A speech pathology degree provides the appropriate educational background for a career as a speech-language pathologist or speech therapist.
Speech-language pathologists work with individuals who have difficulty producing speech sounds and who may have specific issues such as stuttering, voice modulation, cognitive communication, swallowing, or even an accent they wish to change. They perform diagnostic tests to pinpoint problems and then develop personalized plans of care to best address the patient’s situation.
Most positions require at least a master’s degree and possibly certification or licensure as well.
A master’s degree in speech pathology is the most common educational path to becoming a speech pathologist. Coursework includes anatomy and physiology, principles of acoustics, and psychological aspects of communication.
Advanced programs in speech pathology may also provide clinical opportunities through which degree candidates receive hands-on training in evaluating and treating speech, swallowing, and language problems.
Certification or licensure is also a possibility to explore; the procedures and requirements vary by state but usually include earning a master’s degree, passing a national examination on speech-language pathology, and clinical experience.
A recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the median annual wages of speech pathologists were $62,930. Those working in nursing care facilities ($79,120), home health care services ($77,030), and general medical and surgical hospitals ($68,430) were at the higher end of the pay scale.
Employment opportunities for speech pathologists are expected to grow “faster than average” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. An aging population coupled with growing elementary school enrollments will fuel the boom.
Most speech pathologists are employed in educational services, but a large number also find positions in hospitals and other healthcare facilities such as nursing homes and outpatient clinics. Child daycare centers may also hire speech pathologists.
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics