Therapy Career & Resources
Speech therapists work with people who have a variety of speech related disorders that may be congenital, developmental or acquired. These disorders may include speech therapy for those who can not pronounce a word correctly or produce sounds well. Speech therapists will also provide language therapy for those who have trouble understanding a language or would like to improve their accent. Therapy for cognitive-communication impairs disorders such as attention, memory and problem solving. People with voice disorders such as inappropriate pitch or sound may require speech therapy. Speech therapists will also work with people who have swallowing disorders that may have resulted from stroke, brain injury, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, cleft palate, mental retardation, loss of hearing or emotional problems. Speech therapists work with each patient to develop a plan of care tailored to the patient's needs, and they will continue to track the patient's progress until the plan has been completed.
Speech therapists typically work a 40 hour work week. About half of speech therapists work in an educational institute, and the other half are employed by a health or social facility. Often times, speech therapists will work at a desk or a table. Those who work in a medical facility usually work in conjunction with physicians, social workers and other therapists. In a medical setting, speech therapists may work at the patient's bedside. Speech therapists may also work in schools with personnel and parents to provide counseling and support for school related activities. Some speech therapists may work in a client's home, while some may focus solely on research. Other may develop equipment or techniques for treating speech problems. Regardless of the work setting, speech therapy requires a strong focus to details.
Education and Qualification
A master's degree in speech therapy is required for all states. Most states require speech therapists to pass the national exam, Praxis Exam in Speech-Language Pathology. Candidates pursing a speech therapy career are required to obtain a minimum number of hours of supervised clinical practice and clinical experience before entering the work field. Also, some states have continuing education requirements for licensure renewal.
Speech Therapy Career Articles
In 2004, 96,000 jobs were held by speech therapists according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The number of jobs is expected to increase at the average rate for all occupations through the year 2014. As baby boomers continue to age, the possibility of neurological and speech or language disorders increases. Medical advancements for improving the survival rate of premature infants or trauma victims will contribute to the increase of speech therapy jobs. Increased retirements over the next few years will also play a role in the expected growth of speech therapy jobs. The numbers of speech therapy jobs in health care facilities, schools and private practices is expected to increase in the coming years.
In 2004, the median annual earnings for speech therapists were $52,410. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, between $42,090 and $67,750 was earned by the middle 50 percent. The highest 10 percent earned more than $82,420 and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,720, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.