Speech Therapist Video: Career Options in the Speech Therapy and Speech Pathology Fields

Speech Therapist Video: Career Options in the Speech Therapy and Speech Pathology Fields Transcript

Speech therapists, or speech pathologists, have a very important job. They help people with speech disorders communicate. They do this using a varied number of techniques and exercises, and for the seriously impaired patient, they often offer an alternative form of speech communication. Speech therapists work with patients who impairments come from a wide variety of causes, from strokes and brain injury to emotional and psychological causes.


Speech therapists, or speech-language pathologists, as they are also known, work with people who have speech disorders. The types of speech disorders vary in a number of ways. They include the inability to make sound, stuttering and other speech rhythm issues, difficulties with proper pitch, being unable to produce language and problems with swallowing. Speech therapists also work with people who have cognitive communication impairments that include memory loss, the inability to solve problems and attention deficits. They work with people whose speech impairments are caused by stroke, brain injury, learning disabilities, cleft palate, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, mental retardation and other challenges. Speech therapists also help people who want to change the accent in their speech.

Job Skills and Duties

The type of work speech therapists do can take a significant amount of time. After an initial evaluation, they will put together an individual plan tailored to the patient's needs. The techniques and exercises therapists come up with can be as varied as the disorders they strive to eliminate. Speech therapists teach patients how to strengthen the muscles used in producing speech. They also teach the use of devices that can produce sound, or the use of sign language, as alternative forms of communication.

Speech therapists need to able to keep clear records. They also must have strong communication skills themselves. They must be able to work with doctors, psychologists, social workers and other types of therapists.

Training Required

A master's degree is the accepted level of education and training for someone working in speech pathology but many go on to do doctoral work. Graduate programs in this field should be accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. Some states require graduation from an accredited college in order to become licensed. Passing a national exam on speech-language pathology is required, as is, usually, 300 to 375 hours of supervised clinical experience and nine months of postgraduate clinical experience.

Well Known Jobs Within this Field of Expertise

Speech-language pathologists often work in a hospital or medical clinic. Those who are self-employed will usually have some affiliation with a larger medical setting. Many speech therapists work within a school district and devise plans for students with special speech needs, often in conjunction with teachers, administrators, special educators and parents.


One of the most important and necessary aspects of human life is to be able to communicate. Speech therapists develop the skills needed to deal with a wide variety of speech challenges from the very simple to the very complex. They help their patients overcome speech disabilities and, ultimately, become better communicators.



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