Do I Have the Qualities of a Successful Speech Pathologist?
Speech pathologists assist people of all ages who have swallowing or communication disorders. If you want to become a speech pathologist, patience and empathy should be among your strengths. Gauge how well your other qualities match up with this career by taking the self-assessment quiz below:
|Do you enjoy writing?||Yes or No|
|Are you considerate?||Yes or No|
|Do you have strong interpersonal skills?||Yes or No|
|Are you analytical?||Yes or No|
|Are you resourceful?||Yes or No|
|Are you persistent?||Yes or No|
|Do you like teaching?||Yes or No|
|Are you a team player?||Yes or No|
|Do you consider yourself very organized?||Yes or No|
|Do you have strong listening skills?||Yes or No|
Why Are These Qualities Important?
Do you enjoy writing?
Speech pathologists need strong technical and professional writing skills to compose patient files, treatment plans, and progress reports.
Are you considerate?
Patients struggling with communication disorders may be frustrated or disappointed in themselves. As a speech pathologist, you will need to be sensitive to their feelings and emotionally supportive.
Do you have strong interpersonal skills?
Speech pathologists work not only with patients and their families, but also with teachers and other medical care providers. To excel in this profession, you should genuinely enjoy being with other people and have exceptional interpersonal skills.
Are you analytical?
Speech pathologists must analyze data from a variety of sources when creating treatment plans and must continuously assess patient progress in order to tweak those plans when necessary.
Are you resourceful?
What works for one patient might not work for another. In this field, you will need to recognize how each patient responds to different teaching techniques and adjust your approach accordingly.
Are you persistent?
Treating someone with a swallowing or speech disorder could take a significant amount of time. Patients progress at various rates and might have difficulty completing the tasks you are teaching them. You will need to be patient, persistent, and encouraging.
Do you like teaching?
Teaching skills help speech pathologists train patients to form sounds, coach them in strengthening muscles, and educate families regarding appropriate coping mechanisms.
Are you a team player?
As a speech pathologist, you will be part of a team that works together to help people overcome their communication issues. You will need to work well with doctors, therapists, and educators to help your patients achieve their goals.
Do you consider yourself very organized?
Speech pathologists work with several patients at once and must maintain appropriate paperwork for each of them. Depending on where you work, you might have to travel to various schools to meet with patients. Outstanding organizational skills are critical.
Do you have strong listening skills?
As with most healthcare-related jobs, speech pathology requires exceptional listening skills. When diagnosing and creating treatment plans for patients, you will need to listen closely to medical professionals, family members, and others involved in caring for a patient. You should also be skilled at 'listening' to non-verbal communication cues from patients.
What Else Should I Know Before Choosing This Career?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, speech pathology could be the right career for you. Speech pathologists usually need a master's degree, and some graduate programs require that applicants have completed undergraduate science, audiology, and speech-science related coursework. In most states, you will need to earn a license after graduation.