Become an SLP

Flexibility, job security, high satisfaction, above-average salary – speech-language pathology offers many career benefits as well as the opportunity to change lives every day.

Is speech-language pathology the right career path for you? We've compiled answers to some key questions you may be asking yourself as you learn more about this rapidly growing field.

What Is the Role of a Speech Pathologist?

When you become a speech-language pathologist (SLP), you'll be positioned to help people of all ages as you assess, diagnose, and treat speech and swallowing disorders. That includes giving a child struggling with pronunciation the confidence to read a book report to his classmates, helping a transgender woman realize her new identity through voice training, or enabling a senior citizen with a swallowing disorder to enjoy her favorite food again.

In Which Settings Can I Work?

The wide range of services you'll perform as an SLP gives you the flexibility to improve clients' quality of life within many professional settings.

The majority of SLPs work in educational settings such as primary schools, colleges, and universities, according to data from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association  (ASHA).

Your interests and abilities may also be suited to other settings including hospitals, residential and non-residential health care facilities, research labs, or private practice.

Educational Settings

Medical Settings

Research Settings

What Kind of Job Security Will I Have?

Due to an aging baby boomer population and increased awareness of childhood speech and swallowing disorders, the number of Americans requiring speech-language pathology services is expected to increase in the coming years, and so is the demand for SLPs.

171,000

Projected SLP employment in 2026

171,000

Projected SLP employment in 2026

18%

Expected job growth for SLPs between 2016 and 2026

18%

Expected job growth for SLPs between 2016 and 2026

What Salary Can I Expect as a Speech Pathologist?

The 2015 median salary for SLPs was $73,410, which is much higher than the average national salary of $48,098.63. SLPs who worked in nursing or residential facilities in 2015 enjoyed an even higher average salary of $91,070.

Will I Find Work as a Speech Pathologist Satisfying?

Speech-language pathology has been shown to be a fulfilling career path, as SLPs who participated in ASHA's 2011 membership survey reported a very high level of satisfaction in their careers.

90%

of ASHA members were satisfied with their job as an SLP regardless of career setting.

90%

of ASHA members were satisfied with their job as an SLP regardless of career setting.

88.5%

of SLPs who worked in school settings were satisfied or very satisfied.

88.5%

of SLPs who worked in school settings were satisfied or very satisfied.

93.2%

of SLPs who worked in hospital settings were satisfied or very satisfied.

93.2%

of SLPs who worked in hospital settings were satisfied or very satisfied.

Speech Pathology vs. Audiology: What's the Difference?

If you're considering the related field of audiology, it helps to know the differences in the roles and educational requirements. Audiologists study and treat hearing impairments, whereas SLPs focus on communicative and swallowing disorders. As part of the process to obtain licensure, audiologists must graduate from a four-year doctoral program in audiology, while SLPs need only a master's degree.

Also related to speech-language pathology are the fields of occupational therapy and school counseling. Occupational therapists design treatment plans that help people who are physically, mentally, or emotionally disabled perform daily tasks, such as brushing their teeth, writing, or cooking a meal. School counselors work within elementary, middle, and high schools to help pre-K–12 students achieve academic, emotional, and social well-being.

How Do I Become a Speech Pathologist?

Licensure requirements for SLPs vary by state, but a master's degree in the field is always required. As part of your master's program, you'll complete a minimum 400 hours of supervised clinical experience, including 25 hours of clinical observation and 375 hours of direct client contact. After graduating, you'll complete a supervised, 36-week clinical fellowship totaling 1,260 hours.

For many SLPs, the final step to achieving licensure is passing the Praxis exam in speech-language pathology. After achieving licensure, you may also pursue ASHA's Certificate of Clinical Competence, an internationally recognized credential that helps you to stay current in the field by engaging in continuous professional development.

Could speech-language pathology be the right field for you? NYU offers its master of science program in Communicative Sciences and Disorders online so you can earn an NYU degree from anywhere in the country. Request information today to learn more about the program.