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A Brief Look at What Goes Into Speech Pathology Jobs

Speech pathology jobs give you the ability to work hands on with patients to help overcome their disorders. Let's take a more specific look at the inner workings of these positions.


For those looking to enter the field of healthcare, there are a variety of career paths that can be followed. People with an interest in communication may consider speech pathology jobs. This practice can also be known as speech-language pathology in the US and there are a range of aspects to carrying out this particular healthcare discipline.

Definition of speech pathology

Speech pathology is the medical science that is specifically concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of speech defects and disorders. Those that qualify to work in speech pathology jobs will typically undertake a range of work which can include providing diagnosis, treatment, management and counselling services to those that experience problems with speech, language and the physical functions required for communication.

Education required

For individuals looking to qualify for speech pathology jobs, a master’s degree is generally considered to be the minimum qualification required. However, many in the field also go on to do Doctoral degrees. There are a number of colleges that offer degrees in speech pathology with the best options to consider being those that have been accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation. This is a part of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and accredits masters and doctoral degree courses in speech pathology. To gain entry to a speech pathology program it is generally necessary to have successfully completed a high school diploma or equivalent. Programs will typically include studying for a bachelor’s degree, followed by a further period of education to achieve a master’s or doctoral degree. A course will include study in a number of topics and this can include anatomy, with particular emphasis on the development of the areas of the body which control speech, as well as physiology, swallowing, psychology and language. The diagnosis, management and treatment of disorders related to speech, swallowing and language are typically also covered. Both classroom work and supervised experience can be included in a degree program.

Certification

Many of the states of the US regulate speech pathology jobs and this can typically mean that being licensed by a states regulating board is a necessity to practice. A number of qualifications can be required for this including a master’s degree in speech pathology, a passing grade for the national examination for speech-language pathology (also known as the Praxis exam) and a period of clinical supervised experience. The exact requirements may vary from state to state and contacting the regulatory board is typically the best way to find out what the qualifications for licensing are in a particular state.

What the job entails

Being employed in speech pathology jobs generally means working directly with patients that can be experiencing a variety of speech and language related problems. They will look to diagnose and treat problems which can include patients that have trouble producing speech sounds or cannot produce them clearly enough to be easily understood. The fluency and rhythm of speech is also the concern of the speech pathologist and this can include helping people manage the symptoms of stuttering, a harsh voice or communicating in an inappropriate pitch. Speech pathologists can also deal with physical ailments which affect speech such as swallowing problems, as well as and help to improve the communication skills of those that have suffered from strokes or brain injuries. Typically any defects or disorders that affect communication will fall into the domain of a speech pathologist.

Patients worked with

A speech pathologist can typically work with patients in a wide range of ages. This can vary from infants born with defects that affect swallowing and speech, to seniors suffering from degenerative conditions.

Where work is carried out

Speech pathology jobs can be undertaken in a number of settings. Speech pathologists can have their own practices with patients visiting, although many are based in hospitals and clinics. Work can also be based in schools and colleges, working with students, and community healthcare centers are another location where speech pathologists can be based. There are a variety of job options available in the industry that those that have qualified to practice can consider.

Becoming involved in speech pathology jobs can be interesting work and there are a variety of aspects which it covers. For those considering working in this field of healthcare, there is a lot to consider from education to training and certification. However it can be an excellent career path to choose and the United States Department of Labor has further information available for individuals considering a job in speech-language pathology.

 

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