What Do Speech Therapists and Speech Pathologists Do?
Speech therapists and speech pathologists work with children and adults who have:
- Problems producing speech sounds
- Fluency or rhythm problems, like stuttering
- Voice disorders, such as a harsh pitch
- Problems understanding or producing language
- Trouble with an accent or other communication barriers
- Cognitive communication impairments
Educational Requirements for Speech Therapists and Speech Pathologists
Most careers in speech therapy or speech pathology require a master's degree as well as certification and licensure from the appropriate governing body. In 2009, about 240 colleges and universities offered graduate programs at both the master's and doctoral levels in speech-language pathology accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation. Speech communication programs typically cover anatomy and physiology, acoustics, the psychological aspects of communication, and the development of the areas of the body dealing with speech, language, and swallowing.
Other Requirements for a Career in Speech Therapy
In addition to a speech communication degree or classes, speech therapists and pathologists should be able to communicate diagnoses, test results, and treatment in a manner easily understood by patients. It's also important for speech communication professionals to approach problems objectively, and be supportive, patient, and compassionate, as well as good listeners.
Salary Ranges and Outlook for Speech Therapy and Speech Pathology Careers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job opportunities for speech therapists and speech pathologists are likely to grow 19 percent through 2018, which is much faster than average. The median annual salary of a public relations specialist was $62,930 in May 2008.