Learn How to Become a Speech Therapist

Many people struggle to decide what they want to do after school. Making this decision is difficult and can be overwhelming. If you study something you do not enjoy, it could be a waste of money and time. Students must look into numerous options when it comes to their careers. 

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In this article, we will be discussing speech therapy and what the job entails. We will also look at which qualifications are needed to go into this field and how you can find various job openings related to speech therapy

  • What Does Being a Speech Therapist Entail?
  • Who Do Speech Therapists work With?
  • The Role of a Speech Therapist
  • Tasks of a Speech Therapist
  • Duties of a Speech Therapist
  • Speech Therapist Job Outlook
  • What Education Is Needed to Become a Speech Therapist?
  • What Experience Is Needed to Become a Speech Therapist?
  • How to Apply for a Job as a Speech Therapist
  • Types of Speech Therapy Jobs
  • The Salary of a Speech Therapist
Learn How to Become a Speech Therapist
Image Source: Clear Speech Inc.

What Does Being a Speech Therapist Entail?

If you are someone who enjoys helping others, a career in speech therapy may be exactly what you are looking for. 

Learn How to Become a Speech Therapist
Image Source: Try Speech Therapy

In short, a speech therapist works to diagnose and treat disorders that affect a person’s ability to talk and communicate effectively. 

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These professionals work with patients on a daily basis and help make a real difference in their lives. 

A speech therapist can be called in to help for a number of reasons. 

Who Needs a Speech Therapist?

Some work closely with patients to improve their communication skills, while others are used to treat swallowing problems. 

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Many patients visit a speech therapist after suffering from a stroke, heart attack, or brain injury. 

On top of this, people who struggle with autism or developmental delay seek help from these professionals

Who Do Speech Therapists Work With?

It is very common for speech therapists to work with both children and adults. 

Learn How to Become a Speech Therapist
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For the most part, young children who require help from these professionals suffer from developmental delay or other mental conditions

On the other hand, adults who seek speech therapy usually do so after suffering from a stroke, heart attack, etc. 

Specializing

On top of this, you can decide which type of issues you specialize in. 

For example, you could choose to focus on patients who struggle to communicate because of a cleft palate.

The Role of a Speech Therapist

To put it in perspective, almost 8% of children struggle with a disorder related to communication and speech.

Learn How to Become a Speech Therapist
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For this reason, there must be a sufficient amount of speech therapists to assist these kids and other adults who may have never received the necessary support. 

Reasons for Visits

As we have already mentioned, many patients visit a speech therapist after suffering from a stroke, heart attack, or brain injury. 

On top of this, people who struggle with autism or developmental delay seek help from these professionals

Tasks of a Speech Therapist

The type of tasks that you will perform as a speech therapist depends on a number of factors. 

Learn How to Become a Speech Therapist
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For example, if you decide to work solely with young children, your work will revolve a lot more heavily around developing the patient’s vocabulary and English knowledge. 

However, most adults should already have decent English vocabulary and knowledge, meaning that they will require a different sort of help

Working with Different Departments

It is also important to note that you will have to work with different professionals and departments as a speech therapist. 

For example, it is very common for speech therapists, social workers, physicians, teachers, and psychologists to discuss matters relating to a common patient. 

Duties of a Speech Therapist

If you are considering going into this business, you must know exactly what to expect. 

Learn How to Become a Speech Therapist
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A few of the typical duties that a speech therapist performs include the below.

  • Evaluating a patient’s level of speech
  • Analyzing how a patient communicates and swallows
  • Determining various treatment options that can benefit a patient
  • Creating individualized treatment plans
  • Teaching patients how to improve their voice and develop the various sounds
  • Improving vocabulary, grammar, and other basic English knowledge

There are plenty of advantages to going into speech therapy. As you can see, these professionals have plenty of responsibilities and duties to keep them busy during the working day. 

Number of Clients

The number of clients that you take on depends on a number of factors. For the most part, you can decide how many patients you want to see. 

However, if you work for an agency, it is expected that you have at least 15 to 30 clients at one given time. 

Speech Therapist Job Outlook

It is expected that the number of speech therapists will increase by up to 18% between 2016 and 2026 – this is much faster than the average for other careers. 

