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Speech-Language Pathologist

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Education & Preparation 

Job Openings & Entry Method 

Earnings & Advancement 

Employment & Outlook 

 

Sources of Additional Information 



Speech-Language Pathologists are therapists who evaluate and treat speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders. Audiologists are therapists who assess and treat hearing disorders. Both workers treat children and adults.  The two specialties are so interrelated that in order to be competent in one, it is necessary to be familiar with the other.
 

JOB DUTIES    

Speech-Language Pathologists may:  

Identify speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders, and evaluate causative factors 

Plan, direct, or conduct therapy for impairments such as aphasia, stuttering, and problems of articulation caused by organic and non organic factors 

Provide guidance and counsel to patients and their families 

Consult with other professionals concerned with the patient's welfare such as physicians, physical therapists, social workers, and teachers 

Refer patients to other specialists if the disorder is diagnosed as not being a speech and/or language problem 

Record the method of treatment and the patient's progress 

Develop alternative and augmentative communication systems for severely impaired and non-speaking patients 

Conduct research related to the acquisition of speech/language and the development of diagnostic and remedial procedures or design of apparatus 

Act as a consultant to educational, medical, and other professional groups 

Teach their area of expertise in colleges and universities 

Supervise students and some faculty members 

Voice pathologists diagnose and treat voice disorders, such as those associated with the professional use of the voice. 

General duties of Audiologists may include: 

Determine the range, nature, and degree of hearing function 

Evaluate the central auditory processing abilities of patients 

Conduct physiological measurements such as an auditory brainstem response 

Differentiate between organic and non organic hearing disabilities 

Plan and conduct audiologic rehabilitation programs for the hearing impaired, including (as needed) a hearing aid fitting, counseling, auditory training, and speech reading 

Plan and conduct industrial hearing conservation programs, including noise measurements, counseling, and instruction in hearing protection 

Conduct research in auditory systems 

Consult with educational, medical, social, vocational, and other professional groups 

Teach/supervise graduate students and some faculty 

 

Click here to watch Speech Pathologists & Audiologists at work! 

 

Machines, equipment, and work aids used may include: 

* Tape recorders 

* Books, pictures & games 

* Voice protheses 

* Videocassette recorders 

* Electro larynxes 

* Biofeedback instruments 

* Graphs & charts 

* Acoustic impedance bridges 

* Sound level meters 

* Respirometers (measure breathing) 

* Mirrors & hearing aids 

* Audiometers (measure hearing ability) 

* Computerize & other augmentative communication systems 

* Electronic & computer equipment for analyzing speech & voice signals 

* Computers which confirm responses to sound 


OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTIES   

Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists may specialize in these areas: 

 

076.107-010  SPEECH PATHOLOGISTS are therapists who evaluate and treat speech, language, and voice disorders of children and adults. 

 

076.101-010  AUDIOLOGISTS are therapists who assess and treat hearing disorders of children and adults. 

 

076.104-010  VOICE PATHOLOGISTS diagnose and treat voice disorders, such as those associated with the professional use of the voice. 

Speech-Language Pathologists work with patients who may have other conditions such as hearing impairment, brain injury, cleft palate, mental retardation, or emotional problems. These workers specialize in therapy and/or research in specific areas of interest. Audiologists may specialize in one type of audiology such as industrial, medical, educational, geriatric, pediatric, or research audiology. 

In addition to learning about these specialties, you may also find it helpful to explore the following Career Exploration Scripts: 

177 PHYSICAL THERAPIST 

242 SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER 

175 OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST 

321 ACTIVITIES THERAPIST 

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WORKING CONDITIONS AND REQUIREMENTS   

Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists may work independently or supervise assistants. They often work as part of a team with other professionals. 

 

Their working conditions may vary depending on the location of jobs and specialties. Audiologists may work in special "quiet" rooms for testing purposes. Most work in clean, comfortable offices. Those who work in hospitals may spend part of their time in hospital wards seeing patients. Those who teach, work in classroom settings; those who engage in research, may spend time in laboratories. 

 

Working hours are usually 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Those in private practice may work evenings or weekends. Most Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists devote time to continuing study, professional meetings, and community education activities. For those who are consultants may have to travel extensively. 

Those in private practice must pay the cost of setting up and maintaining an office, including purchase of furniture equipment, and supplies, as well as payment of rent or mortgage costs. 

 

Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists may join professional associations such as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the National Association for Hearing and Speech Action, the  Academy of Aphasia , Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, the American Cleft Palate Association, and the Michigan Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Those who join professional associations pay periodic membership fees. 

