Alternative Careers for Speech Language Pathologists

Jan 19, 2020

Speech-language pathologists assist people who have trouble communicating to improve their voices. Their unique skill set can be applied to a few different jobs that we discuss here, as well as each position's education requirements.

Alternative Career Options for Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-language pathologists are rather specialized, but may enjoy other careers involving communication, various kinds of therapy and more. There are several different careers in a couple different job fields that may be a good fit for a speech-language pathologist. Explore a few of these alternatives and their job duties here.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Audiologists $75,920 16%
Interpreters and Translators $49,930 19%
Physical Therapists $87,930 22%
Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary $97,370 23%
Recreational Therapists $47,860 7%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Alternative Careers for Speech-Language Pathologists


Audiologists actually perform many of the same or similar tasks as a speech-language pathologist, but they work with patients who have hearing and/or ear problems instead of those with speech and swallowing issues. These professionals begin by examining their patients through hearing tests and exams to diagnose the problem, and then determine what treatment will be best for each patient, whether it be a hearing aid, implant or other form of treatment. They also educate and talk with the patient and their families about the patient's condition, various ways to communicate and ways to prevent further hearing damage. Audiologists must meet the licensing requirements for their state of employment and hold a doctorate in the field.

Interpreters and Translators

With their interest in communication and speech, speech-language pathologists may enjoy a career as an interpreter or translator. Interpreters specialize in converting spoken or signed language into another language, while translators convert written languages into another language. Interpreters may provide a simultaneous, consecutive or whispered interpretation, but both interpreters and translators need to be clear and accurate as they speak or write the converted language. These professionals must be fluent in at least two languages, hold a bachelor's degree and complete on-the-job training.

Physical Therapists

Speech-language pathologists may be familiar with aspects of physical therapy that they use on their patients, which could prove helpful in a career as a physical therapist. Physical therapists use a variety of therapies, such as hands-on therapy, exercises, stretches and more, to help improve pain or movement in a particular part of their patient's body. Often their patients are recovering from illness or injury, and these professionals must diagnose the patient's condition, develop a treatment plan and closely monitor the patient's progress. Physical therapists must obtain a state license and have a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary

Some speech-language pathologists may wish to pass along their specialized knowledge to a new generation of speech-language pathologists by becoming a postsecondary teacher. At this level educators are expected to teach a variety of courses in their area of expertise, which involves creating their own curriculum and developing assignments and exams. These educators usually are required to conduct research in their field, oversee graduate students, help advise undergraduates and serve on different committees for the institution. Most postsecondary teachers have a doctorate in their field, but some institutions may only require them to have a master's degree.

Recreational Therapists

Speech-language pathologists may also enjoy a career as a recreational therapist to help patients with disabilities, injuries or illnesses grow in their communication and social skills through different activities. Recreational therapists may use activities like aquatics, sports, arts and crafts, music and more to help their patients stay active and emotionally engaged throughout their condition. These therapists try to develop programs to meet the needs of their patients and closely monitor the patients in order to make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan. Recreational therapists usually need professional certification and at least a bachelor's degree.

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