Speech teachers help people in every age range with resolving issues related to language and speaking. A master's degree and state licensure is required. The demand for speech teachers is high with a 21% job growth rate projected from 2014 to 2024.
Speech teachers, commonly referred to as speech-language pathologists, assesses and diagnose speaking and language problems and disorders caused by disability, injury or development. A speech-language pathologist works with an array of individuals of all age groups and degrees of affliction. Licensure requirements vary, and professional certification is often recommended by most employers.
|Required Education||At least a master's degree|
|Licensure||Required by most states|
|Certification||Optional after completing a fellowship program|
|Projected Job Growth*||21% (2014-2024)|
|Median Annual Salary*||$73,410 (2015)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Educational Requirements to Become a Speech Teacher
The minimum requirement for a speech-language pathologist is a master's degree. Some colleges recommend or require undergraduate training through language, pathology or educational majors. Master's programs integrate theory, research and clinical practice within speech pathology. Students may be able to customize a program in a specific area of interest, such as language rehabilitation, childhood speech development or neurological disorders. Some common courses in a master's curriculum include:
- Language and phonetics
- Hearing and speech sciences
- Diagnostic testing and assessment
- Treatment and curricular development
- Disease and injury rehabilitation
- Pediatric, adult and geriatric speech pathology
A master's program often takes two years or less to complete, and graduates are generally eligible for state licensure and certification testing. Speech-language pathologists may choose to teach in a structured educational environment or through private practice. Those interested in research or a career as a college professor may seek doctoral studies in speech and language sciences.
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Career Information for Speech-Language Pathologists
Most states and medical insurance companies regulate licensing requirements for speech-language pathologists. Educational and practical experience conditions typically need to be met before license or certification testing can be administered. Those wishing to teach in a public school may also have additional licensing stipulations. Often speech-language pathologists must complete a requisite number of continuing education hours to maintain a license.
Employment prospects for speech-language pathologists are predicted to be favorable over the 2014-2024 decade, with demand increasing by 21% over that time frame, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median salary for these professionals, as reported by the BLS, was $73,410, in May 2015.
Certification and Continuing Education
Graduates of an accredited master's degree program who have completed a fellowship program in speech-language pathology may earn optional certification offered through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The credential may satisfy state license testing requirements and demonstrates a proficiency of knowledge and abilities to employers. Professional certification is valid for three years and requires continuing education courses for renewal.
Speech-language pathologists with teaching experience may continue studies in a doctoral program designed to enhance their knowledge in the field through research and advanced academics. Doctor of Audiology degree programs offer advanced education with significant field training and professional mentoring. Doctor of Philosophy programs provide education to direct a career toward a path in academia or scientific analysis.
Speech teachers are typically required to possess a master's degree and state licensure. Speech teachers with a doctorate can advance their career by pursuing opportunities in academia and scientific analysis. The median annual salary for speech teachers was $73,410 in 2015 and employment is projected to grow significantly faster than average.