Speech-Language Pathologist Overview

Overall Score 7.4 / 10

What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?

Median Salary
$80,480
Unemployment Rate
2.5%
Number of Jobs
45,400

What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?

Median Salary
$80,480
Unemployment Rate
2.5%
Number of Jobs
45,400
Speech-language pathologists evaluate, diagnose and treat people with speech, language or swallowing difficulties. They work with many types of patients, including stroke victims who are relearning to speak, babies who have trouble swallowing, people who speak with a stutter and children with language delays.

“Our field is so broad,” says Karen George, a speech-language pathologist and owner of Chicago Speech Therapy. “We’re trained to work with babies through adults – the entire life span.”

Sometimes called speech therapists, SLPs work in a variety of settings, such as rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. George started her career in a hospital before moving to her own private practice, while Theresa Rodgers, president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, spent her career in a public school setting.

“Communication is such an essential skill in life, but certainly in a school environment,” Rodgers says. “It was so rewarding to be able to work on curriculum-based activities and see children become more successful in the classroom.”

Indeed, George says that helping someone communicate can boost their overall standard of living. “Communication is just such a key part of everyday life.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 28.7 percent employment growth for speech-language pathologists between 2020 and 2030. In that period, an estimated 45,400 jobs should open up.
Median Salary
$80,480
Unemployment Rate
2.5%
Number of Jobs
45,400
Speech-language pathologists evaluate, diagnose and treat people with speech, language or swallowing difficulties. They work with many types of patients, including stroke victims who are relearning to speak, babies who have trouble swallowing, people who speak with a stutter and children with language delays.

“Our field is so broad,” says Karen George, a speech-language pathologist and owner of Chicago Speech Therapy. “We’re trained to work with babies through adults – the entire life span.”

Sometimes called speech therapists, SLPs work in a variety of settings, such as rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. George started her career in a hospital before moving to her own private practice, while Theresa Rodgers, president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, spent her career in a public school setting.

“Communication is such an essential skill in life, but certainly in a school environment,” Rodgers says. “It was so rewarding to be able to work on curriculum-based activities and see children become more successful in the classroom.”

Indeed, George says that helping someone communicate can boost their overall standard of living. “Communication is just such a key part of everyday life.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 28.7 percent employment growth for speech-language pathologists between 2020 and 2030. In that period, an estimated 45,400 jobs should open up.
READ MORE 

U.S. NEWS BEST JOBS

Rankings

Speech-Language Pathologists rank #3 in Best Health Care Jobs. Jobs are ranked according to their ability to offer an elusive mix of factors. Read more about how we rank the best jobs.

7.4

Scorecard

  • 7.1Salary
  • 8Job Market
  • 8Future Growth
  • 4Stress
  • 6Work Life Balance

How Much Does a Speech-Language Pathologist Make?

Speech-Language Pathologists made a median salary of $80,480 in 2020. The best-paid 25 percent made $101,110 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $62,790.
See Full Salary Details »

How to Become a Speech-Language Pathologist?

Licensure is required in most states, and aspiring speech-language pathologists typically must complete a two-year speech-language pathology graduate program.

After the grad program, aspiring speech-language pathologists may complete a clinical fellowship year, or CFY, which lasts a minimum of 36 weeks or about 400 hours of supervised clinical experience. Some employers prefer job candidates to acquire the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology, or CCC-SLP, from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Although many speech-language pathologists also have an undergraduate degree in speech-language pathology, it’s not required. Students coming to the graduate program from other professional backgrounds or bachelor’s degree programs might have to take some prerequisite courses.

Find a Job

Job Satisfaction

Average Americans work well into their 60s, so workers might as well have a job that's enjoyable and a career that's fulfilling. A job with a low stress level, good work-life balance and solid prospects to improve, get promoted and earn a higher salary would make many employees happy. Here's how Speech-Language Pathologists job satisfaction is rated in terms of upward mobility, stress level and flexibility.

Upward Mobility
Upward Mobility

Opportunities for advancements and salary

Average

Opportunities for advancements and salary

Stress Level
Stress Level

Work environment and complexities of the job's responsibilities

Above Average

Work environment and complexities of the job's responsibilities

Flexibility
Flexibility

Alternative working schedule and work life balance

Average

Alternative working schedule and work life balance

Advice From Real Speech-Language Pathologists »