Speech-Language and Audiology Careers
To speak and write, to listen and learn, to be understood. The abilities most fundamental to human communication and interaction can be impaired by a wide range of conditions, from stroke, cancer, and cerebral palsy to hearing impairments, learning disabilities, developmental delays, and autism. Speech-language pathologists (sometimes called speech therapists) and audiologists work with people of all ages to improve their ability to communicate.
What do speech-language pathologists do?
Since communication disorders affect every aspect of a person’s life, the work of a speech-language pathologist is multifaceted:
- prevention, screening, consultation, assessment and diagnosis, treatment, counseling, and follow-up services for disorders of speech, language, swallowing, and cognition
- provide techniques and strategies for improving communication
- diagnostics and intervention for disorders in swallowing
- education for individuals, families, co-workers, and educators about accepting and adapting to speech, language, swallowing, and hearing problems
What do audiologists do?
Access to a spoken and/or manual language is a crucial component of the daily communication required for people to function in their lives. Audiologists work on:
- prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, counseling, and follow-up services for hearing and balance disorders
- provision of technology and strategies for improving communication including hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive listening devices
- education for individuals, families, co-workers, and educators about accepting and adapting to hearing loss
- consultation about the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss and optimizing listening environments for communication
Where do speech-pathologists and audiologists work?
- public schools
- nursing homes
- early intervention programs
- patient homes
- private practice
- rehabilitation centers
- special-needs schools
What will I like (or dislike) about this work?
- satisfaction from helping others
- clients of all ages
- working with a team of professionals
- option of full- or part-time work
How is the job outlook?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (2014-2015): “Employment of speech-language pathologists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. As the large baby-boom population grows older, there will be more instances of health conditions that cause speech or language impairments, such as strokes and hearing loss.”
For audiologists, “Employment of audiologists is projected to grow 34 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Hearing loss increases as people age, so the aging population is likely to increase demand for audiologists.”
What are the educational requirements?
- master degree (minimum) for speech-language pathologists
- doctor of audiology degree (AuD) or other doctoral degree for audiologists
- licensure in most statesfor