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Clinical Voice Pathologist: Job Outlook & Career Requirements

A clinical voice pathologist is a speech-language pathologist who specializes in disorders of the voice. Read further to learn the requirements for working as a clinical voice pathologist as well as the salary and job outlook for this profession.

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Career Definition for a Clinical Voice Pathologist

Clinical voice pathologists may work with clients whose developmental delays or physical disabilities are the cause of their voice disorder or with patients who experienced voice loss through injury or disease. The skills of a clinical voice pathologist or speech-language pathologist may be applied to treat a chronic voice disorder, as an alternative to surgery, or as part of a patient's post-operative therapy.

An example of a voice disorder is a harsh or inappropriate pitch which may have been caused by injury, hearing loss or disability. It is the responsibility of the clinical voice pathologist to develop an individualized care plan to address the needs of each patient and teach the patient and/or the patient's family how to strengthen or repair the voice through voice exercise and other clinical methods. A clinical voice pathologist may work in a hospital, clinic, school or go into the field and see patients in their homes.

Education Master's degree in speech pathology
Job Skills Patience and compassion for patients, ability to communicate well and to teach exercises, problem-solver
Median Salary (2018) $77,510* (for speech-language pathologists)
Job Growth (2016-2026) 18%* (for speech-language pathologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A master's degree in speech pathology from an accredited institution is typically required to work as a clinical voice pathologist. Coursework may include topics in physiology, anatomy, speech development and the principles of acoustics. Licensing is required to work as a clinical voice pathologist and is accomplished by passing a national examination. For those wishing to practice in the public school system, a teaching certificate may be needed.

Required Skills

As with any position in the medical field, a clinical voice pathologist must have patience and sincere compassion for those seeking treatment. Good communication skills are needed to adequately teach the patient and his or her family the exercises and treatment that should be followed. Also, a successful clinical voice pathologist should be the kind of problem-solver who is able to consider a range of options before settling on a course of treatment.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov) projects much faster-than-average growth for this occupation (18% expected between 2016 and 2026). The BLS also reports the median annual earnings for speech-language pathologists as $77,510 in 2018. Some of the highest earners are those in the management of companies and enterprises, earning an average of $104,450 per year.

Alternate Career Options

Similar careers to a clinical voice pathologist include:

Occupational Therapist

Requiring at least a master's degree in occupational therapy, along with registration or licensure, occupational therapists provide treatment to disabled or injured patients using everyday activities as methods of therapy. Much faster-than-average growth of 24% was projected for this profession during the 2016-2026 decade, according to the BLS. In 2018, the BLS reported an annual median salary of $84,270 for occupational therapists.

Recreational Therapist

Normally having a bachelor's degree in recreational therapy or a similar field, these professionals plan and direct treatment programs for disabled or injured patients based on recreational activities, such as drama, dance, sports and music. Earning an annual median wage of $47,860 in 2018, these therapists could look forward to an average expansion in jobs of 7% from 2016-2026, per the BLS.


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