You Should Prefer: 

  • Activities of a scientific and technical nature 
  • Activities which provide satisfaction from seeing the results of work 
  • Activities involving direct contact to help people  

You Should Be Able To: 

  • Communicate well in speech and writing 
  • Work cooperatively and effectively with others 
  • Evaluate information from tests/physical exams/medical histories 
  • Know the meanings/relationships of words/medical/technical language 
  • Work patiently toward long-range goals 
  • See detail in objects or drawings 
  • Recognize slight differences in shapes or shadings 

Math Problem You Should Be Able to Solve: 
What is the intensity of the sound of a radio that is putting out 65 decibels? 

 

Reading Example You Should Be Able to Read and Comprehend: 
Sound is produced by vibrations of air passing through the vocal cords. 

 

Writing Example You Should Be Able to Produce: 
You should be able to write a report explaining the cause of a patient losing his or her voice. 

 

Thinking Skill You Should Be Able to Demonstrate: 
You should be able to decide the best procedure to aide a person that is partially hearing impaired  to speak as clear as possible. 

 

In Michigan, Speech-Language Pathologists in elementary or secondary schools must have a Master's Degree meet the standards for a teacher certification, and be qualified to work with handicapped children. Speech-Language Pathologists must decide while in school, if they will work in a clinical setting or in the schools. If working in the schools, they will need teacher certification. The bachelor degree is usually in Communication Disorders or Speech Pathology with student teaching requirements. 

 

When working in a hospital or clinical setting they need a supervised clinical fellowship year of 1200 hours. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association offers a certificate of clinical competence (C.C.C.) examination. The C.C.C. is a written national exam and this certificate is required for clinical Speech-Language Pathologists.  Audiologists must complete a Doctor of Audiology degree called an AuD to work as an Audiologist.  The State of Michigan requires a license for this occupation.  Click here for "Michigan Licensed Occupations," see Audiologist for specific licensing information. 

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EDUCATION AND PREPARATION OPPORTUNITIES   

NOTE: For a career in Speech-Language Pathology, a Master's Degree (five to six years of study beyond High School) is a minimum requirement. 

 

And in Audiology, completion of AuD degree (Doctor of Audiology) typically requires 4 years of full-time study beyond the Bachelor's Degree. The following education and preparation opportunities are helpful in preparing for occupations in this Career Exploration Script: 
***SCHOOL SUBJECTS***   
0700 CAREERS , 0900 COMMUNICATIONS , 1000 COMPUTERS , 1800 HEALTH & HEALTH CAREERS , 2200 MATH , 2900 SCIENCE , 3300 TECHNOLOGY 

***VOCATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS***   
There are no Vocational Education Programs related to this Career Exploration Script, 

Students should obtain the local Education & Training Opportunities for information on what happens to students who successfully complete a program. This information is available at each high school or career/technical center.   

***POSTSECONDARY PROGRAMS***   

164   SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST & AUDIOLOGIST 

Programs in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology provide opportunities to gain the skills and knowledge needed to assess, test, diagnose, and help rehabilitate people with speech, language, and hearing disorders. Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists who work in elementary or secondary schools must have a Michigan Teaching Certificate. 

Courses vary from school to school but may include: 

Acquisition of Language 

Stuttering 

Phonetics 

Fundamentals of Hearing 

Fundamentals of Speech Science 

Science 

Clinical Practicum 

Audiology 

Articulatory & Language Disorders 

Hearing Rehabilitation 

Disorders of Speech & Voice 

Speech & Hearing Problems of School Children 

  Search for a College and/or Instructional Program 

***APPRENTICESHIP OPPORTUNITIES***   
There are no Apprenticeships related to this Career Exploration Script. 

***MILITARY TRAINING PROGRAMS***   
Please check the Military web site at http://www.todaysmilitary.com/ . 

SPEECH THERAPISTS   

Speech therapists work as part of military medical teams. Speech therapists evaluate and treat patients with hearing and speech problems. 

What They Do   

Speech therapists in the military perform some or all of the following duties: 

  • Talk with patients to discuss hearing and speaking problems and possible causes and treatment 
  • Identify speaking and language problems 
  • Examine the ears, including the entire auditory (hearing) system 
  • Evaluate examination and test data to determine the type and amount of hearing loss 
  • Treat hearing problems using hearing aids and other treatments 
  • Assist patients in selecting and using hearing aids 
  • Conduct programs to help patients improve their speaking skills 
  • Research new techniques for treating hearing and speaking problems 

Special Requirements 

A Master's degree for Speech-Language Pathologists or Doctorate in Audiology is required to enter this occupation depending on the occupational specialty. 

