SLP: Making Communicating Accessible

Speech is one of the key things to society today that really bonds us together and keeps us intact. But what could you do with speech and language in the real world? One of the careers that I just found out about is the occupation of a Speech-Language Pathologist. I was amazed to see just how much of an impact a Speech-Language Pathologist could have on the patients’ quality of life. This is a great way to become involved with healthcare without the need of going to medical school or participating in any pre-professional route/track.  

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) are skilled and certified to identify (or) treat speech disorders and to improve the communication skills and interactions for patients of various ages. With an SLP’s help, speech therapy can improve a patient’s life through social interactions, improve performance in job interviews, and help with educational growth. 

SLPs play a huge role in reducing emotional stress from people of all ages by assessing and treating different language, voice, and fluency disorders. Some common disorders include stuttering, Apraxia, and Dysarthria.  

Working with an SLP as a patient means fostering and facilitating means of communication. Through their years of training and clinical experience, SLPs make sure that not only are patients comfortable, but they also help foster an environment in which patients are able to freely talk about what is going on and maintain the motivation to improve their speech. 

If this field of work is of interest to you, here’s how to get more involved: 

  • Start by exploring the various different opportunities and information the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Science has to offer 
  • Think about your current degree and whether the course you are taking right now is suitable for the profession 
  • The career path is as follows: 
    • Bachelor’s degree related to the field (e.g., SLHS, Allied Health, etc.)  
      • Related coursework can be seen here  
    • Masters of Science in Speech-Language Pathology 
      • Includes 400 clinical hours 
    • Complete a Clinical Fellowship 
      • 1,260 hours of mentored clinical experience 
    • Pass the Praxis Exam 
      • 162 or higher out of 200 
      • More information regarding the exam can be found here  
    • Become certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) & the State 

This whole process itself may seem daunting, but it only takes 4 years post-graduation to complete. With an increasing demand for SLPs, you could decide to take a gap-year before going back into school and do things that could possibly benefit you in the career of healthcare. 

If this profession is of interest to you and feel as if you would be a good fit, you can reach out to the ASHA for any individualized questions through email here, or call 301-296-5700. 

By Aditya Taroll
Aditya Taroll