(MP) Speech disorders occur whenever a person is not able to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with their voice or resonance. Language disorders occur anytime person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings (expressive language). That’s where Speech-Language Pathologist or therapists show up and do their best work; they assess, diagnose, treat people affected by these disorders.
What Speech-Language Pathologist do?
Speech therapist work in various settings, including educational settings, medical treatment facilities and private practice, to name a few. Most full-time speech pathologists work 40 hours per week; some work part time. Individuals working on a contract basis may spend a large amount of time traveling between facilities.
Speech-language pathologists often work as part of a team, which can include teachers, physicians, audiologists, psychologists, social workers and rehabilitation counselors.
As communication professionals, speech therapists:
- Work together with medical and rehabilitation professionals for patients care.
- Serve a wide range of age groups, from adults to newborns.
- Provide counseling to patients; their families, and caregivers.
- Can serve as supervisors, mentors or administrators.
- Use technology to evaluate and treat communication and related disorders and conduct research in communication sciences and disorders.
Speech-language pathology requires attention to detail, specialized knowledge and skills and intense concentration. The emotional needs of clients and their families may also be demanding.
Salaries of Speech therapist depend on educational background, experience, work setting, and geographical location.
According to the 2015 ASHA Health Care Survey, annual salaries ranged from $70,000 to $93,000 for SLPs in health care settings. Those in administration may earn $90,000 or more. The salaries for those who are paid an hourly wage range from $40 to $76.
According to the 2014 ASHA Schools Survey, salaries for those who worked an academic year were $60,000 to $72,000. The median hourly wage was $53.76, and the median hourly wage for contract employees was $55.00.
Education & Training
To practice as a speech-language pathologist, a master’s degree from one of the 300-some programs accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation is essential. Curriculum’s may include courses in American Sign Language, deaf culture, swallowing disorders, aural rehabilitation and more. You will also need a minimum of 400 hours of supervised clinical experience. Graduate students will also have to pass the Praxis exam. And once receiving their master’s degree, they will need to successfully finish a year of supervised practice – referred to as clinical fellowship year–before they receive their speech-language pathologist certification. Most states require new hires to be licensed.
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