. The ASHA Leader.

CNN Money. Best Jobs in America. Retrieved October 31, 2011.

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd. #41030
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1030
Fax # (270) 745-3441

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 Last Modified 5/24/22