What Speech-Language Pathologists Do

A speech-language pathologists evaluates patients to determine the causes and effects of various speech, language, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders that affect patients of all ages. They investigate communications disorders and often different kinds of behaviors that manifest with particular communication difficulties.

Types of Work Environments

  • Hospitals
  • Schools and universities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Centers for those with developmental disabilities
  • Research laboratories
  • Private practices

Education and Training Requirements

Most speech-language pathologists have a graduate degree, have completed an externship/clinical field experience, and pass the national certification examination commissioned by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and facilitated by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). However, in some work environments, a PhD is required. Courses of study include biology, physiology, anatomy, human development, social/behavioral sciences, physical science, mathematics, psychology, semantics, phonetics, linguistics. Speech-language pathologists have the same strong, scientific foundation as other allied health professions, but with an added linguistic component.


According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary for speech-language pathologists is approximately $89,290 per year.

Professional Organization

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association - careers in speech-language pathology.

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