What Can You Do With a Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) Degree

Updated icon
Updated on March 19, 2024
Boluwatife Oluwasegun

Written by Boluwatife Oluwasegun

Master’s in Audiology and Speech Pathology

Fact icon
Fact Checked


The study of speech-language pathology focuses on assessing, identifying, and managing communication, language, and speech difficulties in people of all ages.

Speech-language pathologists, commonly known as SLPs or speech therapists, assist individuals who face challenges in understanding language, using language, making speech sounds, or speaking confidently in social situations. They use various techniques and interventions to help clients strengthen their communication skills and achieve their goals. Enhancing the quality of life for people with communication problems is a significant function of the field of speech-language pathology.


SLPs help people who have trouble with swallowing or communicating. Communication is not just about talking; it is about piecing sounds together to create words, organizing thoughts and understanding information, speaking quickly or slowly, or using voice. Along with receptive and expressive language, they also work with articulation, fluency, voice, and resonance. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) says SLPs do it all. They evaluate, diagnose, treat, and even prevent social communication, speech-language, cognitive communication, and swallowing issues in adults and children.


The need for speech therapists is growing worldwide. Why?

Communication disorder is prevalent across all age groups and can be caused by various factors such as developmental delays, neurological disorders, voice disorders, population growth, and early intervention awareness. 

Even the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for speech-language pathologists will increase by 21% from 2021 to 2031. That’s higher than your average job growth!


Do you want to work in the field of speech-language pathology?

The speech-language pathology profession provides many employment options for those with varying SLP degrees. Whether just getting a degree or seeking career advancement, career options are available to meet your goals and objectives. The sector offers a wealth of chances for those with different degree levels of SLP.


To become an SLP, you must first get a bachelor’s degree. Entry into graduate schools in audiology and speech-language pathology often requires an undergraduate degree in SLP.

As a pre-professional degree, the bachelor’s degree prepares students for graduate work in speech-language pathology. This degree prepares you for grad school and helps you learn how to assist people with communication and swallowing difficulties.

The degree offers instruction in the fundamentals of human communication and its problems, professional attitudes, ethics, and evidence-based techniques. The degree usually takes four years and covers phonetics, audiology, language development, anatomy and physiology of speech and hearing, and diagnosing and treating speech and language disorders. 


Many employment opportunities in communication disorders can be obtained with a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology (SLP). 

  • Speech Language Pathology Assistant: The SLP’s right-hand person is none other than the speech-language pathologist assistant (SLPA). SLPAs are responsible for reviewing reports, verifying treatment plans, administrative tasks, and prevention initiatives,  providing treatment to patients, and carrying out specific clinical duties under the guidance and supervision of an SLP. Similar to SLPs, you may need to work in several settings, so you should develop your flexibility as a candidate to make the most of the experience. Some states may require SLPAs to complete a fieldwork course before commencing work. It’s important to note that not all states recognize SLPAs, and you may not be licensed.
  • Early Intervention Specialist: If you have a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology (SLP), you could consider becoming an early intervention specialist. These specialists work with infants and young children with developmental delays or impairments or at risk of such conditions. By collaborating with families and other experts, you can develop customized programs that promote the child’s growth and tackle any communication and developmental obstacles. With the knowledge from your courses, you can assess the child’s communication skills and provide solutions for their development. If you love working with young children and helping them reach their full potential, becoming an early intervention specialist could be an excellent choice for a fulfilling career.
  • Special Education Paraprofessional: As a paraprofessional in special education in a school setting, you can assist special education teachers in implementing individualized education plans (IEPs) for students with speech and language difficulties and closely collaborating with special needs children with communication disorders.
  • Marketing: Professionals who know their way around communication disorders have great job options in the corporate world, especially in sales and marketing roles. Selling speech and language therapy products often involves collaborating with schools and medical experts, so companies might seek speech therapists to lend their expertise. 
  • Behavioral therapist: Depending on your locality, you may be able to work as a behavioral therapist for children with autism. However, to work specifically with children with autism, you may need to obtain additional training and certification. This is because working with individuals on the autism spectrum would require specialized training in applied behavior analysis (ABA) or other pertinent behavioral intervention techniques.


If you want to step up your game in speech-language pathology, getting a master’s degree is the way to go.

A master’s degree in speech-language pathology offers advanced instruction and preparation in the discipline. The coursework will equip you with advanced skills and a deep understanding of the field. An accredited master’s degree in speech-language pathology is usually required to become a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP). 


After completing your degree, pursuing certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association can help demonstrate your proficiency and advanced knowledge in the field. To become licensed, you must also pass a national exam and complete a specific amount of supervised clinical experience. Specializing in cognitive communication problems, voice disorders, swallowing disorders, and fluency issues can further enhance your employment prospects and offer avenues for professional growth.

