Speech pathologist jobs are now in so much demand by schools and health clinics that there are simply more openings than there are of these professionals. This is great news for those studying in this field as it means that there will still be plenty of opportunity by the time you finish with an accredited program and the additional supervised clinical hours.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is expected to grow a massive 19% between 2008 and 2018 alone. The truth of the matter is that speech pathologists are needed more than ever, especially with a booming elderly population that will naturally be needing such services as their speech and language skills deteriorates.
Another interesting statistic is that the American Speech-Language-Hearing association actually did a survey in 2009 of available job openings in various settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics and pediatric hospitals among others.
What they found should surprise you even more. There were nearly 26.4% positions that were not filled even though these places had the funding for them. The future speech pathologist job outlook looks excellent as well. According to a recent survey done by Forbes on the speech therapy field, here’s what Lemmietta McNeilly, chief staff officer at the ASHA, had to say about the matter:
“We consider the outlook strong for the profession. We don’t have enough speech language pathologists to meet the demand.”
High demand for speech pathologists
As mentioned earlier, the aging baby boomers will have an even greater impact on the demand for speech therapists as they will naturally need services in this area especially victims of strokes, cancer, Alzheimer’s or even dementia.
Assuming that you have the necessary qualifications and certifications, finding speech pathologist jobs will not really be a problem as health settings are always looking for these types of professionals. In fact, one area that is showing significant growth is in pediatrics.
Speech therapists needed in schools
Children suffering from speech disorders or with an inability to communicate due to a variety of reasons have strong need for speech therapists. If you enjoy working with children then you can work in a variety of institutions such as preschools, elementary schools, high schools and even universities.
Speech pathologist salaries are typically paid by Medicaid. There are even federal laws that have recently passed that now require students to be tested at an early age and to be treated accordingly. This gives school districts the opportunity then to hire speech language pathologists.
In fact, demand is so high that some schools in Ohio and South Carolina are actually paying their teachers to earn their degrees in this field.
Becoming a speech pathologist takes time
Like any other health care field, becoming certified in this area takes time. Just getting a master’s degree will take up to three years and then there is the required number of supervised clinical hours that you will need to put in at different treatment environments.
Then there is the national licensing exam which will need to be passed before speech pathologists can actually practice. However, the payoff in the end is worth it. In fact, according to a survey done by Money CNN, speech pathologists ranked at number 44 of the best 100 jobs in America with a grade A rating for job satisfaction.
In 2008, the average speech pathologist salary was $66,130. However, those working in hospitals averaged $70,270. Pathologists in nursing homes averaged $79,640 and those in health care facilities averaged $84,600. However, those speech pathologists averaged just $60,970.
Schools that offer accredited programs in the United States include Florida State University, James Madison University, San Jose State University, the University of South Carolina, East Carolina University and Idaho State University.
Of course, this is only a limited number of schools that offer these programs in speech language pathology. The number is expected to go up to accommodate the demand for future speech pathologists.
Where speech pathologist jobs are in most demand
- New York: Huge number of Spanish speakers so demand is even higher in this area for speech pathologists who are able to communicate in this language
- Alaska: Also has a high demand for speech therapists simply because this state often has difficulty with hiring professional in general
- Hawaii: Speech therapists are in need especially in military bases and hospitals
- Arizona and Florida: These states have the highest population of senior citizens so speech language pathologists will especially be needed for health reasons
- Washington, D.C.: Speech therapy services are always needed in this area as people bring their relatives to look for work and it is those individuals who may require a pathologist
Speech pathologist job outlook
As you can probably guess from the information so far, this field is expected to grow for the next decade and even for years beyond. As the baby boom generation enters their later years, they will undoubtedly need assistance in health care areas.
The data is also encouraging for educational settings as recent laws have been passed that now require intervention services for newborns with speaking related disorders. As such, demand will increase as well in elementary and second schools.
And let us not ignore speech language pathologists who are interested in doing private practices as well as hospitals, school and even nursing care facilities will look to these resources as well. The need for speech therapists is especially strong and the job outlook is definitely positive.
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