Should I Be A Speech-Language Pathologist? A Quick Guide

student in conversation with advisor

Did you, a sibling, or a friend ever have a lisp when you were learning to talk? If so, you’ve probably heard of a speech-language pathologist.

Speech impediments, however, are just one of the many challenges a speech-language pathologist can help people solve. If you’re interested in pursuing a career that can quite literally change the way people interact with the world, keep reading. Here's a quick guide to speech-language pathology as a career choice. 

What is speech-language pathology?

Just as the name implies, speech-language pathology is the science of speech and language disorders. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat many issues to enable people to perform basic tasks and live more fulfilling lives.

Speech disorders typically include some kind of physical challenge—such as an incorrect movement of the tongue or difficulty swallowing—that must be overcome to communicate clearly and function normally. Stuttering is an example of a speech disorder.

Language disorders often involve cognitive issues that prevent a person from understanding when others speak or communicating their own thoughts through speech.

Speech-language pathologists can also act as coaches for people who wish to improve the way they communicate in professional settings.

Where do speech-language pathologists work?

Speech-language pathologists are found in a wide variety of settings depending on the kind of people they want to work with and the environment where they want to work. A few examples:

  • Many speech-language pathologists work with children and teenagers in K-12 schools. Here, in addition to helping children on an individual basis—and with a wide range of disorders—SLPs often connect with their families as well, ensuring that they can all work together to advance their student's progress. 
  • Others choose to work in a college or university setting where they can both practice and conduct research.
  • Hospitals and other health care facilities are rife with SLPs as well. In these settings, you may find yourself diagnosing and treating disorders, providing counseling to families, and educating the health care staff about the various disorders their patients may have or develop as the result of an injury or disease. 
  • Care facilities, like nursing homes, represent a significant growth area for speech-language pathologists in the coming decades, as the Baby Boomer generation ages and more of them suffer the side effects of illnesses like dementia and complications from neurological episodes, like strokes.
  • Speech-language pathologists also work in the corporate world, providing training and support for critical communication skills such as diction and grammar, customer service communications, and business writing.

How do you become a speech-language pathologist?

The first step is to complete a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from an accredited program, like Touro SHS's speech-language pathology program. Then, you must pass the Praxis exam. From there, the path can vary. Different states have different licensing requirements, and many require a clinical fellowship. You can also choose to achieve certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), which has a specific list of additional requirements.

How much do speech-language pathologists make?

According to U.S. News & World Report, the median salary of a speech-language pathologist in 2018 was a bit more than $77,500. In addition to a good salary, speech-language pathologists enjoy a strong job market; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of speech-language to grow by more than 25 percent through 2028.

Should you be a speech-language pathologist?

Many speech-language pathologists find the work they do—like helping children to speak clearly and confidently or older patients regain the ability to speak after an injury—to be extremely personally rewarding.

The field has several tangible benefits, too, such as flexible work environments, good pay, and a steadily growing market of professional opportunities. 

In fact, Touro's speech-language pathology graduates are highly sought-after in that market, as nearly 100 percent of our graduates find employment shortly after graduation.

Where to begin

If you haven't already, request more information on Touro's own SLP program. (Click the big button below!)

Then get to know the world of speech-pathology a bit more by checking out some of these Touro SHS stories. 

On Speaking Terms: Touro's School of Health Sciences Opens New Speech and Hearing Center for Students to Practice Their Craft

Monsey Resident and Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Receives Touro Healthcare Award

Touro Presents at 30th World Congress of Logopedics and Phoniatrics


Request info on our speech-language pathology program