Speech and Language Pathologist Jobs

A child’s speech can greatly affect his reading ability, communication skills, and social abilities. Responsible for identifying and treating speech and language difficulties, speech and language pathologists play an important role in k-12 education.

While licensing requirements vary by state, a master’s degree is typically necessary to become a speech and language pathologist. A national exam must be passed. In addition, a vigorous clinical experience is required. Over 300 hours of supervised clinical experience is required during a 9 month postgraduate time span. After earning a master’s degree, additional education is required to maintain a valid license.

The average speech and language pathologist working with primary and secondary schools earns US$66,910 a year as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015.

Parents and teachers often refer students to speech and language pathologists. The first job is for the pathologist is to assess and diagnose a student’s speech. If needed, the student will be placed on an individualized education plan (IEP) that outlines the services needed and specific language goals. Speech and language pathologists are required to track progress and manage IEP’s in addition to other documents.

Speech and language pathologists provide services in a variety of settings. Pull out programs for targeted therapy and drills are often utilized. Small group or individualized instruction is also commonly used. Alternatively, services may be provided in an inclusion setting. While inclusion makes specific drills hard to accomplish, it is a “real-world” setting full of communication opportunities.

A variety of teaching methods are used by speech and language pathologists. Repetitive instruction to accomplish specific goals is frequently used. Audio or visual aids may help the learner master skills. The pathologist may also teach the student specific physical exercises. Instruction of sign language may also be required.

The speech language pathologist must be able to work well with other special education and regular education teachers. In addition, effective communication with parents is necessary. Parents can be instructed in methods to help their child improve speech skills at home. Furthermore, some parents need help dealing with the fact that their child has a speech or language impairment.

A speech and language pathologist must have good communication and speech skills. They must also be detail oriented to effectively diagnose and improve speech conditions. Patience is key when working to improve speech difficulties as it can be a difficult and time consuming process. In addition, the desire to help others is essential.

The amount of caseloads a speech and language pathologist is assigned can be overwhelming. In small to medium sized school districts, there may be only one speech and language pathologist to provide speech services and create speech related IEP’s.

Speech and language pathologists often work with an individual student over the course of several years. Close relationships are formed, and the satisfaction received through helping a student become an effective communicator is immeasurable.

Visit the following resources for additional information about speech and language pathologists.

American Speech-Language Hearing Association

National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (for pre-professionals)

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