Planning a Career as a Speech Therapist?

Speech Therapist, Speech Language Pathologist and Speech Teacher are different names used to refer to the same profession - those who work with people with communication difficulties.

When you think of a speech language pathologist career, you might think you will be working exclusively with young children who are afflicted with speech impediments such as stuttering. While this can be true, a great deal of this job field is focused on therapy for children, speech language pathology jobs encompass a much larger circle.

Of the 119 000 speech pathology jobs in the United States in 2008, approximately half of them were outside of the realm of the school system. Speech pathologists can be called upon to assist as part of overall health and rehabilitation services for both children and adults, who require therapy as a result of medical conditions, such as a stroke, accident, illness or injury.

Within the school system, speech language pathologists work with all ages and ranges of children, from preschoolers all the way up to the secondary school grades. This specialized career can also involve working in hospitals, private practice establishments, clinics and rehabilitative care centres.

To train as a Speech Therapist or Speech Language Pathologist, you will need to check out the requirements of the professional body in your area. In the United States, this is ASHA, the American Speech Hearing Association. In the UK, Speech and Language Therapists are regulated by RCSLT or the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

In recent years, these organizations, along with others from countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, have worked together to form the mutual recognition agreement. This agreement states that subject to certain conditions, the qualifications earned in one country and recognized to receive a licence to practice in the other countries party to the agreement.

Speech Pathology Schools

speech therapist

There are several speech pathology schools in most states in America. To become a licensed speech language pathologist, most states will require you to complete your training and education at an educational facility that has been certified by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audio and Speech Language Pathology.

You must also have a Master's Degree in Speech Pathology. In 47 states you will also be expected pass the Practice Exam in Speech Language Pathology in order to gain your licence, as well as put in numerous clinical hours.

Working as a Speech Therapist includes examining and analyzing the type of language or speech dysfunction, and implementing a course of action, such as therapy sessions, to correct the problem. Problems with speech can arise from wide variety of causes, including typical childhood developmental delays, hearing problems in children, or medical or health problems such a stroke in adults.

In order to determine the cause of the speech problem, as well as set a course of rehabilitative action, the speech language pathologist may use a number of different tests that include oral and visual aids to help diagnose the patient's condition and severity. Once the diagnosis is in place, the pathologist works with the patient to improve the quality of their speech and sound formation, or increase the language development to a level that is optimum for that patient.

A Speech Pathology Career - Speech Therapist or Speech Pathology Jobs

Are you thinking of a speech pathology career? The benefit to clients and patients from speech and language therapy is enormous. The ability to communicate more effectively, both in children and adults, can dramatically improve everything from the ability of a six year old to make friends at school, to a post-illness adult who simply wants to order a coffee from Starbucks. The ability to express ourselves effectively to others is the cornerstone to independent living. Lacking these essential skills can lead to emotional turmoil and low self esteem, as well as severe social anxiety.

Therefore, it's no surprise that speech language pathology careers in the United States is growing rapidly, as the demand for this type of professional service provider is increasing at a much higher level than the average career.

With the importance of early detection in toddlers and preschoolers becoming more apparent, speech language pathologist professionals are an integral part of enriched care programs for young children suffering from developmental delays. America's school systems are being encouraged to engage and promote the warning signs to staff and faculty, since early intervention is proving to be one of the most beneficial elements when it comes to children with language or developmental delays.

If you choose a career in this noble profession, you can expect to earn a respectable income, which averages about $65 000 annually as of 2009. As a speech language pathologist, you can choose to open a private practice, or you may wish to join a specialized care facility. Others choose to work within the school system, handling referrals from parents, teachers and pediatricians for children who are showing signs of language or social delays.

Still others find a Speech Therapist career in rehabilitation centres and hospitals. These jobs focus on recovering lost language skills or communication skills that can result in both children and adults after traumas or accidents. In the case of many stroke victims, the ability to speak is severely impaired and requires intense therapy to regain the ability to communicate with the world.

Needless to say, the personal qualities needed to join this profession include patience, empathy and a calm demeanour. A speech language pathologist is often the liaison between teachers, parents, family physicians and other health care professionals. A great deal of tact is often required when dealing with frustrated or emotionally exhausted parents and relatives, in order to ensure the patient has the best support system available.

However, with job choices on the rise and the opportunities continuing to grow each year, becoming a Speech Therapist or assistant can prove to be a long and rewarding career.

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Top Talking Tips...

Sing Nursery Rhymes and Action Songs

Traditional songs and rhymes have hand actions that let your child join in and take a turn, even before they can sing the words.

This helps to work on listening, attention, imitation and turntaking, all important skills for Speech and Language development!