What is an SLP and Why Should You Become One?

A speech-language pathologist might help you if you or a loved one are having trouble communicating. A speech pathologist, often known as a speech therapist or speech-language pathologist (SLP), specialises in restoring or enhancing a person’s capacity to speak and communicate following an illness, injury, or long-term impairment.

Speech-language therapists help patients with trouble swallowing eat and drink more safely.

This article looks closer at the contributions speech pathologists make to rehabilitation teams. Find out why and when you need the help of a speech-language pathologist.

What Is an SLP?

An SLP is a medical specialist trained to help people with trouble with communication skills.

SLPs can assist infants, kids, and even grownups in various settings. They can help children who have trouble communicating or have experienced trauma and need to relearn language.

Their work can be exciting and fruitful in many ways. Both residential care facilities and educational institutions can hire them. Occupational therapists might also find employment in hospitals. Independent practice is an option for speech-language pathologists.

How Does a Speech Pathologist Help People?

Speech pathologists develop individualised treatment plans after thoroughly assessing their patients’ needs.

In addition to diagnosing and treating these disorders, they can advise patients on coping with and changing any resulting communication, language, or swallowing issues. Disorders of the voice, trouble with cognitive-communication, and difficulties with fluency are all examples of difficulties with speech and language.

Administrative duties related to their caseloads fall under the purview of speech-language pathologists. Billing, adjusting plans as needed, and keeping tabs on assessments and diagnoses are all examples.

Types of Speech-Language Pathologists

Therapists specialising in speech and language impairments evaluate and treat patients of all ages. Specialist speech-language pathologists (SLPs) help people with trouble speaking or swallowing for various reasons. 

They may collaborate with others to develop patient care strategies. For instance, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in hospitals may collaborate with surgeons, physicians, and other medical professionals, while SLPs in schools may team up with educators, parents, and other caregivers.

Career Opportunities for SLPs

You can go in many directions once you become certified as a speech-language pathologist (SLP). Your qualifications as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) will be in great demand as the need for them grows.

One alternative is working with kids in schools to help them overcome speech issues and develop strong communication skills. Educators and parents could be potential partners in creating individualised care plans in this context.

Employment in healthcare institutions is yet another option. Here, you can help those who have had strokes or head trauma recover their speech and swallowing abilities. You may interact with people who have autism or dementia.

A career in academia or a research institution could be a good fit if you have a passion for discovery. It paves the way for you to research and create innovative therapy methods, enhancing the field.

Private practice provides independence and liberty to individuals who seek it. When you’re a speech-language pathologist with your training, you can decide which clients to take on and which therapy areas to focus on.

The field of speech-language pathology is benefiting from the expansion of tele-practice. To better serve their patients, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) increasingly use online platforms to deliver therapeutic services.

Jobs for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are plentiful. Becoming a speech-language pathologist (SLP) can lead to fulfilling careers in which you make a difference in people’s lives every day, whether you work with youngsters learning to speak or adults working to improve their communication skills.

Why Become an SLP?

Practitioners in the field of speech-language pathology have the potential to have a life-changing impact by assisting those with speech, language, and swallowing disorders.

A wide range of treatment options are available to you as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) for clients of all ages.

Facilitating a speech-sound-disordered child’s social inclusion

Helping a transgender woman find her authentic voice

Helping an elderly lady eat again without worrying about food poisoning

Take a closer look at this fulfilling profession that offers adaptability, a bright career outlook, and high job satisfaction1, as indicated by working speech-language pathologists.

How To Become an SLP?

Bachelor’s degree 

A bachelor’s degree requirement is a significant drawback to working in speech-language pathology. Either a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology or communication sciences is required. Therefore, you should devote at least four years to college to work in speech-language pathology.

Master’s degree 

A Master’s degree is the next logical step for those serious about entering the field of speech-language pathology. However, there are distinctions in intensity. A Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders or a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology are both viable options. Your tastes and preferences will play a significant role.

Two years of study, including clinical rotations, are required to earn this degree. You’ll be spending over two years on this. 

 Pass the ETS Praxis Series Exam.

