A career in speech-language pathology requires a person to have a Master's degree specialization in speech therapy. Professionals in this field mainly deal with patients having speech disorders like inability to produce certain sounds, voice disorders, and fluency disorders.
People who face problems like stuttering, swallowing difficulties, irregular voice pitch, and strong accent problems also seek their help.
Most of the employment opportunities are in schools and preschools, as a language disorder is much easier to correct in childhood. Many work in hospitals, health care clinics, corporates, and out-patient care centers. This career has good prospects due to an increase in the demand for speech therapists.
In future, therapists with fluency in two languages would be highly sought after. Professionals in this field have to pay keen attention to details and need intense concentration towards their work. Full-time jobs require a person to work for a minimum of 40 hours per week.
They are not physically demanding, but they are stressful. This is because of the fact that therapists have to deal with the emotional baggage of patients and their families.
Pediatric Speech Pathologist
They treat children with speech problems through therapy and diagnostic services. Such children suffer from speech problems arising out of birth disorders such as cleft palates and cerebral palsy, or due to developmental delays like mental retardation and autism.
Geriatric Speech Pathologists
They provide medical care to those suffering from dementia, strokes, and speech illnesses arising out of old age.
Teachers/Trainers of English as a Second Language
Speech therapists work as teachers helping in learning English as a second language. They help students and professionals who need to neutralize their accents by increasing their vocabulary and conversational skills.
They work without patients, as they mostly conduct research related to the origin and development of languages and communication mediums.
These people are mostly involved with commercial aspect of languages. They are employed by companies that deal with manufacturing and retailing of medical equipment used for treating speech-impaired diseases. Many of them work for companies involved in making computerized speech devices, flash cards, and other implements that help speech-impaired people.
- To help patients who are unable to pronounce certain sounds clearly
- To help patients with speech and swallowing problems developed as a result of brain injury, stroke, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, cleft palate, and hearing loss
- To use special tools and methods to analyze and diagnose the patients with hearing impairment and provide different types of hearing aids accordingly
- To diagnose and help those suffering from speech and language disorders
- To plan strategies for individual patients according to their separate needs
- To teach patients sign languages for better communication
- To enable and teach patients to use automated speech devices
- To maintain documentation and progress reports for each patient
- To educate patients' families on better communication-enhancing techniques
- To co-ordinate with psychologists, social workers, and physicians to develop new treatments
The job of a speech pathologist is a very fulfilling one for those who love to help people. These are the people who open a new window of beautiful words and sounds for patients.