Speech Pathology Jobs

This area will provide information on speech pathology jobs including educational requirements and treatment methods.

Verbal communication and language are two of the most important defining factors of the human race. It is the most common means of sharing thoughts, expressing needs, transferring knowledge, and expressing ourselves. When physical or emotional impairments make it difficult or impossible to speak or eat, help often comes in the form of a speech pathologist.

What is Speech Pathology?

Speech and language pathology is the study and treatment of verbal communication problems such as slurring, mumbling, stuttering, inappropriate pitch, or lack of ability to understand and produce speech sounds or language. Speech pathologists may work with people who want to minimize an accent or annoying speech pattern. They may also help those attention and memory disorders related to speech. In some cases, speech pathologists work with people who have problems eating and swallowing.

Speech and language problems have a variety of causes including cleft palate, mental retardation, emotional problems, hearing loss, brain injury or deterioration, cerebral palsy, and stroke. Using their training in medical, dental, an psychological illnesses and disorders, speech pathologists use verbal questioning, written and oral assessments, and special equipment to help diagnose a problem, determine the cause, and implement an individualized treatment plan.

Treatment methods may include teaching patients to make language sounds and form words, retrain muscles, learn to use sign language or automated speech equipment. An understanding of how human speech is formed, including brain functioning, muscle use, breathing and other factors, is essential knowledge for people in this career field. Other key areas of knowledge for this field include familiarity with the meanings, spelling, and use of words and phrases, and ability to provide advice on social or personal problems.

Educational Requirements for Speech Pathology

Speech pathologist professionals gain much of their specialized knowledge from university coursework. In most areas of the world, a speech pathologist is required to complete an undergraduate degree in speech pathology, if available, or a related area such as rehabilitative therapies or special education. Typical coursework in speech pathology includes anatomy, speech and language development, diagnostic and treatment methods, and record keeping.

A graduate or advance degree is necessary, often accompanied by supervised clinical experience. And in those countries that require licensing of speech pathologists, candidates must pass an exam before becoming legally qualified to practice in the field.

Speech Pathology Careers

Speech pathologists work mostly indoors and have frequent contact with patients. They may work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, speech and hearing clinics, centers for the developmentally disabled, schools and universities, research laboratories, day care centers, and health departments. They may work as part of an organization or as a private practitioner.

Those who pursue training and employment in speech pathology may also work in related careers including:

  • Rehabilitation professional
  • Neurologist
  • Neonatologist
  • Preschool, primary, and secondary teachers and assistants
  • College and university instructors
  • Health service managers