Speech Pathologist Job Description
Speech Therapist Career Duties and Required Education
Speech Pathologist Job Specializations
Speech Disorder Jobs
Language Disorder Jobs
Social Communication Disorder Jobs
Swallowing Disorder Jobs
Cognitive Communication Disorder Jobs
Deafness and Hearing Disability Jobs
Bilingual Speech Pathology Jobs
Speech Pathology Assistant Jobs
Where Do Speech Therapists Work?
Can You Switch Speech Language Pathology Job Settings?
Speech Pathology Career FAQ
Though majoring in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) at the undergraduate level is a common pathway to obtaining a master’s in speech pathology, it is not a formal requirement to become a speech pathologist. If you’re interested in a speech pathologist career and your background is in a different field, it’s still possible to work toward that goal. Obtaining a master’s degree is necessary to become a speech pathologist, but programs don’t require students to have a background in the field to apply. Some prerequisite coursework may be required.
According to the BLS, jobs in the speech-language pathology field are projected to grow 25% in the decade spanning 2019-2029. This rate represents a much higher than average level of projected job growth for all occupations—nearly six times higher. The growing demand for speech pathologists can be attributed to factors such as the Baby Boomer generation growing older and therefore experiencing health conditions that may require the special care of SLPs, increased awareness of communication and speech disorders, and advancements in medical knowledge and technology.
Salary outlook is an important aspect to consider if you are debating becoming a speech pathologist. Speech pathologist salary varies widely but the BLS puts the median salary for a certified speech pathologist at $80,480 per year, based on data from 2020. For SLPs who have completed a higher level of clinical training to earn the designation of CCC-SLP (Certificate of Clinical Competence for Speech-Language Pathologists), earning potential may be higher.
If you decide not to pursue speech language pathology but are interested in similar careers, there are several options to consider. Career alternatives may require different education and even licensing—and lead to different responsibilities—but they may be similar in their practices and approaches.
Some alternatives to becoming a speech pathologist include becoming a voice coach, researcher, professor, interpreter or translator. You can also become an occupational therapist, focusing on a wider range of issues than SLPs.