As more institutions realize the importance of speech language pathology, there will be more job opportunities becoming available in this stimulating and rewarding career. A speech pathologist also referred to as a speech therapist or speech language therapist, helps patients overcome or manage communication problems. Speech pathology involves assessing, diagnosing, and treating speech disorders. Speech problems are linked to difficulties with the voice, language and speech, and fluency in which one speaks. Speech impediments may be the result of delayed development, a mentally challenged condition, brain injury, a stroke, loss of hearing, cleft palate, and cerebral palsy. Because the success of speech therapy greatly affects the emotional and physical well being of patients and their families, a speech pathologist requires a personal dedication and desire to help patients recover.
The recent importance placed on speech disorders, particularly in children, has resulted in Federal laws requiring treatment of speech disorders in schools. These professionals are gaining full and part time careers in elementary and secondary schools. With the increase in our aging population, there is an increase need for them in hospitals and senior citizens’ facilities. Progressive modern medical treatment has led to saving more lives in accident cases as well as in cases of strokes thereby increasing the need for speech language pathologists.
They can practice in a wide range of environments. This includes health departments, institutions for the developmentally disabled, hospitals, medical clinics, schools, colleges, universities, government institutions, nursing homes, speech centers, child care centers, research institutions, and rehabilitation institutions that includes both military and civilian facilities. They can also work in the private sector.
To obtain a career as a speech pathologist, one must receive a degree from an accredited speech therapy program. These programs cover such topics as acoustics, phonetics, statistics, speech disorders, voice disorders, stuttering assessment, language development, language disorders, neurology, neurophysiology, linguistics, non vocal communication, psychological disorders, and much more. In most states a person must have completed a master’s degree in speech-language pathology to gain employment. Some states will only license speech therapists who have graduated from a program that is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. Graduate students receive supervised clinical training. To gain employment as a speech pathologist, one will require a certificate that confirms clinical experience
When searching for a job, many graduates retain the services of health care staffing companies such as TheraKare and The Medical Staffing Network. These staffing companies provide recruiters to find your dream speech therapy career and secure benefits such as high bonuses, top pay, vision, medical, and dental insurance, life insurance, free CEU’s, and much more.
Compared to many other professions, these jobs are steadily increasing. As their services become more valuable, employment candidates are being offered high salaries and benefits. Speech pathologists held about 110,000 jobs in 2006. Median annual earnings of salaried speech language therapists were $57,710 in 2006
Employment opportunities for speech pathologists are expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2016. Bilingual will be in the greatest demand, especially who speak Spanish and English. More are expected to gain employment in private practices. There is also an expected increase in speech pathology contractual services offered by hospitals and other health care facilities, as well as educational institutions.
In this troubled economy where job prospects are diminishing in many sectors, a career in speech pathology may the answer. It can be a financially and personally rewarding experience