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Physical Therapist
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Speech-Language Pathologist
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Health Care Career Discovery Summer Medical Institute


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Speech-Language Pathologist

The Science of Healing, The Art of Communicating

What is the Role of a Speech-Language Pathologist?

Speech-Language Pathologists, also known as speech therapists, help patients who have speech, language, or swallowing disorders. They diagnose the problem, evaluate the condition of the patient, and then treat the patient. Treating involves teaching patients how to improve their voices, providing alternative communication forms such as sign language, working to build and strengthen muscles involved in swallowing and talking, and also helping the families to cope and communicate with the patient.

What Types of Physical Therapist Are There?

Acute Care
Performing Arts
Sports Medicine
Cognitive Rehab
Voice Rehab
Accent Reduction

What is the Work Environment?

Almost half work in schools; others work in healthcare facilities or patient homes.

What Are the Educational and Licensing Requirements?

The standard level of education for speech-language pathologists is a master’s degree. Graduate programs often include courses in age-specific speech disorders, alternative communication methods, and swallowing disorders. These programs also include supervised clinical practice in addition to coursework. Speech-language pathologists must be licensed in almost all states. A license requires at least a master’s degree and supervised clinical experience. Some states require graduation from an accredited program to get a license. Speech-language pathologists can earn the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Certification satisfies some or all of the requirements for licensure and may be required by some employers.

Required Degrees:

Masters of Science/Art in Speech Pathology

What are Important Qualities for Speech-Language Pathologist?

Which Are the Top 10 Speech-Language Pathologist Schools in the US?

#1 University of Iowa - Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders
#2 University of Wisconsin--Madison - Department of Communicative Disorders
#3 University of Washington - Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences
#4 Vanderbilt University - Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences
#5 Northwestern University - The Roxelyn & Richard Pepper Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders
#6 Purdue University--West Lafayette - Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
#7 University of Arizona - Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences
#8 University of Kansas - Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders
#9 University of Pittsburgh - Department of Communication Science & Disorders
#10 University of Texas--Austin - Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

What is the Average Annual Salary?

The median annual wage of speech-language pathologists is about $66,920.

What is the Employment Outlook for Speech-Language Pathologist ?

Employment of speech-language pathologists is expected to grow by 23 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.

As the large baby-boom population grows older, there will be more instances of health conditions that cause speech or language impairments, such as strokes and hearing loss. These increases are expected to add to the number of speech and language disorders in the population and require more speech-language pathologists to treat these patients. Increased awareness of speech and language disorders, such as stuttering in younger children, should also lead to a need for more speech-language pathologists who specialize in treating that age group. In addition, medical advances are improving the survival rate of premature infants and victims of trauma and strokes, many of whom need help from speech-language pathologists.