Learn How to Become a Speech Therapist
Image Source: KSB Hospital

For this reason, speech therapy is one of the most stable and secure jobs in the world. On top of this, the flexibility and freedom of speech therapists is a major advantage. 

For example, many of these professionals choose to work in schools or other educational facilities. 

But there are plenty of other options for you to look into, such as working in hospitals, nursing homes, nursing care facilities, etc. 

Salary

A therapist who has been in the business for between 1 and 3 years can earn up to $50 000 every year. 

On the other hand, if you have been working for more than 5 years, you are likely to earn closer to $80 000 annually. 

However, as with all jobs, your salary depends on your qualifications and who you are employed by. 

What Education Is Needed to Become a Speech Therapist?

When it comes to education, you will need to study further to become a qualified speech therapist. 

Learn How to Become a Speech Therapist
Image Source: Laura Cramb Speech Therapy

The first step that you should take is earning your bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders. 

You could choose to study another course, but the option mentioned above is by far the most common and popular. 

You must work to maintain a high-grade point average (GPA). If you fall below the expected level, it is likely that you will not be accepted into an accredited graduate degree program. 

What You Will Learn 

During your master’s program, you will be introduced to very important concepts, including neurological substrates, literacy, phonology, and voice articulation. 

More so, during this time, you will have the chance to specialize your education in certain areas, such as communication disorders or autism. 

What Experience Is Needed to Become a Speech Therapist?

There are plenty of ways in which you can gain additional experience to become a qualified speech therapist. 

Learn How to Become a Speech Therapist
Image Source: Listen Think Speech

For starters, one step that many students take before entering the working world is to participate in a clinical fellowship

More so, you must earn a speech pathology certification at the state level. To do this, you will need to complete the following four steps.

  • Complete up to 400 hours of supervised clinical experience (25 hours of clinical observation and 375 hours of patient contact)
  • Complete 36 weeks of a clinical fellowship (as mentioned above)
  • Pass the praxis exam
  • Receive a certificate of clinical competence (CCC)

Working at a School

If you are planning on working in a school of any kind, it is also important that you receive a state teaching certificate

To do this, you will need to research exactly what requirements are necessary for your particular state. 

How to Apply for a Job as a Speech Therapist

As we have already mentioned, speech therapists are always going to be in demand

Learn How to Become a Speech Therapist
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For this reason, it is relatively easy to find work in this field – in fact, there are currently more than 145,000 jobs available. 

While many therapists decide to work in the school environment, there are many other options for you to choose from. 

If you enjoy travel, you may want to look at career opportunities overseas or in another state. Some jobs will even require you to travel to different parts of the world for work. 

Staffing Agencies

If you require help with your job search, you may want to look into staffing agencies. These companies will assist in finding the most suitable positions for you and your qualifications. 

More so, they will find availability that does not come up on regular search engines or job sites.

In this way, you will be able to improve your opportunities and find the perfect job for you. 

Types of Speech Therapy Jobs

As we have already mentioned, there are plenty of different job types when it comes to speech therapy. 

Learn How to Become a Speech Therapist
Image Source: Speech Therapy Hub

Since people struggle to communicate for a number of reasons, specialized skills are often required when it comes to their treatment. 

For this reason, you can choose from a number of fields when it comes to your speech therapy career. 

Job Opportunities

New job opportunities in this field are constantly popping up.

Since heart attacks and strokes are becoming much more common, more and more adults are turning to speech therapists for assistance. 

The Salary of a Speech Therapist

A therapist who has been in the business for between 1 and 3 years can earn up to $50,000 every year. 

Learn How to Become a Speech Therapist
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On the other hand, if you have been working for more than 5 years, you are likely to earn closer to $80,000 annually

Factors That Affect Your Salary

There are a number of factors that can affect your yearly income. 

For example, if you are more qualified than the average therapist, patients are likely to pay more for your services. 

More so, the type of agency that you work for will also dictate your salary. 

Summary

A speech therapist works to diagnose and treat patients who suffer from communication disorders and difficulties

To do this, they are required to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees. More so, they will need experience in the field by completing fellowships and working with patients.