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Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-Language Pathologists In Doylestown work to prevent, identify, diagnose, and treat communication disorders. These disorders include articulation, phonological, social communication, and cognitive-communication impairments.

Speech-Language Pathologists

They collaborate with many other professionals, including audiologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists. They often work in schools, residential care facilities, clinics, and doctors’ offices and have private practices.

The education requirements to become a speech-language pathologist vary from school to school. However, a bachelor’s degree in a field related to speech-language pathology or audiology is the first step. A common undergraduate major is communication sciences and disorders, but other degrees like education, psychology or linguistics can help you prepare for the next step.

After you complete your master’s degree, you will need to gain clinical experience through a clinical fellowship. This will give you hands-on work experience, a chance to interact with patients and the opportunity to learn more about your specialties and career goals. Most clinical fellowships are offered through your CAA-accredited graduate program, but some may be available at outside organizations.

Once you have completed your clinical fellowship, you can apply to get licensed in the state where you plan to work. Each state’s licensing criteria is slightly different, and you can find more information on your state’s speech-language pathologist certification page on the ASHA’s website.

Speech-language pathologists can work in a variety of settings, depending on their area of expertise and patient population. In schools, SLPs evaluate students for communication disorders and provide services to support student Individualized Education Programs. They may also help with curriculum development and devise programs for the school to address communication disorders.

Other SLPs work in medical fields, where they diagnose and treat clients as part of multidisciplinary treatment teams. They may work with children and adults in hospitals, residential healthcare facilities, skilled nursing homes or early intervention services. They can also work in private practices, teletherapy clinics or rehabilitation centers. Some SLPs choose to focus on a particular group of people, such as aphasia patients or those who have stuttering.

Job Duties

Speech-language pathologists evaluate, diagnose and treat disorders of speech, voice and swallowing and language. They work with patients of all ages, treating problems that may have been caused by an injury or illness. These professionals use a variety of treatment methods, including direct therapy, indirect therapy and augmentative communication devices.

Speech pathologists can work in a number of different settings, depending on their career goals. Some choose to work in schools, where they are responsible for providing services to students with special needs. Others choose to practice privately, either working for themselves or as part of a team with other professionals, such as audiologists and physical therapists. In addition, some SLPs choose to work in a hospital or medical setting.

A master’s degree in speech pathology is required for most positions, and the program typically includes supervised clinical experience. The Council on Academic Accreditation oversees speech pathology programs, and graduates must pass an exam to be licensed as a speech-language pathologist. Some states require registration as well.

Most speech-language pathologists work as part of a larger health care or educational team. They may collaborate with nurses, physical therapists, psychologists and audiologists to provide the best possible care to their clients.

In addition to assessing and diagnosing their clients, speech-language pathologists must create treatment plans that are customized to each patient. The plan may include a combination of therapies and medications, as well as advice for family members on how to support their patients.

Another important role of speech-language pathologists is to teach their patients how to manage their condition and improve their quality of life. This might involve teaching them how to speak more clearly or to use alternative ways of communicating, such as text messaging or electronic tablets. It could also include helping them to understand social cues, such as the importance of taking turns when speaking and not standing too close or too far away from other people while talking.

The BLS reports that about 153,700 speech-language pathologists worked in the United States in 2018. The number of jobs is expected to increase as demand for their services grows. Many will be needed in educational settings, as the number of special education students is expected to rise due to federal laws requiring schools to offer these services to all eligible children. Other opportunities will be available in hospitals, nursing care facilities, residential care homes and in the offices of private practitioners.


Speech-language pathologists, also known as speech therapists, diagnose and treat communication disorders in patients of all ages. They help people with issues ranging from stuttering and lisps to swallowing problems and child and adult aphasia. These professionals are employed in hospitals, private practices and schools as well as by home healthcare agencies and nursing and residential care facilities. The median annual salary for these workers is $79,060, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In addition to evaluating and treating clients, many SLPs have administrative responsibilities as well. They may be responsible for writing reports, doing research and maintaining detailed logs of each therapy session they administer. They are often required to adhere to strict compliance standards imposed by their professional organizations, such as the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA).

SLPs can expect to specialize in a specific area of communication disorders during the course of their graduate education. They are often required to complete a clinical fellowship before they begin practicing independently in the field, which is an opportunity to supplement their academic training with hands-on experience in a specialized focus area, such as swallowing disorders or pediatric language issues.

A typical work day for a speech-language pathologist is full of meetings, appointments and sessions with clients. The profession is very rewarding, as SLPs often witness remarkable improvements in their patients. For example, one SLP recalls a particularly satisfying moment when she was able to teach a child with autism how to chew, so that the child could eat food that wasn’t pureed.

For this reason, it is important for speech-language pathologists to enjoy working with people and be genuinely interested in helping others communicate. This is especially true for SLPs who choose to work in the school system, where they are often required to interact with students on a daily basis.

SLPs can expect to work around 40 hours a week during normal business hours. The exact responsibilities of a speech-language pathologist depend on where they are employed, as some may focus more on diagnosis and counseling than others. For instance, medical speech-language pathologists at a hospital may spend more time counseling and less time assessing patients.

Work Environment

Speech-language pathologists work in a wide variety of settings. In schools, they often work closely with students to diagnose and treat their communication disorders. They also advise teachers and parents on the best ways to help their students with these problems. In medical settings, SLPs design exercises to help patients practice their skills, repair lost motor and cognitive functions, or find alternative methods of communication. They may also need to complete administrative tasks such as writing reports and doing research, though these are typically not as time-consuming as their clinical responsibilities.

Most SLPs in the United States work in hospitals, and hospitals catering to patient populations with a high incidence of communication or swallowing disorders, such as children’s hospitals, often have a particular need for these professionals. In addition to assessing and diagnosing patients, SLPs working in hospital settings can be expected to work closely with other medical teams to generate treatment plans.

One-fifth of SLPs are employed in private practice, where they provide services to clients without being affiliated with a specific educational institution or health care facility. In some cases, these professionals are self-employed, and others are employed by clinics that provide speech-language pathology services. Those working in private practice can expect to spend about half of their time performing direct therapy and the remainder conducting research, preparing clinical documentation and/or supervising other SLPs.

Other workers are employed by state education or mental health agencies, and in some instances may be required to travel to a client’s home. This can be particularly useful for those working in areas of the country where local resources are limited, or where transportation is not an option. In the military, speech-language pathologists are sometimes employed to help service members with their communication and swallowing difficulties.

If you are interested in becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist, it is important to obtain a master’s degree from an accredited program. In most cases, this degree will prepare you for national certification and state licensure. Some SLPs are also certified in clinical specialty areas, which allow them to focus their practice on a specific type of communication or swallowing disorder.