What Does A Speech-Language Pathologist Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-Language Pathologists assess and treat persons with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders. May select alternative communication systems and teach their use. May perform research related to speech and language problems.

Salary
$83240
Becoming One
Very Hard
Education
Master's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Speech-Language Pathologists assess and treat persons with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders. May select alternative communication systems and teach their use. May perform research related to speech and language problems.

  • Monitor patients’ progress and adjust treatments accordingly.
  • Develop or implement treatment plans for problems such as stuttering, delayed language, swallowing disorders, or inappropriate pitch or harsh voice problems, based on own assessments and recommendations of physicians, psychologists, or social workers.
  • Write reports and maintain proper documentation of information, such as client Medicaid or billing records or caseload activities, including the initial evaluation, treatment, progress, and discharge of clients.
  • Participate in and write reports for meetings regarding patients’ progress, such as individualized educational planning (IEP) meetings, in-service meetings, or intervention assistance team meetings.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Speech-Language Pathologists monitor patients’ progress and adjust treatments accordingly. They complete administrative responsibilities, such as coordinating paperwork, scheduling case management activities, or writing lesson plans.

A typical day for a Speech-Language Pathologist will also include:

  • Participate in and write reports for meetings regarding patients’ progress, such as individualized educational planning (IEP) meetings, in-service meetings, or intervention assistance team meetings.
  • Supervise or collaborate with the therapy team.
  • Write reports and maintain proper documentation of information, such as client Medicaid or billing records or caseload activities, including the initial evaluation, treatment, progress, and discharge of clients.
  • Use computer applications to identify or assist with communication disabilities.
  • Develop individual or group activities or programs in schools to deal with behavior, speech, language, or swallowing problems.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Speech-Language Pathologists also administer hearing or speech and language evaluations, tests, or examinations to patients to collect information on the type and degree of impairments, using written or oral tests or special instruments. They may also communicate with non-speaking students, using sign language or computer technology.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Speech-Language Pathologists evaluate hearing or speech and language test results, barium swallow results, or medical or background information to diagnose and plan treatment for speech, language, fluency, voice, or swallowing disorders. They might also teach clients to control or strengthen tongue, jaw, face muscles, or breathing mechanisms.

In addition, they design, develop, or employ alternative diagnostic or communication devices or strategies.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them consult with and advise educators or medical staff on speech or hearing topics, such as communication strategies or speech and language stimulation.

To some Speech-Language Pathologists, it is also their responsibility to conduct lessons or direct educational or therapeutic games to assist teachers dealing with speech problems.

Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Very High

Is this job meaningful

Very High

79% said they were satisfied with their job and 90% said they found their job meaningful.


I am a speech-language pathologist (SLP). The field of speech-language pathology is extremely broad. SLPs can work with patients across the lifespan- from infants to end-of-life. While many SLPs work in the school systems, my work history is primarily in the hospital systems. A typical day of work for an SLP working with adults in … Read More


I worked in both a hospital and early intervention. In a hospital, you will see anywhere from 0-8 patients on average in a day. SLPs main role in the hospital is evaluating and treating swallowing disorders as well as speech, language, voice, and cognitive changes that can emerge after a stroke or brain injury. In … Read More


Kaiser Permanente

Speech-language pathologists have many different titles, we are referred to as speech therapists, speech and language therapists, speech pathologists, and swallowing therapists! I like to refer to us speech therapists as a jack of all trades! We address expressive and receptive language disorders, voice, dysarthria, memory, problem-solving, fluency, articulation, resonance, aural rehabilitation, social aspects of … Read More


Brooklyn Letters

A career in speech-language pathology challenges you to use your intellect and your heart to do meaningful work. I’m extremely proud to be a part of one of the best professions on the planet. Since the pandemic, we primarily assess and treat pediatric speech, language, feeding delays, and disorders remotely while working with some families … Read More


Pros

Suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

Demand for this career is growing very fast.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skills, knowledge, and experience are required for this career.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).

