Speech Therapist: Career Research Report

[Thanks to Neil for sharing the following career research report on becoming a speech therapist and related work information.]

speech-therapy

Career Research Report on Speech Therapists

The career that I decided to choose for my career research report was a Speech Therapist. The reason I chose a Speech Therapist was because I am very interested in working with people in a healthcare atmosphere and job shadowed someone who works as a Speech Therapist. I really enjoyed the experience and can see myself working in that environment in the future.

I want to work in a career in which I make a difference and one that interacts with people, and this career exemplifies both of these traits. As a result, my interest level in this area is extremely high. I have some knowledge of this career in terms of the job description, hours, and pay scale, but do not have full in-depth knowledge of the career such as professional associations.

In terms of the actual career, a speech therapist can be described as an individual who works with people who have speech related disorders. These can include issues with speed, rhythm, and fluency. In addition to these disorders, they help people who are sick and have trouble swallowing or want to change the way their accent sounds. A speech therapist’s main goal is to prevent speech disorders by planning, diagnosing, and treating a problem before it can get to the point of where it can cause damage.

Characteristics and Skills

A speech therapist works primarily in an office type of environment within schools, health centers, and hospitals. Most of their time is spent working with people who have communicative disorders, so there are a lot of skills and personal characteristics that a speech therapist needs to have. These include good communication skills, being friendly, having patience with the public, and being creative in coming up with new methods and ideas for which people might overcome speech disorders. In addition to these, a candidate needs to have a Masters degree in speech therapy.

Related Careers and Education Requirements

In terms of related careers, an occupational therapist shares some of the same characteristics that a speech therapist does. An occupational therapist works with individuals with a variety of disorders in addition to speech disorders. They want to ensure that the patient has a satisfied and fulfilled lifestyle by promoting health and injury prevention. The occupational therapy program in school is the same time length as the speech therapy program. Other related careers to speech therapy include a special education needs teacher, physiotherapist, health promotion specialist, educational psychologist, and clinical psychologist.

In order to enter the speech therapy field, the necessary preparation that is required is the completion of a Bachelors degree followed by a Masters degree in speech therapy. Additionally, an individual must pass a board exam to be certified to practice speech therapy in the United States.

Job Outlook and Earnings Information

Speech therapy is a field that is currently in high demand. The number of individuals who are faced with speech disorders is increasing so the demand for speech therapists in the United States is getting to an all time high. There is always a demand for speech therapists, particularly in the schools and the healthcare field, and a decline in this field seems unlikely. As the website About.com states, “Employment of speech therapists is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2016” (About.com). So it can be said with fair confidence that this is a career which seems to be pretty promising in the near future.

The amount a speech therapist earns depends on a variety of factors. Some of these factors include experience, the state in which one is working, the company one is working for, and the type of establishment one is working for. However, on average a speech therapist makes a median salary of $62,461. This figure does not include bonuses and benefits. When factoring in the bonuses and benefits, the amount a speech therapist makes increases on average to approximately $85,000. This is due to social security ($4,780), 401K ($2,249), disability ($625), healthcare ($5,722), pension ($2,874), and time off ($8,171). There is also a large opportunity for advancement. Salaries can range from $55,000 to $95,000 based on experience, and the opportunity to move into a senior position is available once a candidate has experience.

Professional Association

Speech therapists belong to the professional association that is called ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association). There are 130,000 members who belong to this association and include audiologists, speech pathologists, and language scientists. The goal of this association is to make communication available and accessible to everyone. This is to be done through promoting human communication, advancing human communication, and speaking on behalf of those with communicative disorders. ASHA is a very well respected professional association and speech therapists seem to be very proud to be represented by it.

What I’ve Learned

Overall, to become a speech therapist is something that really excites me. Before writing this report I was aware of what a speech therapist did, their rough salary estimates, and the places/hours they worked. However, after writing this report I learned about the types of skills that are needed for speech therapists to be successful as well as the professional association that they belong to. It made me appreciate more the amount of respect speech therapists receive and the prestige that is associated with their professional association. This report has solidified my position that this career is the one for me as I have an immense level of appreciation for the field.

References

Benefits:
http://about.salary.com/

Work Description/locations/working conditions/educational requirements:
http://careerplanning.about.com/od/occupations/p/speech_path.htm

Salary:
http://about.salary.com/

Professional Associations:
www.asha.org

Additional information:
http://www.prospects.ac.uk/p/types_of_job/speech_and_language_therapist_related_jobs.jsp

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