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:
Assist speech-language pathologists in the assessment and treatment of speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders. Implement speech and language programs or activities as planned and directed by speech-language pathologists. Monitor the use of alternative communication devices and systems.
On the job, you would:
Document clients' progress toward meeting established treatment objectives.
Implement treatment plans or protocols as directed by speech-language pathologists.
Collect and compile data to document clients' performance or assess program quality.
Arts and Humanities
Education and Training
teaching and course design
therapy and counseling
Math and Science
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
looking for ways to help people
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
order or arrange things
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
You might use software like this on the job:
Micro Video Video Voice Speech Training System
Text to speech conversion software
Text to speech software
associate's degree or bachelor's degree usually needed