It is included in the discipline of communication sciences and disorders, which also includes the closely aligned but separate study of audiology. Speech/language pathology focuses on a variety of human communication and swallowing disorders that affect people of all ages. Speech-language pathologists (SLP) work to prevent, evaluate, diagnose and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults. SLPs work in many different research, education, and healthcare environments with different roles, levels of responsibility, and client populations.
Because of the high demand for speech-language pathology services, there may be part-time, full-time and PRN opportunities (literally pro re nata in medicine, as needed) depending on location, desired facility, work flexibility, and other factors. In many settings, SLPs often work as part of a collaborative, interdisciplinary team, which may include teachers, doctors, audiologists, psychologists, social workers, physical and occupational therapists, and rehabilitation counselors. SLP salaries depend on educational background, experience, work environment, and geographical location. Of the 210,000 members and affiliates represented by ASHA, 181,628 are certified as SLP and 785 are dual-certified as audiologists and SLP.
The profession continues to grow for a variety of reasons, such as the rapid increase in the aging population, medical advances that improve the survival rate of premature babies and patients with injuries and strokes, the increase in enrollment in elementary and secondary schools, and the growing demand for healthcare facilities and private offices. Speech-language pathologists work with the full range of human communication and its disorders. Evaluate and diagnose speech, language, cognitive communication and swallowing disorders. Many CD graduates reported in later years that their experiences working at the Speech & Language clinic were invaluable to their performance in graduate school.
Speech-language pathologists provide medical services to prevent, diagnose, evaluate, and treat communication disorders. After obtaining a license, speech pathologists help people with language disorders improve their communication skills. Speech-language pathology offers a wide range of experiences and employment opportunities. To become speech pathologists, individuals must complete a bachelor's degree in a health or related field, complete graduate school with a degree in speech pathology, work graduate clinical hours, and pass a licensing exam.
After passing the CCC-SLP exam, speech pathologists must complete 30 hours of continuing education every three years to stay in good standing. The American Speech, Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific and accrediting association with 223,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language and hearing scientists; support staff in audiology and speech-language pathology; and students. If you are an undergraduate student planning to continue your graduate studies in speech-language pathology, audiology, or speech, language and hearing sciences, you may want to study undergraduate programs in communication sciences and disorders. Through coursework and practical experience, graduate students often learn about speech and language development, speech disorders unique to specific age groups, and the physiology of swallowing.
Developing an area of expertise can increase a speech therapist's earning potential, as can earning a doctorate. Speech pathologists must have a bachelor's degree in the health field and a master's degree in speech pathology from an accredited college or university. Undergraduate students need courses in human anatomy, linguistics, research methods, neuroscience, physics and acoustics, mathematics and statistics. To enter as an undergraduate student, you must have good grades, strong writing and speaking skills, an interest in science, and a desire to work with people with disabilities.
Candidates must then complete a 36-week fellowship supervised by a speech pathology professional, as well as pass the CCC-SLP exam. .