Speech Pathologist: Average Salary of a Speech Pathologist

Published Aug 31, 2009

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A Speech Pathologist will most likely be required to obtain a master's degree along with a license to practice. These professionals work in the health care and education fields to provide speech therapy and treatment to individuals with speech disorders. Those in health care, especially in nursing homes or home health care agencies, earn higher average salaries than Speech Pathologists in schools.

Speech Pathologist Career Summary

A Speech Pathologist diagnoses and treats those who have difficulty with their speech, cognitive communication, English language or even swallowing. Individuals needing the counsel of a Speech Pathologist may include patients who cannot speak or produce sound and patients who stutter or have a heavy accent.

In most states, a Speech Pathologist must obtain a master's degree in addition to state licensure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that graduates of a master's degree program in speech pathology may earn Speech Pathologist licensure more easily. Master's degree programs should be accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.

Upon completion of a master's degree, a Speech Pathologist must also complete the national pathology exam. Depending on their state of practice, Speech-Language Pathologists must also have so many hours of clinical experience pre- and post-graduation.

Speech Pathologist Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS mentions that approximately 50% of Speech Pathologists work in the education industry, with social assistance agencies and health care rounding out the rest. The best career opportunities will be for someone who has second language capabilities, is willing to relocate or lives in a region that currently has difficulty filling Speech Pathologist positions.

In 2006, the BLS predicted that with an increase in retirements and interest in the field, Speech Pathologist job opportunities would be excellent. However, this prediction may change in accuracy because of the recent recession. In 2008, the BLS stated, the average earnings per year for a Speech Pathologist were $66,130. Speech Pathologists working for nursing care organizations were among the top earners during 2008, with average wages of $79,460. Home health care service groups paid average salaries of $84,660, while secondary schools or elementary schools paid speech therapists an average $60,970.

Advancement as a Speech Pathologist may come in the form of area specialties. For example, one may become an expert in working with teenagers or adults. Others may become experts in working with certain speech disorders. Additional positions in speech therapy may include management or field administrator positions.

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