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Speech-Language Pathologist Jobs

Speech-language pathologists, more commonly known as speech therapists diagnose and treat communication disorders. These include issues with speech, voice, language, swallowing, and fluency - anything that could impede an individual's abilities to verbally communicate with other people.

Job Description: A Day in the Life of a Speech-Language Pathologist

The majority of speech-language pathologists work in educational services, health care facilities, and social assistance institutions. Speech-language pathologist work with patients, usually on a regular on-going basis, to correct communication problems such as the ones listed above.

For example, if an individual has a lisp or a problem with stuttering, he may work with a speech-language pathologist to help correct this problem. In some cases, a person may choose to work with a speech-language pathologist to correct an issue like a foreign accent that impairs communication with others. Speech-language pathologists may also work with individuals who have cognitive communication disorders, like attention deficit disorders.

General Requirements and Training

In most states, a master's degree in speech-language pathology from an accredited program is required to become a licensed speech-language pathologist.

Most programs last two years, although some students go on to obtain more advanced degrees, which allow them to receive additional clinical training. The Praxis Series of the Educational Testing Service offers a national examination for speech-language pathology graduates who want to become licensed.

Being a speech-language pathologist requires an immense amount of patience, compassion, as well as excellent communication and listening skills. Speech-language pathologists must be able to effectively communicate information to both their patients and patients' families. The job also requires a lot of dedication, as it can often take a long time for a patient to make significant progress.

Salary, Benefits, and Opportunities for Advancement

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median wage of speech-language pathologists to be $62,930 as of May 2008. According to Salary.com, the mid-50% earnings range of a speech-language pathologist is $57,171 to $70,177.

Payscale.com reports that a speech-language pathologist with one to four years experience earns, on average, $40,419 to $57,525, while a speech-language pathologist with twenty or more years experience earns $53,615 to $76,864.