Training Provided   

No initial job training is provided to officers in this occupational group. 

Helpful Attributes   

Helpful attributes include: 

  • Desire to help others 
  • Interest in scientific work 
  • Patience to work with people whose injuries heal slowly 

Work Environment   

Speech therapists work in therapy labs, clinics, and medical centers. 

Civilian Counterparts   

Civilian speech therapists work in hospitals, clinics, schools, and research centers. They perform duties similar to those performed by military speech therapists. Depending on their specialty, civilian speech therapists may also be called audiologist or speech pathologists. 

Opportunities   

Positions for speech therapists in the Coast Guard are filled by U.S. Public Health Service Officers. After displaying leadership abilities, speech therapists may advance to senior management and command positions in the medical field. 

E-Learning Courses and Programs 

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXPERIENCE AND METHODS OF ENTRY  

The specialized training makes it difficult to explore this field of work. Working at summer camps for handicapped children or participating in co-op or work study portions of postsecondary programs in speech-language pathology may offer related experience. Branches of military service offer experience in audiometric testing. Volunteer work in hospitals or clinics will provide exposure to professionals in this field. 

School-to-Work opportunities include: 

Informal apprenticeships 

Mentorships 

Job shadowing experiences 

Touring a local Speech-Language Pathologist & Audiologist employer 

Internships 

Volunteer work with a Speech-Language Pathologist & Audiologist employer 

Community service work with an agency 

Most Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists apply directly to employers or civil service offices.   Assistance in locating jobs may come from college placement offices, faculty members and departments of speech- language pathology and audiology. Professional associations may be helpful. In addition, you should access and search the Internet's on-line employment services sites such as:   

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Leader Classified 

H Monster 

Onward Health Care 

Medical-AdMart      

Healthcaresource.com 

Healthvault.com 

Michigan Jobs & Career Portal 

Michigan Talent Bank

simplyhired.com 

Indeed | one search. all jobs 

You should also enter an electronic resume on these on-line services.  

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EARNINGS AND ADVANCEMENT  

Earnings of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists vary depending on the individual's ability, experience, education, and the type and geographic location of the employing organization.  Nationally, annual salaries (mid 2007) of Speech & Language Pathologists and Audiologists who were employed by hospitals and related institutions were: 

 

Title 

Average 

Middle Range 

Speech-Language Pathologist 

$59.600 

$55,300 - $63,900 

Audiologist 

$60,000 

$53,200 - $63,700 

The annual median earnings for Speech-Language Pathologist were $49,504 in 2006. The median yearly earnings of "all" workers in the U.S. were $34,892 in 2006. 

Hospitals in Michigan paid the following yearly wage rates (mid 2007) to Speech-Language Pathologists :  

 

     Area 

       Middle Range 

Average 

       Statewide 

  $52,770 - $64,022 

$60,008 

Hospitals in Michigan paid the following yearly wage rates (mid 2007) to Audiologists :  

 

Area 

        Middle Range 

Average 

Statewide 

  $53,477 - $66,997 

$61,922 

Annual salary ranges of Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists working for the State of Michigan (late 2007) were: 

 

     TITLE 

ANNUAL RANGE 

Audiology/Speech Consultant 

$41,363 - $68,090 

Speech-Language Pathologist 

      $37,981 - $55,687 

Hearing consultants employed by the City of Detroit (late 2007) earned salaries ranging from $42,300 to $44,300 a year. Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists receive paid vacations and holidays; life, accident, and hospitalization insurance; sick pay; and retirement plans. 

These benefits are usually paid for, at least in part, by employers. Advancement usually depends on education, personal skill, and leadership ability. Professional certification by the  American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is also important for advancement. A worker employed in a clinic or hospital could become a supervisor or the head of clinical services. 

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 EMPLOYMENT AND OUTLOOK 

Nationally, approximately 95,700 individuals were employed as Speech-Language Pathologists and about 10,100 were employed as Audiologists in 2007.  Employment for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists  is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2014.  About 3.2% of the Speech-Language Pathologists and 1.7% of  Audiologists were self-employed.    

