Careers in Speech Language Pathology

Are you called to pursue a career that involves helping children, adolescents, and adults overcome personal challenges? Do you feel compelled to have a transformative impact on the quality of life for people in need?

By pursuing a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) you can learn to help clients transform their human interaction skills by assessing, diagnosing, and treating speech and swallowing disorders.

What Does a Speech-Language Pathologist Do?

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) diagnose and treat a variety of hearing and communication disorders in children, adults, and older adults. Communication through speech and language is fundamental for human communication. Pursuing a speech-language pathology career means dedicating your life to helping people improve their well-being, self-esteem, and overall health.

SLPs assist people with conditions such as brain injuries, strokes, cerebral palsy, cleft lip, and palate abnormalities. SLPs work with clients of all ages and backgrounds, from helping premature infants learn to swallow to working alongside geriatric populations as they overcome memory and communication disorders.

SLP professionals also help people with speech differences, rather than only communication disorders. Many SLPs take advantage of the vast amount of work available in the field, working in multiple settings over the course of their careers.

Speech@Baylor graduates will be prepared for speech-language pathology careers in:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals and rehabilitation centers
  • Physicians’ offices
  • Speech, language, and hearing centers
  • Home healthcare
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Residential facilities
  • Private individual or group practice
  • Preschool agencies for Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)

Why Become a Speech-Language Pathologist?

The work of a speech-language pathologist can have a transformative, life-changing impact for clients in need. If you’re seeking a meaningful and fulfilling career focused on enhancing the lives of others, pursuing a speech-language pathology career may be an ideal option for you. According to U.S. News & World Report, a speech-language pathologist career was ranked the 23rd best job in the nation.1

Job Growth for Speech-Language Pathologists

Pursuing a speech-language pathology career will create more opportunity for employment as additional positions become available. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of speech-language pathologists is projected to grow 27 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.2 Between 2018 and 2028, there will be approximately 41,900 new speech-language pathology jobs available in the U.S.3

This growth is due to an aging baby boomer population, medical advances that increase the survival rate of premature infants, and an increased awareness of speech and communication disorders and qualifying candidates in need of treatment.4

Speech-Language Pathologist Salary

The median annual wage for speech-language pathologists was $77,510 in May 2018.5 Salary is dependent on experience, geographical location, and the setting of employment.

Median SLP salaries in the top industries were as follows:6

  • Nursing and residential care facilities: $94,680
  • Offices of physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists: $84,390
  • State, local, or private hospitals: $83,970
  • State, local, or private educational services: $68,270

Speech-Language Pathology Jobs

Depending on what employment setting interests you, there are many speech-language pathology career paths available. Although there are a diverse number of occupational settings and frameworks, the essential goal of speech therapy is to assess, diagnose, and treat swallowing and communication disorders in children and adults with innovative clinical work and evidence-based practice.

With the projected job growth associated with a speech-language pathology career and the latest innovations being developed in the medical field, there are many possible settings for SLPs to find employment. Below are the three most common, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Education

According to ASHA, more than half of SLPs (56 percent) are employed in educational settings, including 53 percent in schools and 3 percent in colleges and universities.7 This includes early intervention, preschool, and K–12 schools. SLPs employed in these settings conduct screenings and diagnostic evaluations; treat children with a wide range of abilities; and provide services on an individual, small-group, or classroom basis.

Healthcare

Some 39 percent of SLPs are employed in healthcare settings, including 16 percent in nonresidential healthcare facilities, 13 percent in hospitals, and 10 percent in residential healthcare facilities.8 SLPs in these settings diagnose and treat communication and swallowing problems, function as members of multidisciplinary or interprofessional treatment teams, and provide counseling to patients and their families.

Private Practice and Corporate Services

Nearly one-fifth (19 percent) of SLPs are employed full or part time in private practice.9 This career option is ideal for the entrepreneurial SLP who favors flexibility, specialization, and client choice. Some private practitioners work alone, and some own large practices that employ different types of professionals. Speech-language pathology jobs in the corporate environment focus on speech sound production, presentation skills, accent modification, and social communication in addition to other services relevant to the business world.

Learn More About Speech@Baylor

Speech@Baylor, which confers a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders degree, is accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA).

ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for the speech-language pathology (SLP) profession, with more than 204,000 members and affiliates nationwide. Speech@Baylor is the online counterpart to Baylor’s on-campus graduate SLP program, which has a 50-year tradition of preparing SLPs for the field.

Pursuing a career as a speech-language pathologist is a meaningful vocation that sets you on a path toward changing people’s lives. If you feel inspired to address the need for competent, caring SLPs, we invite you to request information about Speech@Baylor.

1 https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/rankings/the-100-best-jobs Return to footnote reference
2 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/speech-language-pathologists.htm#tab-6 Return to footnote reference
3 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/speech-language-pathologists.htm#tab-6 Return to footnote reference
4 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/speech-language-pathologists.htm#tab-6 Return to footnote reference
5 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/speech-language-pathologists.htm#tab-5 Return to footnote reference
6 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/speech-language-pathologists.htm#tab-5 Return to footnote reference
7 https://www.asha.org/Students/Employment-Settings-for-SLPs/ Return to footnote reference
8 https://www.asha.org/Students/Employment-Settings-for-SLPs/ Return to footnote reference
9 https://www.asha.org/Students/Employment-Settings-for-SLPs/ Return to footnote reference