Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) help children and adults learn how to communicate and listen more effectively. Some patients are born with language disorders that make it more difficult to understand or share their ideas with others. Outside of language, speech-language pathologists can also focus on patients with swallowing disorders, which can be a side effect of an injury, illness, stroke, or surgery.
The first step towards becoming a registered speech-language pathologist is earning a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders or a similar major that can be accepted into an SLP master’s program. The coursework often involves a mixture of phonetics, linguistics, math, psychology, and general science courses. After undergrad, one must then take a master’s program accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). There are 265 CAA programs in the United States.
One vital part of a speech-language pathologist’s educational requirements is obtaining at least 400 hours of supervised clinical experience. 375 hours must consist of direct client contact, and 25 must be of clinical observation. Before completing a graduate program, a student must have fulfilled at least 325 hours. There are several more certifications and licenses unique to speech-language pathologists:
Work opportunities exist in private practice and travel therapy contracts and with the increasing awareness of speaking and hearing disorders, speech-language pathology jobs are expected to grow 18% annually until 2016, making it a fruitful time to work in the field. Ardor Health can act as your guide to finding one of the many positions available to you as an SLP, call 855-GO-ARDOR or view our speech language pathologist job listing online!