Speech Therapist Career Path

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Speech Therapist Career Path

If you are looking for a career that will make you happy, fulfill your passion, and keep you feeling challenged throughout the years, then a career path for a speech therapist is ideal.

However, if this profession seems like it would be too much work or not enough pay off for your efforts, other careers are to consider. Before deciding what type of job you want to pursue in life, keep reading to learn more about becoming a speech therapist.

1. What Is a Speech Therapist?

A speech therapist helps people who have problems communicating. A speech therapist works with people who cannot speak normally, stutter, or whose voice is hoarse or whispery. Speech therapists also work with people who have trouble understanding what other people are saying, and they help these people improve their abilities in speaking and listening.

Some speech therapists teach people how to improve their ability to swallow. They do this by using unique exercises and equipment such as a mirror or video camera. Others help adults who have had strokes, head injuries, or other illnesses that affect the muscles used in speaking and swallowing. A few speech therapists work with children who have trouble learning the language.

2. What Does a Speech Therapist Do?

Speech therapists work with both children and adults. They teach people how to speak more clearly. Some help the people they are working with getting rid of speech problems completely. Others help reduce stuttering so that the person can communicate more easily.

Speech therapy is done one-on-one with a therapist or in small groups. It is done in a therapy room or clinic and lasts for about an hour to an hour and a half each time.

Some speech therapists work with people who have had strokes or head injuries. These therapists teach the patients exercises they can do at home between visits to the therapist’s office. Other speech therapists work with people who have speech problems because of cerebral palsy or other disabilities. These therapists teach the people they work with ways to speak more clearly.

3. How to Become a Speech Therapist?

To become a speech therapist, you need to get a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders. This associate’s degree program takes about two years of study at a community college, and you can then transfer to a university for the last two years of your education.

You will learn about normal speech development in children and adults, diagnose problems, help people with speech problems and communication disorders. You will also study anatomy and physiology to understand the causes of communication problems.

After you graduate from college, you will need to get a job as an assistant in a diagnostic clinic (a clinic that does tests to find out what’s wrong with someone before treatment starts). You do this to get firsthand knowledge of patient care firsthand.

After working for a year or two as an assistant in the clinic, you can apply to take certification exams that allow you to work as an individual practitioner. Passing these exams will make it possible for you to open your practice and work independently. However, just passing the exam does not mean opening your practice, and a college degree is required to do this.

4. How Much Does a Speech Therapist Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), speech therapists working in the United States made an average annual salary of $74,310 as of May 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The highest-paid 10 percent of speech therapists made more than $111,010, and the lowest-paid 10 percent earned salaries of less than $44,810. Most speech therapists worked in local government, educational services, and home health care services.

The average salary for a speech-language pathologist is $74,310 annually, according to 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned salaries of less than $44,810, while the highest-paid 10 percent earned $111,010 or more.

5. The Job Outlook for a Speech Therapist

The BLS predicts that the number of jobs for speech-language pathologists will climb by 19 percent through 2020. This is much faster than the average occupation, as 14 percent job growth is predicted over this period. The aging population may create a greater need for speech therapists to provide care and training to those who have lost their ability to speak and those who face other communication disorders.

There is currently a shortage of speech therapists, which means that several hundred qualified candidates are vying for every job opening. According to the 2011 AMTA (American Medical Therapy Association) survey, there were between 170,000 and 210,000 full-time working members of this profession in mid-2011.

The good news for potential students is that the demand for qualified speech-language pathologists will be high in the coming decade. The BLS predicts that this field will grow by 19 percent through 2020, faster than average growth for all occupations. This means that there are many job openings to choose from.

6. What Are The Benefits of Being a Speech Therapist?

1. The Satisfaction of Helping Others

It is an emotionally rewarding job that can provide excellent job satisfaction. You get to help people every day, and that’s always a good feeling.

2. Developing Relationships With Your Clients

You work with patients on a personal level. For example, you will help stroke victims relearn how to communicate using the tools they still have available to them, such as brain scans. You may also help children with developmental disabilities improve their communication skills to function better in school and at home.

3. Multiple Opportunities for Growth

There are many different specialties in this area to choose from, including pediatric speech pathology, senior speech pathology, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and more. This will allow you to explore your interests and advance your career as much as you want, or maybe even change specialties completely. The sky is the limit here, so go for it!

7. What Are the Disadvantages of Being a Speech Therapist?

1. This Career Requires a Lot of Education.

It takes years to become an expert in this profession. You start by working as an assistant at a clinic or hospital, and then you can apply to take certification exams that allow you to work as an individual practitioner. Passing these exams will make it possible for you to open your practice and work independently.

2. It Requires Creativity and Patience to form Relationships With Your Clients.

It would help if you were patient when working with patients. You may also need to work extra hard to engage children, especially those experiencing speech problems. It would help to communicate clearly while still speaking at their level for the lessons you teach them to sink in.

3. Physical Disabilities Can Affect Your Work.

Some people cannot speak because they do not have the muscles to correctly move their mouths and tongues. This can make it incredibly difficult to teach them how to use these muscles and produce speech sounds. Even if you spend hours and hours with these patients, they may never be able to speak.

8. How Long Does it Take to Become a Speech Therapist?

Becoming an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist takes at least seven years: four years of undergraduate school plus three additional years of graduate education. Undergraduate students should be aware that the program requirements vary from one university to another, so students should check with their particular institution to find out precisely what they need to do to become speech therapists.

9. Speech Therapists Work in Private Practices or Hospitals.

Aspiring speech-language pathologists don’t need to obtain any certification. However, having this certification will allow you to advance more quickly in your career and increase your salary options. Being certified by ASHA means that you have demonstrated your competence in the field and passed a comprehensive exam. This certification is honored nationally, so receiving it will give you many more opportunities for employment.

10. Courses that May be Required for a Speech Therapist

Human anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, phonetics, linguistics, introduction to counseling/psychology, abnormal psychology (and other clinically-related courses)

11. Top Recruiting Companies for a Speech Therapist

Speech therapists work in various settings, including hospitals and private practice. Some of the top employers include:

  • Nonprofit centers for the deaf
  • Home health care agencies
  • Colleges and universities
  • Vocational rehabilitation agencies (VRA)

12. Best Colleges to Study Speech Therapy

Some colleges offer degrees in this field, including:

  • St. Cloud State University
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • Santa Ana College
  • USC Upstate

Also, Springfield College offers speech therapy certification to students after they complete their studies. Students will need to apply for admission before taking the certification exam.

Herzing University is an online college that offers an AS Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Students can take this program entirely online to work around their busy schedules while still achieving their goals.

The degree will prepare students for the national certification exam administered by the Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences (ANCDS). Students will learn the principles of speech and language development, medical terminology and disease processes affecting communication, diagnostic procedures used in practice, and therapeutic techniques that can be applied in the field.


Becoming a speech therapist is a great career choice for those who want to help others improve their communication skills. It can be challenging and rewarding, and there are many ways to specialize in this field. If you’re interested in becoming a speech therapist, start by researching the requirements in your state and looking into schools that offer related programs. Then, get started on your journey to helping others communicate more effectively!

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