How much do they make

Average salary

$83240 per year

Average hourly wage

$40 per hour

Entry-level Speech-Language Pathologists with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $50,370 to $62,790 per year or $24 to $30 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $122,790 $59
Senior (Top 25%) $101,110 $49
Median $80,480 $39
Junior (Bottom 25%) $62,790 $30
No experience (Bottom 10%) $50,370 $24

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Speech-Language Pathologists based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Management of Companies and Enterprises $114790 $55.19
Child Day Care Services $102540 $49.30
Offices of Physicians $98900 $47.55
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services $98440 $47.33
Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly $97150 $46.71
Individual and Family Services $96230 $46.26
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities) $94560 $45.46
Federal Executive Branch $94250 $45.31
Home Health Care Services $90080 $43.31
Outpatient Care Centers $89910 $43.23

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Speech-Language Pathologists work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Speech-Language Pathologists including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Elementary and Secondary Schools 58530 $75670 $36.38
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 34240 $86020 $41.36
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 17140 $87480 $42.06
Home Health Care Services 6410 $90080 $43.31
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities) 5990 $94560 $45.46
Individual and Family Services 4950 $96230 $46.26
Specialty Hospitals 4030 $87990 $42.30
Federal Executive Branch 2160 $94250 $45.31
Educational Support Services 2080 $72710 $34.96
Local Government 1720 $78610 $37.79

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
31%

40 hours
31%

More than 40 hours
39%

Working schedule

96%

4%

0%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
10%

Every day
76%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
30%

Every day
49%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
2%

Every day
87%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
25%

Once a year
31%

Once a month
35%

Once a week
10%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
31%

Slightly competitive
25%

Moderately competitive
10%

Highly competitive
34%

Extremely competitive
0%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
9%

Once a year or more
5%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
86%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
82%

Once a year or more
12%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
6%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
90%

Once a year or more
10%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
96%

Once a year or more
4%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Very Hard
You will need an extensive amount of skill, knowledge, and experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require graduate school and more than five years of experience. These careers usually involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Similar careers include Pharmacists, Lawyers, Astronomers, Neurologists, and Veterinarians.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
0%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
0%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
81%

Post-Master’s Certificate
19%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Communication Sciences and Disorders

A program that focuses on the application of biomedical, psychological, and physical principles to the study of the scientific bases, development, and treatment of speech, language, hearing, and cognitive communication problems caused by disease, injury, or disability. Includes instruction in language science, hearing science, speech and voice science, biology of communication, behavioral linguistics, psychology, and applications to the development of diagnostic and rehabilitative strategies and technologies.

Speech-Language Pathology/Pathologist

A program that prepares individuals to evaluate the speaking, language interpretation, and related physiological and cognitive capabilities of children and/or adults and develop treatment and rehabilitative solutions in consultation with clinicians and educators. Includes instruction in the anatomy and physiology of speech and hearing, biomechanics of swallowing and vocal articulation, communications disorders, psychology of auditory function and cognitive communication, language assessment and diagnostic techniques, and rehabilitative and management therapies.

Audiology/Audiologist and Speech-Language Pathology/Pathologist

An integrated program that prepares individuals to work as both audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Includes instruction in a variety of communication disorder studies, audiology, speech pathology, language acquisition, and the design and implementation of comprehensive therapeutic and rehabilitative solutions to communications problems.



Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
36%

1 month
1%

1 to 3 months
2%

3 to 6 months
0%

6 months to 1 year
23%

1 to 2 years
27%

2 to 4 years
11%

4 to 6 years
0%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
12%

1 month
4%

1 to 3 months
11%

3 to 6 months
35%

6 months to 1 year
17%

1 to 2 years
14%

2 to 4 years
6%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Helper

People with this personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.

The Builder
24%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
86%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
62%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
95%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
29%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
33%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others.

They also like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
81%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
74%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
67%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
95%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
57%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
76%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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