The industry distribution for Speech-Language Pathologists looked like this: 

NAICS CODE 

NAICS INDUSTRY 

% EMPLOYED 

946110 

State and local government educational services 

47.4 

621300 

Offices of other health practitioners 

11.6 

622100 

General medical and surgical hospitals, private 

9.1 

610000 

Educational services, private 

4.2 

623100 

Nursing care facilities 

4.1 

624000 

Social assistance 

3.7 

621600 

Home health care services 

2.5 

-- 

Others 

 17.4 

The industry distribution for Audiologists looked like this: 

NAICS CODE 

NAICS INDUSTRY 

% EMPLOYED 

621100 

Offices of physicians 

22.0 

621300 

Offices of other health practitioners 

16.8 

44-450 

Retail trade 

15.0 

622000 

Hospitals, private 

13.1 

946110 

State and local government, educational services 

12.4 

949400 

State and local government, excluding education and hospitals 

3.5 

541700 

Scientific research and development services 

2.4 

-- 

Others 

14.8 

To find employers, click Employer/Business Locator. 

No jobs will be available for those having a bachelor's degree. The increasing emphasis placed on the Professional Doctorate by employers, such as school systems and governmental agencies will limit opportunities at the Master's level. Some graduates may have to relocate to find employment because many openings may occur outside of the large metropolitan areas.

Approximately 3,450 Speech-Language Pathologists and about 500 Audiologists are employed in Michigan.  Most worked in elementary and secondary schools. Others worked for hospitals, outpatient care facilities, clinics, speech and hearing centers, private industry, and governmental agencies.

Employment of Speech-Language Pathologists  in Michigan is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2014. An average of 110 annual openings is expected, with 20 due to growth and 90 due to replacement of those who retire, die, or leave the labor force for other reasons. Some additional openings will occur as workers change jobs or occupations.

Employment of Audiologists in Michigan is expected to increase more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. An average of 10 annual openings is expected, due to replacement of those who retire, die or leave the labor force for other reasons.
 The trend toward earlier recognition and treatment of hearing and speech impairment, the treatment of hearing and language problems in children and an aging population, and the increased spending for medical research and for noise control in industry may result in some employment opportunities.  

T
he demand for speech therapists should continue to rise as the numbers increase of individuals with disabilities or limited functions. The demand for employment in educational services will increase along with growth in elementary and secondary school enrollments. The importance of early identification and diagnosis of speech and language disorders will also increase employment. The need for speech-language pathologists in private practice will rise due to the use of contract services by hospitals, schools, and nursing care facilities.
 

MICHIGAN'S AREA EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK TO 2014   

For Speech and Language Pathologists only: 

EMPLOYMENT
REGION
 

NUMBER
EMPLOYED
 

PERCENT
GROWTH
 

PROJECTED
YEARLY JOB
OPENINGS
 

MICHIGAN - State-wide 

3,450 

6.3 

110 

Ann Arbor Area 

185 

8.1 

6 

Battle Creek Area 

90 

8.8 

3 

Benton Harbor Area 

115 

4.3 

3 

Central Michigan 

65 

6.1 

2 

Detroit Area 

1,370 

3.1 

38 

East Central Michigan 

20 

0.0 

1 

Flint Area 

110 

3.6 

3 

Grand Rapids Area 

570 

10.2 

20 

Jackson Area 

30 

12.9 

1 

Kalamazoo Area 

75 

6.8 

2 

Lansing MSA 

105 

5.8 

3 

Muskegon Area 

40 

7.7 

1 

Northeast Lower Peninsula 

40 

7.3 

1 

Northwest Lower Peninsula 

125 

13.7 

5 

Saginaw Area 

375 

4.8 

11 

Thumb Area 

40 

7.1 

1 

Upper Peninsula 

120 

4.9 

4 


*NOTE:  Areas may not add up to state-wide total due to rounding, sampling or statistical errors, and/or confidentiality issues. 

 
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SOURCES OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 

Printed Occupational information is available upon written request from sources below. 

 

American Speech Language Hearing Association                                      10801 Rockville Pike               
Rockville, MD 20852 
 
  
(800) 498-2071
 

Michigan Speech-Language Hearing   Association                                          
790 W Lake Lansing Rd. Suite 500-A East Lansing, MI 48823                   
(517) 332-5691
 

Michigan Department of Education Teacher/Administrator Preparation and Certification Services  
PO Box 30008                            Lansing, MI 48909  
(517) 373-3310
 

Academy of Aphasia 
P.O. Box 26532                      
Minneapolis MN 55426                    
(952) 920-0484
 

Federal, State and Local Civil Service Offices 

Michigan Jobs & Career Portal 
  

 

 

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 Copyright © 2008 Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth 

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