A speech pathologist is someone who works with individuals who have trouble speaking, swallowing, or understanding speech. Problems related to speech can arise from stroke, mental retardation, brain injury, delayed development or underdevelopment, or stress or emotional problems. Sometimes people seek a speech pathologist to help them with an accent, lisp, or mispronunciation of words. Others have trouble swallowing, and work with a speech pathologist to help correct any problems. Speech pathologists are highly trained individuals who use tools to help patients correct their speech or to help them learn how to speak or swallow. Speech pathologists work in a variety of environments, including hospitals, clinics, child care centers, or even homes of patients. A speech pathologist must work well with people, since their line of work can often be stressful for the family and for the patient. It is a discipline that takes patience as well, since recovery or learning can often take a long time. For this reason, speech pathologists often work with patients on a long-term scale.
Although the work of a speech pathologist is not physically demanding, it does require a lot of attention to detail. Speech pathologists are able to detect even the slightest variation in pronunciation or tone. For this reason, speech pathologists should be able to stay focused when working with patients. Attention to detail is extremely important in this field. By staying focused, speech pathologists can determine variances in speech patterns and find the root of the problem, thus making a solution easier to come by.
Speech pathologists must also be organized. Often, speech pathologists do not have assistants to help them organize information on patients. It is very important that records are kept on each patient and notes are recorded about visits. For this reason, speech pathologists who do not have assistants must be able to keep records organized and take good notes on sessions with patients. These records help patients see progress in the sessions, as well as help the speech pathologist remember what treatments have been used and which methods to use for which patient. Medical histories are also very important for patient files, and these must be kept up-to-date for each patient.
Speech Language Pathology Training and Education Requirements
In order to become a speech pathologist, several requirements must be filled. First of all, education is very important. Most clinics and hospitals require that speech pathologists have a master’s degree in speech-language pathology, as well as any other training or licensing requirements. Patients in speech pathology require a lot of care and attention, and a speech pathologist must be dedicated to their work in order to help patients as much as possible. Courses required in a speech-language pathology program cover topics like anatomy, disorders, treatment methods, the nature of speech, and the psychology of communication. These courses are geared towards teaching students how to identify a speech problem as well as treatment methods to help patients recover.
Speech Language Pathology Certifications
It is very important that a speech pathologist have the proper training before entering the field. Some states require certification in addition to educational training in order to practice as a speech pathologist. The Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology is a common requirement in many states, and this training is offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. For more information on state requirements, check with your local authorities.
Speech Language Pathology Professional Associations
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is an important association for professionals in this field. From this association, those interestd in becoming a speech pathologist can gain the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology, which has become a requirement for many prospective speech pathologists in many states. To earn this certification, the student must undergo supervised clinical work, as well as complete a master’s degree in their area of study. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is an important source of information for students interested in this kind of study.
Speech Language Pathology Salary and Wages
The job outlook for a career in speech pathology is favorable, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The medical field is ever-growing and looking for new applicants. There is an expected increase in jobs for speech pathologists in the next few years, working with older patients from the baby boom of the 1950s who may have developed neurological disorders. Also, with the growth in the development of neuroscience in recent years, this field has become a popular career choice for many up-and-coming medical students.
Most speech pathologists work roughly 40 hours a week, sometimes having to travel from facility to facility to work with patients. An average salary for a speech pathologist is around $70,000, depending on what kind of facility you work in and how much experience you have. For those who work in nursing care facilities and hospitals, pay is usually better than those who work in schools. Pay will also depend on years of experience, training, and qualifications for the position. Speech pathologists must have excellent training in order to succeed in the field, and the job market is looking positive for those interested in this kind of career.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/