The requirement to take and pass the Praxis Series of the Educational Testing Service Exam is one of the drawbacks of pursuing a career in speech-language pathology. 

Anyone interested in clinical practice or postgraduate degrees in Speech-Language Pathology must take the Praxis Series of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Exam. This test is mandated. All aspiring clinicians must have the same level of education.

The Praxis Series of the Educational Testing Service Exam is like a driver’s test required to obtain a license. It may seem incredibly challenging for those who have never taken a test like this. The ETS Praxis Series Exam tests language and articulation skills. 

Complete your clinical hours.

Clinical work is integral to speech-language pathology training; therefore, getting the necessary hours is essential. Clinical training, or “practising your profession,” entails a significant time commitment. 

You must put in 375 hours of clinical work experience under supervision. If you want to work in schools, you’ll need to put through 400 hours of supervised clinical practice during a postgraduate fellowship. It seems pretty riveting.

You need a CCC-SLP to work in schools.

You require a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology for educational work.

 Earning a Master’s degree and then passing the national certification exam for speech-language pathologists is required to get certified in the field. 

You can work with school-aged children and adults when you become certified as a speech-language pathologist by the Speech-Language-Hearing Association of America (ASHA). Getting certified is a more time- and energy-consuming process. You may feel like it’s controlling your every waking moment at times.

Practice license required.

The requirement for a valid license to practice is yet another drawback of entering the field of speech-language pathology. 

A master’s degree and clinical experience under the supervision of certified professionals are required to obtain a license in the field of speech-language pathology. If you want to know if you need a permit to work in a particular state, you should contact that state directly.

Benefits of Speech Therapy for Children

Facilitates Verbal Interaction

Children who cannot speak can use no-tech communication books, low- and mid-tech communication devices, high-tech communication devices, and communication applications.

Therapy for communication disorders encompasses not only speech but also language. The scope of speech therapy far exceeds its commonly held but inaccurate perception.

Helps with Social Skills

Possessing adequate pragmatic/social skills is crucial for functioning in society and daily life. Sensible language abilities are commonly considerably delayed and disordered in those with limited or no functional speech. Social skills developed through video modelling, role-playing, specialised therapy, and social storytelling. 

An integral part of speech therapy is using assisted communication with these methods to enhance these social abilities.

Facilitates Reading

Hearing, reading, and writing difficulties are all symptoms of speech delay. Literacy and the ability to read are crucial communication tools. Learning to spell opens up a whole new world of expression. Teaching these fundamental abilities may be the secret to effective communication with others.

Improves Non-Traditional Means of Contact

Use gestures, sign language, approximations, vocalisations, and other ways of communication to help with conversation. Humans use a holistic approach to communication in all our interactions. We express ourselves verbally and nonverbally in numerous ways, including speaking, facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, writing, and typing.

Techniques for non-verbal communication (such as tapping someone on the shoulder to grab their attention, using signs for everyday needs like “bathroom,” “eat,” and “drink,” etc.). Make the sounds that your youngster uses frequently have significance for them. Use the word “ha” for “help” if a child can utter it. Depending on the person, you may use “ba” for “book” as a close approximation.

 Reduces Communication Frustrations

Speech therapy aids kids in developing better interpersonal and social communication skills. The exercises, in this way, improve speech muscles. 

Repetition and imitation are critical components of speech exercises prescribed by therapists.

Speech Delays and Disorders SLP Can Help 

People with trouble pronouncing certain sounds or words or persistent voice issues are diagnosed with a speech disorder. SLPs aid in treating a wide range of medical problems, including but not limited to speech delays and conditions in adults. 


Damage to the brain can lead to a problem called motor speech, which makes it hard to generate the sounds and words you want to say. If a person has apraxia of speech, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) can help them retrain their speech muscles to move correctly, or they can learn other ways to communicate, such as using gestures or a computer.


Damage to the brain might weaken the muscles controlling speech. Patients with dysarthria can benefit from the assistance of a speech-language pathologist (SLP) by learning to talk more slowly, increase volume, build muscle in the mouth, produce sounds more clearly, and use AAC.


