How to Become a Speech Pathologist

If you’re interested in health, psychology, and language then you might like to become a speech pathologist.

These professionals help their patients with a wide range of skills involving communication, and also help patients who have problems with tasks like swallowing or forming sounds.

If you enjoy working closely with patients and seeing positive results, then you might enjoy this career.

These specialists enjoy working business hours in comfortable settings.

To become a speech pathologist, you’ll need to be prepared to complete some postgraduate training.

In most states you’ll need a masters degree to work in the field.

Good job opportunities are expected in this sector.

Search for Speech Pathologist Programs Now!
Choose a Program

sponsored schools

Education Requirements for a Speech Pathologist

To become a speech pathologist you’ll need to complete between six and seven years of college.

While at high school, science subjects like biology, as well as psychology and English are good to include in your curriculum.

You’ll need to complete a four year bachelors degree at college.

A good specialization is psychology, or a science like biology is also acceptable.

After you complete your bachelors degree you’ll need to apply to graduate school where you will major in speech or language pathology.

This generally takes between 2 and 3 years to complete, and many courses will require you to complete supervised professional practice as a requirement of your education.

Any work experience you can gain during this time will be helpful for when you are seeking a job.

You may also need to complete some supervised practice before you can work independently.

You should confirm your states exact requirements.

To find out about accredited college programs and licensing requirements, refer to the American Speech Language Hearing Association website.

Speech Pathologist Job Description

A speech pathologist works with a wide range of clients to help them with speech, language, and other problems.

They also help people with difficulty swallowing.

They often work with children who have speech impediments or learning disabilities, or could help a person who has been in an accident regain communication skills.

A speech pathologist will also help a person who can no longer speak find alternative ways of communication.

When you become a speech therapist, you normally work in a consulting office, but many work within hospital settings.

The offices are usually comfortable and accommodating to make clients feel at ease.

The speech pathologist will start by interviewing a patient and taking down their history, and performing a range of tests.

A speech pathologist may form a diagnosis, or a treatment plan.

This could involve more clinical sessions, or simply activities for a patient to complete at home.

In a session, a speech pathologist often administers speech therapy, and will complete activities that can help a patient to improve their speech and communication.
Some speech pathologists may work within specialist areas.

For instance, they may help people with speech impediments, or those of a particular age group.

Speech Pathologist Salary and Career Path

Although the requirements differ from state to state, almost all speech pathologists start their career in supervised practice.

An experienced speech pathologist attends with them to learn on the job.

After a short while they are left to practice independently.

When you become a speech pathologist you will most likely work forty hours a week.

The median annual wage of a speech pathologist is $62,000 a year, while the top ten percent of earners made over $79,000 a year.

Many speech pathologists go on to work in specialized roles in the field.

Some design equipment to help people with speech disorders, or become speech and language researchers.

Some become self-employed and open their own practices.

Some similar roles to that of speech pathologist that you might be interested in include:

  • Psychologist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physical therapist
  • Registered nurse
  • Audiologist
  • Recreational therapist

If you’re passionate about language, speech, and are looking for a career in health where you get to work closely with people, then you might like to become a speech pathologist.

Good growth is expected in the health industry, meaning secure employment and prospects for those who work in this field.

Seeing your patients achieve positive results can be very rewarding and is among the best benefits of pursuing this career.

Top Programs

Find a Program