Copyright
 

Speech Language Pathologist Career Info and Education Requirements

Speech-language pathologists require significant formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

View popular schools

Understanding the 'why' and 'how' of speech development is the basis for a speech-language pathologist's career. Also called 'speech therapists', these specialists may work with clients with specific language disorders or physical disabilities. A master's degree in speech and language pathology is the degree most commonly required in order for a pathologist to obtain licensure in their state of choice.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Audiology and Hearing Sciences
  • Speech-Language Pathology

Essential Information

Speech-language pathologists treat individuals who have problems with talking, swallowing and language development. They also work with people who wish to modify accents or have physical disabilities that affect their speech. Workplaces can include medical clinics, schools and hospitals. A master's degree is required to become a speech-language pathologist as well as extensive supervised training working with clients. Speech-language pathologists generally must be licensed by the state where they practice.

Required Education Master's degree in speech-language pathology
Other Requirements Licensing required in most states
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 21%*
Median Salary (2015) $73,410*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Speech-Language Pathologist Career Info

Speech-language pathologists examine, diagnose and treat patients in schools, homes or other private practice facilities. Their work involves assessing a patient's communication problems and developing a treatment plan. Some speech-language pathologists specialize in certain realms, such as working with adolescents or working only with swallowing issues. Others may teach hearing-disabled patients how to communicate with sign language. Speech therapists often work with the same patients on a long-term basis to achieve desired results. Other roles for qualified professionals include administrative positions and mentoring or teaching other speech therapists.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), speech-language pathologists, often called speech therapists, work in the education, healthcare and social services (www.bls.gov). The BLS projects that the job market for speech-language pathologists will grow by 21% between 2014 and 2024, which means that qualified speech therapists have good chances for finding employment.

Education Requirements

Although most states require speech-language pathologists to be certified or licensed, exact regulations vary. Most positions require a master's degree, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASLHA) Council on Academic Accreditation lists accredited graduate speech-language pathology programs for those interested in this field. Graduating from one such accredited program might not be required for all speech therapy positions, but some states require it. It is also mandatory to join ASLHA.

Speech-language pathology students take courses in anatomy, physiology, disorders, communication and acoustics. They also learn about the parts of the body involved in speech and swallowing. Some speech-language pathology programs offer internships or clinical experiences. Students in graduate-level programs might spend time diagnosing and treating patients under the supervision of licensed speech therapists.

Speech therapists can find work in medical centers or they can have their own private practice. They can choose to specialize themselves, such as only working with individuals with swallowing or speaking disorders. Licensing requirements for a speech therapist vary depending on the state, but a master's degree from an accredited program is a safe bet to get started.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • MS in Nursing
    • Master of Healthcare Administration
    • BS in Health Science
    • BS in Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Special Education
    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    • M.Ed. in Special Education: Cross-Categorical
    • M.Ed. in Master of Education in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education-ITL
    • M.Ed. in Master of Education in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education-NITL
    • MBA: Health Systems Management
    • MS in Health Care Administration
    • BS in Elementary Education / Special Education (Dual Major)
    • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
    • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
    • BS in Health Care Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MA in Education and Human Development in Secondary Special Education and Transition Services
    • MA in Education and Human Development in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Doctor of Education - Special Education
    • Ph.D. in Education - Special Education
    • Ed.S. in Educational Leadership - Special Education
    • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    • M.Ed. - Individualized Degree Program - NILD Educational Therapy
    • M.Ed. in K-12 Special Education - General Curriculum Licensure
    • M.Ed. in K-12 Special Education - Non-Licensure
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
    • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MBA - Healthcare Administration
    • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MBA Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Special Education, M.Ed.-Emphasis in Alternative Licensing
    • Special Education, M.Ed.-Endorsement in Special Education Generalist
    • Special Education, B.A. without Licensure
    • Special Education, M. Ed. without Licensure

    What is your highest level of education completed?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?