Speech-language pathologists (sometimes called speech therapists) assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent communication and swallowing disorders in patients. Speech, language, and swallowing disorders result from a variety of causes, such as a stroke, brain injury, hearing loss, developmental delay, Parkinson’s disease, a cleft palate or autism.
Speech-language pathologists held about 135,400 jobs in 2014. About 2 out of 5 speech-language pathologists worked in schools in 2014. Most others worked in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals.
Speech-language pathologists typically need at least a master’s degree. They must be licensed in most states; requirements vary by state.
The median annual wage for speech-language pathologists was $74,680 in May 2016.
Employment of speech-language pathologists is projected to grow 21 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the large baby-boom population grows older, there will be more instances of health conditions that cause speech or language impairments, such as strokes and hearing loss.
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