Getting a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology can open up many job possibilities in private clinics, schools, hospitals, rehab centers, and research institutes.


  • Speech Language Pathologist: Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) play a vital role in identifying and assessing communication impairments in adults and children. As an SLP, you thoroughly evaluate voice, fluency, language, and speech impairments to determine their nature and severity. Additionally, you specialize in treating dysphagia, which refers to the difficulty in swallowing, and offer aural rehabilitation to patients dealing with hearing loss. SLPs work in diverse settings such as residential healthcare, hospitals, and educational institutions.
  • Telepractice:  Having a master’s degree in speech-language pathology can equip you with the necessary knowledge and experience to serve in the field of telepractice, which is currently in high demand. This allows you to work remotely, providing a convenient option for those who prefer a more flexible work schedule or have other commitments. 
  • Independent /Private practice: You may decide to work in private practice after earning a master’s degree in speech-language pathology, which might allow you more freedom and control over your job. Serving a broad spectrum of clients, private practice speech-language pathologists can operate in clinic settings, provide home-based SLP services, or focus on corporate speech-language pathology needs.
  • Research career and development: Qualified speech-language pathologists have the opportunity to pursue academic paths in their field. At esteemed schools and universities, SLPs can serve as mentors to future speech pathologists and contribute to meeting the need for researchers in this discipline. Additionally, in university clinics, you can be a clinical supervisor for graduate students.
  • Rehabilitation Facility:  If you have a master’s degree in speech-language pathology (SLP), you can work as an SLP in a rehabilitation center. In this role, your primary responsibility would be to assist patients in dealing with communication and swallowing issues resulting from illness or trauma. As part of the duties, you would conduct intake evaluations on newly admitted patients, working alongside other medical specialists to determine the best course of treatment for each patient. 


Suppose you are a speech-language pathologist looking to take your career to the next level; you might consider a clinical doctorate program in speech-language pathology. ASHA states these programs aim to provide advanced training and allow SLPs to specialize in particular areas or take on more advanced clinical roles. 

Pursuing a doctoral degree in this field can be a terrific way to expand your knowledge of speech and language impairments, but it requires a lot of dedication and commitment. However, if you stick with it, the rewards can be worth it! With a doctoral degree in speech-language pathology, you can take your career to the next level and make a real difference in the lives of individuals with communication disorders. This degree can take three to five years and usually requires a master’s degree in speech-language pathology.

Doctorate program students will study advanced courses in vocal disorders, neurogenic communication disorders, language development, and research techniques. With a doctorate in speech-language pathology, you’ll be qualified for a range of roles in academia, clinical practice, or research. For example, you could become a clinical supervisor, researcher, or professor. 


  • Research: Research in speech-language pathology can be done by holders of a PhD degree in the field of study. This can involve research into communication problems’ effects on people’s lives, the efficacy of various therapies, and speech and language difficulties. You can engage in specific research initiatives and apply for funding to support studies that will further the field’s understanding.
  • Teaching: You can also prepare for an academic job with a PhD. With this degree, you can teach speech-language pathology courses at the college or university level. In addition to mentoring students pursuing additional degrees, you can be employed as a university professor, teaching graduate-level speech-language pathology courses. 
  • Clinical Practice: With your Ph.D., you can offer clients speech-language pathology treatments in a clinical setting. For those who suffer from communication difficulties, this may entail performing evaluations, creating treatment programs, and offering counseling.
  • Consultancy: As a doctorate-holding speech-language pathologist, you can also work as a consultant for organizations that support persons with voice issues, pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders, or communication disorders. This can apply to medical facilities, schools, and private practices.  
  • Advocacy: You can also advocate for those with communication impairments if you hold a PhD. This could encompass promoting laws to assist those with disabilities, educating the public about communication disorders, and collaborating with neighborhood organizations to help those who struggle with speech and language.

Speech-language pathology is a field that plays a crucial role in enhancing communication and quality of life for individuals with speech and language impairments. Pursuing a degree in speech-language pathology can be a fulfilling and exciting path that offers opportunities to make a significant impact on the lives of others. When selecting a speech-language pathology degree program, prospective students must consider their career goals and aspirations. Whether you’re interested in advocacy, clinical practice, research, teaching, or consulting, programs can help you achieve your objectives. 

With commitment, empathy, and knowledge, you can start a fulfilling career in speech-language pathology and leave a lasting impression on individuals and communities. The field offers a unique opportunity to positively impact someone’s life, regardless of where you are in your education or career journey.