What is Speech Pathology vs Language Pathology?
Speech pathology is the study of diseases that affect a person's speech. This practice became widely used in the second World War, helping soldiers who dealt with traumatic brain injuries. Common speech conditions that are studied under the field of speech pathology include:
Language pathology is the study of diseases and conditions that affect a person's ability to understand and replicate the fundamentals of language. For instance: understanding what words mean, making new words, wording structure, etc. Common diseases and conditions that affect these abilities include:
TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries)
M.S. (Multiple Sclerosis)
ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
What is a Speech Pathologist?
Speech pathologists, officially known as Speech-Language Pathologists (or SLPs), help children and adults overcome speech disorders with the help of specialized training in the field of speech and language development. Speech pathology covers the wide range of communication disorders found within adults and children, as well as physical ailments that affect communication.
A Day in the Life of a Speech Pathologist
Your daily schedule will mostly depend on the industry you are employed in, and more specifically, the company you work for. Of course, each workplace is different, and the tools available to some speech pathologists may not be available to others. Another factor that contributes to your daily schedule will be whether you specialize in child speech therapy, adult speech therapy, or both. However, some common exercises performed every day by speech pathologists are:
Strengthening Exercises - When an adult or child has a physical/neurological disability that disturbs their speech, speech pathologists will work with the client using various jaw/mouth/etc. exercises that strengthen the muscles used for speech.
Breathing Exercises - Speech pathologists will lead clients in breathing exercises, the main impedance in resonance disorders
Conversational Exercises - Speech pathologists engage in everyday conversations with their clients, assessing and practicing to overcome expressive social disorders
Memory/Repetition exercises - Speech pathologists will use word, memory, and repetition games so the client can practice to overcome their speech disorder. Many of the games can be done at home, so the client can practice in their free time.
Speech pathologists normally work a 40 hour work-week, depending on their employment setting and willingness to work overtime hours. Most speech pathologists find their work extremely rewarding, as they help others to overcome speech disorders that they may have been struggling with all of their lives.
How to Become a Speech Pathologist
There are multiple reasons to choose a career in speech-language pathology, and many professionals have found it to be an extremely rewarding career. Becoming a speech pathologist is no easy task, and will take dedicated studies to pass the necessary steps to become a certified SLP. The most common steps to becoming a speech pathologist are:
Obtain an undergraduate degree in Communications Sciences and Disorders
Many colleges offer undergraduate degrees in Communications Sciences and Disorders. You coursework will cover general education studies, as well as more specialized studies in the field of speech, english, and language. On average, it takes 4 years to receive an undergraduate degree in this field.
Obtain a Graduate Degree in Communications Sciences and Disorders or Speech Language Pathology
A graduate degree in Communications Sciences and Disorders, or a graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology, will consist of highly focused studies in the areas of speech and language. On average, a graduate degree in these fields will take 2 years.
Complete your clinical trials
Clinical trials will be your first glimpse into the everyday life of a certified speech-language pathologist. To pass clinical trials, you must have completed 25 hours of guided clinical experience, and 375 hours of direct patient/client contact, for a total of 400 hours.
Pass the ETS Praxis Speech-Language Pathology Assessment
The ETS Praxis Speech-Language Pathology Assessment is an exam ranging from scores of 100-200, in one point increments. The praxis will test your general knowledge in the fields of speech and language pathology, as well as what you learned on the clinical side. It is recommended to read up on study material before you take the assessment.
Apply to be a state licensed Speech-Language Pathologist
Licensing, regulations, and other requirements vary from state to state. To become a certified Speech Language Pathologist, you must meet the requirements and obtain certification to practice speech-language pathology in your state. For more information about licensing certification by state, click here.
What is a Speech Pathologist?
Careers in Speech Pathology
There is a huge demand for SLPs, in a wide range of employment settings across the globe. As an SLP, you may find yourself in a hospital, private practice, school, or somewhere else! Some common careers in speech pathology include:
Research in speech language pathology
Educating others on speech-language pathology
Working for state or government agencies as an SLP
A counselor who specializes in speech language pathology
While these are common careers, SLPs can be found integrated into many other employment settings. As long as there is a need for specialized training in the field of speech and language, the possibilities of employment are endless.
Speech Pathologist Salaries
As of 2020, the average income reported for a SLP in the healthcare industry ranged from $70,000-$80,000. Those in administrative positions may earn more than $90,000, and those in educational positions may earn less than $70,000, depending on experience. The average salary of a speech pathologist is around $75,000. Your salary as an SLP will heavily depend on the industry you choose employment in, as well as the amount of time you have spent in your position.
Join Better Speech
If you are a certified speech pathologist with a willingness to help others, Better Speech is looking for you! You can create your own private practice, and gain access to our technology and marketing assets that will help you succeed in the industry. At Better Speech, you are in full control of your schedule, working flexible hours that you have chosen for yourself. Sounds great? Apply to become an SLP at Better Speech.