SpeechWorks visits with high school and intermediate school students during their Career Day to share the field of speech-language pathologist with students. It’s always rewarding to introduce and answer questions about the field with young people who are beginning to explore what types of careers exist. Here are some of the questions addressed when sharing the field of speech-language pathology.
What kind of training does a speech-language pathologist have?
Speech-language pathologists hold a master’s degree, most often M.S., M.A., or M.Ed., from an accredited university with specialized training in communication disorders. Graduate level coursework includes fluency voice, fluency, dysphagia (medical term that means difficulty with swallowing), and motor speech disorders. The typically two-year program requires 400 hours of clinical training with both children and adults.
What kind of skills does the job require?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a SLP needs to be able to communicate effectively in order to teach others how to do so. You might be quickly updating a physician on a patient’s progress, sharing assessment results with a family about their child during a conference, telling a patient that eating by mouth is not the safest option for them at this time, or consulting with another professional about a client. A SLP needs to be able to express ideas to patients, students, families, medical professionals, teachers, social workers, and counselors through verbal and written communication.
Considering a student or a patient’s situation from a different perspective and digging deeper to figure out why things are or aren’t happening can make a big difference when working as a SLP.
Sometimes students may not come to therapy because of a field trip or absences. Sometimes schedules go awry because a patient’s procedure took longer than expected. Sometimes a patient can’t make it to the clinic because of inclement weather. All of these situations could come up, and they all require flexibility to go with the flow and respond accordingly.
The individuals you will be working with are either learning or re-learning speech-language activities. It may be hard for them – if it were easy, then they wouldn’t be seeing a SLP. It may be frustrating for them and you will need to provide them and often their families with patience and sensitivity to their situation.
What do all the letters mean?
CCC – SLP is a speech-language pathologist (SLP) with a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). This certification means that the SLP has graduated from an accredited graduate program, passed a national exam, maintains 30 continuing education hours over a three year period, and adhere to the ASHA code of ethics.
CFY – SLP is a speech-language pathologist who is completing a Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) with the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. This SLP has graduated from an accredited graduate program and receives mentorship by an individual with ASHA certification in speech-language pathology over the course of 36 weeks for a minimum of 1260 hours.
What kind of license do SLPs have?
Most states require a speech-language to hold a license. SLPs in twenty-seven states have universal licensure, meaning one license will work for any type of setting. The other states, if they have licensure requirements, have one licensing agency for educational settings like schools and another agency for settings like hospitals or clinics.
Will there be jobs?
Yes! The United States Bureau of Labor Status projects that the field of speech-language pathology will continue to grow – link at a rate of 21% between 2014 – 2024, meaning 29,000 jobs will be available. This job growth can be attributed to the aging population, medical advances, and increased awareness of early diagnosis for children.
Where do you speech-language pathologists work?
We work in different environments like schools, private practice, hospitals, nursing homes, universities and outpatient clinics.
Who do you work with?
SLPs work with the entire range of ages from newborns to centenarians. SLPs can work with those who have traumatic brain injuries, strokes, cognitive deficits, developmental disabilities, fluency, feeding difficulties, and communication disorders.
This work is done in collaboration with a team that often includes families, teachers, social workers, physicians, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and dietitians.
The field of speech-language pathology is a rewarding career that offers flexibility, job portability, and the opportunity to directly affect the lives of individuals by providing them with the skills to improve their speech, language, cognition and swallowing skills.
Jann Fujimoto, MS CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and owner of SpeechWorks LLC, a Lake Country speech therapy practice. SpeechWorks helps children become confident communicators and empowers parents to be their child’s speech-language advocate. Reach her at 262-490-5653.