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Speech-Language Pathologist Careers: Pros, Cons and Salaries

Who are speech language pathologists?

Speech language pathologists shortened as (SLPs) and also known as speech therapists are basically health care practitioners who specialize in helping patients with communication and swallowing disorder. They venture in various sectors that include:

  • Speech disorder:  it occurs when one finds it hard to make fluent and clear speech sound, they also have a problem with their voices and can’t pronounce words properly, they stutter and have articulation disorders.
  • Language disorder: here one has difficulty in understanding and interpreting other people communicating with them, they also can’t express their feelings and emotions properly.
  • Social communication: the individuals here have a problem in using verbal and non verbal cues here the disorders include difficulty in;
  1. Using greetings, asking of questions, commenting on things
  2. They find it difficult to converse in order to suit the conversion well under specific settings
  3. They can’t follow the rules of communication and story telling example those with autism and brain trauma injury
  • Cognitive communication disorder: those who have problems in thoughts arrangement, being attentive especially during communication, memory problem/lapse and problem solving the most significant causes here are stroke and injury as a result of brain trauma.
  • Swallowing disorder: this occurs sometime as a result of various intense illnesses like stroke, injuries and some surgeries leading to swallowing problem.
The SLP career

To venture in the careers we need to understand that one major requirement of SLPs is to earn a master’s degree in speech and language therapy and be ready to work with people of all ages and diversities. SLPs major role is to examine, evaluate diagnosis and treat communication disorder cognition, voice disorders and swallowing. SLP is a serious role that aims at aiding successful physical and emotional growth in children, the emotional stability of the adults involved, counseling of the family affected where the individual comes from thus enhancing family joy and engaging trauma hit persons in rehabilitation centers. This means that in order to be successful in the field one need to exhibit certain character traits which include dedication and utmost concentration, patience and keenness, love and empathy, passionate desire.

SLPs duties involve:
  • They can own their businesses in terms of running clinics or conducting private practice.
  • They work for various government institutions like the ministries, states and local agencies and institution.
  • They conduct researches to improve knowledge about the diverse human communication process thereby formulating new modes of treatment that can counter attack the ever growing disease.
  • They give counseling and consultation services where necessary.
  • They also give directives and guidance to support staffs.
  • They can also give rehabilitation for the deaf or partial hearing.
  • They give augmentative and alternate communication (AAC) systems for their severe expressive disorders and those with severe language comprehension disorders example include those with autism and neurological disorders.
  • They help people who want to develop a mode of effective communication especially those with speech and language disorder.

Therefore if you are a certified SLP you can work as a teacher/lecture, physician, audiologist, psychologist, social worker, rehabilitation counselor, physical and occupational therapist.

Advantages of becoming an SLP
  • An SLP trains in communication and swallowing which allows them to have vast options for employment open to them which include early intervention programs, public and private system, private clinics, in and outpatient in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, nonprofit agencies and rehabilitation centers this means that if a professional /student develops burn out in their careers instead of going back to school to attain another degree and join another field they can stay in their field and work in a different setting with different clients.
  • The SLPs get to work with diverse clients across different settings which means no clients are the same and having the same experience they have diverse desires therefore enhancing enthusiasm in the job by reducing boredom in the SLP.
  • Continuous learning in this field is in evitable due to ever growing and thus ever changing nature of social communication disorders which means SLPs have to continually study, research, attend conferences and trainings on current best practices as they gradually grow.
  • Private practice is allowed in the field thus most SLPs have private clients aside from their jobs or sometime they work full time for themselves.
  • Creativity is essential since every client depicts unique characteristics thus this means their creativity makes the therapy sessions more interesting, motivating and beneficial since one can come up with other new and influential ideas that could be of use to the fields.
  • One has the choice to Specialize in certain specific areas of the field or not. There is no coercion you get to choose your interest.
  • The satisfaction and joy feeling when the client achieves a goal set or progressively develops wellness is immense to the SLP.
  • Training the caregivers is part of the career they are empowered and motivated to keep on keeping on and when they reach the level when they anticipate progress on the child or the sick one the power to heal and grow develops.
  • SLPs promote the importance of healthy lifestyles to prevent communication, swallowing and hearing problems.
  • These makes one develop patience and good listening skills.
  • The job also helps you develop a passion for language and linguistics.
The disadvantages of becoming an SPL

Below are some;

  • Your job here is a professional kind and the most challenging part is that the patients you deal with are mostly speech impaired unable to communicate effectively with you those coming along with them which can lead to lots of anger, causing tantrum and frustrations which means you need to be very patient and kind with them to achieve success.
  • In schools the case loads to handle are immense which can lead to lack of proper attention to detail as needed by the families of the individuals and overworking on the SLP.
  • Underfunding can lead to states hiring under qualified SLPs or just speech services which means the children and patients will lag further behind thereby forcing them to work extra hard when the case is brought to specialists.
  • In the states the laws that govern the SLPs are set by those who do not understand the nature of their jobs and some laws are unfair to the SLPs.
  • The paperwork and meetings take loads of time thus forcing the SLPs to carry their work home to do during their free time.
  • The nature of non specialized SLP work is the kind that require you to attend to different patients with different needs at the same time example a patient with stuttering problem, one with child who can’t pronounce some letters and another working on social amazing skills this can be hectic for them at first but with time they develop their skills and find a way that works.
  • They are constantly misunderstood on what exactly they do by other professionals so they have to explain it to others.
  • SLPs are expected to work outside their scope due to a misunderstanding of what exactly they do.
  • Misconception that SLPs that work with the public sectors are not as knowledgeable as those in the private industry not realizing that the education is the same and the practice too.
  • There is need to find time to further study while you also want to work.
Competitive salaries

There are various factors to consider in this sub topic which include the educational background, job experience, the particular work setting and the geographical location. According to salary.com the median annual salary in the united states is $76,804 as at April 2017.SLP Jobs within the health care areas pay better than schools do and if you get the job through recruitment agencies you are sure to have benefits like; health care and dental insurance, 401000tax savings, travel allowance and paid housing, professional liability insurance and continued education. The best paid speech language pathologist earns $114840 however remember it all differs in different states and countries.

Conclusion

Speech language pathologist career will require you to acquire an advanced degree from an accredited speech therapy program, a valid certificate that proves clinical experience and readiness to work in both rural and urban areas. Today it is said that approximately 10% of the world population experience different communication problems this means that if you love working hard and continuously studying, working with people to see them get better, experiencing career growth while earning competitive salary and benefits globally then this is for you.

The good news is that the job is growing globally with the growing communication challenges so whether you choose to work as a private practitioner or public employment you will definitely earn a sustainable growth in the industry.

REFERENCES

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