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What is an SLP?

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) specialize in the prevention, identification and treatment of, consultation about, and counseling for individuals with speech, language, and swallowing problems and their families. Perhaps you know a young child who does not speak clearly, or have an aunt who speaks too loudly, or a friend who appears to have chronic laryngitis, or a grandfather who has problems attending or remembering, or trouble swallowing or eating, or who cannot use speech at all. Such difficulties may be related to physical limitations, such as cleft palate, or brain injuries such as stroke; or they may be associated with emotional problems or have no known cause. These problems may be present from birth or result from acquired or developmental challenges. Regardless of their origins, the presence of speech, language, hearing and/or swallowing disabilities can have a significant and potentially negative influence on a person’s academic performance, social interaction, vocational goals, and quality of life.

Approximately one out of eight to ten individuals, or 46 million Americans, has a communication disorder. Given the increasing number of elderly in the United States, the heightening of awareness of and concern about occupationally induced hearing loss, and the improving survival rates of high risk infants and trauma survivors, the need for speech-language pathologists is expected to continue to grow. In fact, Speech-Language Pathology has been considered by many sources as a career to count on. It also reported that SLPs have high job satisfaction. And CNNMoney has rated speech-language pathology as the all-around best job in America for working parents, the number 14 best job for saving the world!

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an excellent future for the profession of Speech-Language Pathology. From the year 2000 to 2010, the BLS projected a 39% growth in employment for speech-language pathologists. The BLS furthermore expects the employment of SLPs to “grow much faster than the average.”  

Where do Speech-Language Pathologists work?

Approximately 50% of all speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work in public and private schools. The other half work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing care facilities, transitional living centers, outpatient clinics, university clinics, home health agencies, and private practice. The settings in which SLPs work are varied and constantly increasing.


Where can I find more information? 

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) provides a wealth of information about the professions for the public, prospective and current students, and certified professionals.