Is Speech Pathology the Right Career Path for You?


An overview of speech pathology as a career choice.

In this day and age, there is a lot of emphasis on the importance of speech therapy in schools. School speech therapists are more in demand than ever before, and although the job can be very rewarding, it can be quite stressful and demanding as well. While I have never practiced in the field of speech pathology before, I have had both professional and personal relationships with many people who have. Needless to say, it isn’t for everyone. Here are some tips on speech pathology as a career that you might be able to use in finalizing your decision to pursue speech therapy or in realizing that another career avenue may be a better fit.

Reasons for Speech Problems

In order to be successful in the field of speech pathology, it is important to realize that students have speech problems for many reasons. Some of these students will be students with special needs, and not everyone is comfortable with such instruction. Outside of special needs, students may be impaired due to issues like cleft palates. Language barriers, brain injuries, and hearing problems are also common reasons for speech issues. While simple speech therapy is part of the job, a great deal of it also consists with working with students with special needs that need extra care and attention.

Speech Therapy

Working Environment

School speech pathologists are not the only kind out there. Such therapy is needed in a variety of settings. Hospitals, behavioral health facilities, group homes and orphanages, speech centers, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and colleges and universities are just a few of the many types of institutions that are in need of speech pathology professionals. This is great for those who work in the industry that prefer variety, as there are plenty of different types of working environments to choose from.

Speech Pathologist Education

Speech pathology does require extensive training and licensing, but it proves to be well worth it for many people. While there is more than one way to go about the educational process, I have seen more success with those who had actual degrees from an institution that offered speech pathology programs. Many states even require a Master’s degree for licensing in speech therapy. Education in this area is important because it covers so many areas, from acoustics to speech disorders, as well as neurology, physiology and related topics. It is recommended that those seeking a career in this field ensure that their program has been accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology.

Job Prospects

Compared to some other industries, speech pathology is always on the up-and-up. This career path is projected to grow for many years to come as their services are increasingly more valuable. The average speech pathologist earned more than $57,000 in 2006; bilingual speech therapists made even more.

There is no doubt about the fact that speech pathology is a fast growing career field, and one that anybody interested in pathology or therapy should look into. There are some things that should be taken into consideration, such as the special needs that students sometimes have as well as the working environment. It takes a special person to be a successful, compassionate speech pathologist.