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Speech Pathologist Salary

What is the average salary of a speech language pathologist?

As is true with any occupation, pay can vary for the speech language pathologist, a career that typically requires a minimum of a master's degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the mean annual wage for speech pathologists working nationwide is $74,900 as of May 2014. Of course, pay can depend on a number of factors including time on the job, place of employment and even the part of the country where someone lives. The BLS reports that those with the lowest 10 percent of income earned $44,940 or less while those in the upper 10 percent earned $111,000 or more. The highest paying areas in the country for speech pathologists included the following:

  • Nevada: $86,980
  • New York: $86,370
  • Washington, D.C.: $85,440
  • California: $85,270
  • New Jersey $84,870

Learn more about earning a speech pathology license.

Are speech language pathologists in high demand?

According to the BLS, job opportunities for speech language pathologists are expected to grow by 19 percent from 2012 to 2022. This job growth is faster than average and could result in 26,000 new positions becoming available during this time. Driving the demand for growth is an aging baby boomer population that may need help with language and speech difficulties due to conditions such as hearing loss or strokes, reports the BLS. Also, professionals are improving the ways that speech and language difficulties are detected in children, which could also lead to an increased need for speech pathologists. Those suffering from traumatic brain injuries, traumas or strokes often need help developing and strengthening their speech and language abilities as well.

Are there opportunities for advancement?

If speech pathologists want to be more competitive in their field, one option is to seek general certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Its Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) may be required for licensing in some states or, alternatively, preferred by some employers for hiring. Another way to advance could be to specialize in working with certain populations, such as voice patients or children with apraxia, to name a few. After gaining experience, the speech language pathologist can become board certified through the ASHA in that specialty to increase their credibility in working with these populations, and this may help the speech pathologists earn increased wages. In addition to specializing in work with a specific population, speech language pathologists can also advance to management positions. They can manage other speech language pathologists as well as physical therapists and occupational therapists. Of course, with advancement, the job duties shift from clinical work and seeing patients to administrative duties.

Another option is to teach speech pathology courses at the college level. Some universities require a PhD in order to teach, but others may accept those with a master's in speech pathology.

Learn more about speech pathologist jobs.

Sources:

  1. Speech-Language Pathologists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291127.htm
  2. Speech-Language Pathologists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/speech-language-pathologists.htm#tab-6

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