Careers in Speech-Language Pathology: Communications Sciences and Disorders

Institute for Career Research

Careers in Speech-Language Pathology: Communications Sciences and Disorders
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Careers in Speech-Language Pathology: Communications Sciences and Disorders

Institute for Career Research

AS A CAREER FIELD, COMMUNICATION is generally assumed to include career paths as diverse as journalism, public relations, creative writing and even theatre. What about communication at the most essential level of speech? Speech-language pathologists, often known as SLPs, are the dedicated professionals who help people who have trouble speaking clearly to find their voice and communicate effectively with the world around them. They are the most numerous careerists in the field of communications sciences and disorders, which also includes audiologists and scientists who study speech and hearing problems. Many people suffer from speech problems. About half of the 180,000 speech-language pathologists in the US are employed by schools to help children born with speech impairments to overcome them. The other half of speech-language pathologists work in clinics and hospitals to help people who have suffered trauma or disease, to regain their ability to communicate via speech. People who suffer strokes, for example, often lose much of their ability to speak and need intensive therapy to regain it. Speech-language pathologists also help people with swallowing disorders, which are often the result of injury or illness. Although most speech-language pathologists choose to work for large institutions like schools and hospitals, some take an entrepreneurial leap and open their own specialty clinics, hiring other speech-language pathologists and support staff. Typically, they do not take this step until they have spent a few years working somewhere else, learning the profession, and building a reputation.

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