 The problem with speech fluency is that the affected person needs help getting words out, gets stuck on particular words or sounds, or elongates certain parts of words. SLPs can facilitate parental and educator participation in stuttering treatment strategies. SLPs can aid older kids and adults with stuttering management by helping them identify and confront the triggers for their stuttering.

Vocal dysfunctions

Voice diseases include chronic cough, paradoxical vocal fold movement (PVFM), spasmodic dysphonia, nodules on the vocal cords, and paralysis of the vocal folds. SLPs can aid in the treatment of voice disorders by assisting patients with chronic cough management, treating conditions that cause PVFM and training a patient to keep their vocal cords open, providing voice therapy, instructing patients on proper vocal hygiene, and referring patients to other providers for medical treatment of underlying conditions.

Language Delays and Disorders

Patients who have difficulty doing either can benefit from the services of SLPs. It is difficult for patients with expressive language difficulties to express themselves. Those with receptive language difficulties, whether children or adults, struggle to grasp what is being said or read to them. SLPs can deal with children who cannot communicate due to language impairments and utilise techniques like games and role-playing to assist them in overcoming their difficulties.

Cognitive-communicative disorders

cognitive impairment-causing disorders often arise from strokes, brain injuries, or degenerative diseases. The SLP can work with the patient and family to enhance communication outcomes by helping them regain their prior level of cognitive function, developing ways to compensate for memory loss and loss of cognitive function, and more. 


difficulties ingesting due to a condition that hinders the passage of food or drink from the mouth to the stomach. They can also perform feeding therapy, encourage patients to try new foods or eating methods, build up the muscles in the mouth and tongue, and assist with sensory difficulties.

Pre-literacy and literacy skills

components of literacy such as oral language, vocabulary, alphabetic knowledge, and print knowledge that may be predictive of reading outcomes. Parents can benefit from SLPs’ collaboration in encouraging their children’s pre-literacy and literacy development.

Social communication

 problems communicating, whether due to a lack of vocabulary, an inability to adapt speech to the context, or a disregard for social norms. Sharing well in different contexts is a skill that speech-language pathologists may teach their patients. 

Salary Potential for SLPs

Salary potential is a significant consideration when picking a profession. You can count on a fulfilling and attractive salary as an SLP. The increasing demand for speech-language pathologists directly affects salary levels in this field.

Expertise, geographic area, and kind of employer all have a role in determining the wage range for SLPs. The median salary for speech-language pathologists was $80,480, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.

Salary potential for SLPs increases with experience and credentials. You could earn more money working in a healthcare facility or private practice than in a school or government agency.

It’s important to remember that a person’s earning prospects vary greatly depending on where they live. Higher salaries are typically offered in areas with higher living expenses to entice skilled workers to relocate.

What Happens During a Speech Therapy Session?

Young patients are typically seen alone or in small groups. Picture books, conversation, and games are standard methods of teaching language through repetition.

In speech therapy, it is common practice to use sound exercises. The therapist frequently reviews phonetics and vocabulary. The therapist models the word or sound for the kid to imitate. They might even show you the proper tongue placement for pronouncing a word.

Oral eating and swallowing therapy are sometimes a part of speech therapy. The therapist may massage the face and exercise the mouth, lips, and jaw to improve strength. They do this so the kids can distinguish between distinct sensations, like when food is hot or cold. Children who have trouble swallowing can benefit from this treatment. Here at NAPA Center, we tailor our speech therapy sessions to your kid’s specific needs. Speak-easy is fantastic!

Speech-Language Pathology vs. Audiology

Jobs in audiology, occupational therapy, and school counselling are similar to those in speech-language pathology. Although both speech-language pathology and audiology are within the purview of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), their respective foci are distinct.

Different from speech-language pathologists, audiologists specialise in assessing and rehabilitating patients with hearing and balance problems. To determine the impact of clients’ hearing skills on communication and make appropriate referrals, SLPs get some training in audiology to perform hearing screens and evaluations.


You should consult a speech-language pathologist if you or a loved one are experiencing difficulties speaking or understanding the language. SLPs work with patients of all ages and treat illnesses such as autism, cerebral palsy, aphasia, and various neurological disorders. They can evaluate your condition and suggest ways to boost your speech, listening, and swallowing abilities.