What might a second grader with a lisp and an elderly person recovering from a stroke share in common? They both may need the services of a speech-language pathologist to improve their ability to speak and to pronounce words clearly. Speech-language pathologists —sometimes called speech therapists— diagnose and treat communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults who may be unable to speak, or have rhythm and fluency problems, such as stuttering. Speech-language pathologists evaluate the specifics of speech, language, or swallowing problems. Then speech therapists develop an individualized treatment plan to address functional needs— from pronunciation issues or harsh tones to improving vocabulary and sentence structure. Speech-language pathologists also guide patients through exercises that strengthen or develop the muscles used to swallow. They counsel patients and their families on coping with the patient’s condition. Most speech-language pathologists work full time, though a number of positions are part time. Most work in schools— where it’s typical to travel between schools during the week— or in healthcare facilities. Speech-language pathologists typically need at least a master’s degree, including supervised clinical experience. Specific coursework —but not a particular college major— may be required to enter a graduate program. All states require credentialing for speech-language pathologists— either licensure or registration, depending on the state.
What they do:
Assess and treat persons with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders. May select alternative communication systems and teach their use. May perform research related to speech and language problems.
On the job, you would:
Monitor patients' progress and adjust treatments accordingly.
Develop or implement treatment plans for problems such as stuttering, delayed language, swallowing disorders, or inappropriate pitch or harsh voice problems, based on own assessments and recommendations of physicians, psychologists, or social workers.
Write reports and maintain proper documentation of information, such as client Medicaid or billing records or caseload activities, including the initial evaluation, treatment, progress, and discharge of clients.
Arts and Humanities
Math and Science
Education and Training
teaching and course design
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
understanding people's reactions
teaching people how to do something
listen and understand what people say
communicate by writing
Ideas and Logic
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
use rules to solve problems
Hearing and Speech
recognize spoken words
People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
Concern for Others
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Bungalow Software Aphasia Tutor
Analytical or scientific software
Avaaz Innovations Computerized Speech Research Environment CSRE
Language analysis software
master's degree or certificate after master's usually needed
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.