Help Others Find Their Words as a Speech Language Pathologist

Use your voice to help others use theirs.

From your first words to your last, verbal communication is amazing. This seemingly simple ability leads to great relationships and memories with our friends, family, and lovers.

Unfortunately, people can have trouble finding the words to communicate effectively. To improve the odds of these patients having more good memories than bad, a speech language pathologist may be called in. Find out more about this important profession down below.

Who Speech Therapists See

As we mentioned above, speech language pathologists, or SLPs, are trained to help patients with their verbal communication. This includes a wide variety of topics, such as stuttering, social interaction, and even training the voice itself. Due to this universal attribute, patients who see SLPs can be of virtually any age.

SLPs also provide assistance to patients with swallowing or feeding issues. To get a better sense of what speech therapists treat, check out the list below.

  • Sounds: how to pronounce words which can be problematic for those with dysarthria or articulation disorders.
  • Comprehension: capability of understanding information coming in, such as words spoken, or what words going out mean.
  • Social Interactions: ability to take turns speaking, communicate with strangers, how close to stand to another, etc.
  • Speaking: specifically how the voice sounds, such as those with difficulty talking quietly
  • Stuttering: training to reduce or eliminate repeating sounds when speaking, such as 's-s-s-s-nake'.
  • Feeding/Swallowing: assisting with dysphagia, which can occur due to weight loss, malnutrition, or other issues, such as cleft palate or after a stroke.

Now that we’ve outlined reasons to see a speech pathologist, let’s review how you can become one.

Education Requirements

After graduating high school, students aiming to become a SLP need to acquire a master’s degree. Although a specific undergraduate degree is not required, each institution may require certain courses.

Students will then enter a graduate program that will teach age-specific disorders, therapies, and get real-world training.

When a medical student graduates, they will be able to take on the Certification of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology exam. Passing this test is often mandatory for state licensure or registration. To know for sure, check your state’s speech therapist regulations.

Beyond these basic requirements, certified SLPs can evolve their career into a more specific field. Options include, teaching in a school, pediatrics, or feeding/swallowing. Naturally, the more certifications earned, the higher the annual salary. That said, the average hourly wage for a SLP is $37.00 USD.