Speech Pathologist

NOC code: 3141

What are Speech pathologists?

Speech pathologists are healthcare professionals who treat and diagnose speech problems like stuttering or swallowing disorders or other health problems that can affect speech including recovering stroke patients. They plan and implement programs for patients to be better speakers. Patients range from children to adults to seniors so there are many different people that a speech pathologist can work with or specialize in. Speech pathologists can work in a variety of locations. Some work environments and employers are hospitals, schools, clinics, rehabilitation center and another option self- employment.

essential skills and technical skills

  • strong communication skills- be able to communicate to family members of patients
  • interpersonal skills
  • program development - to build a program specifically for a patient
  • critical thinking- to be able to change things and figure things wrong quickly
  • teamwork- because sometimes speech pathologists work in a group
  • patience- it may take a long time to fix or better speech for patients so you would have to be patient with them
  • compassion- be able to understand what some families are going through and the frustrations that people feel when faced with speech problems

Salary and future outlook

The salary range depends on experience and where you work for a speech pathologist. For new practitioners the salary average is about $50 000. The average for speech pathologist in Canada is about $65 000 but the more experience you have your salary can be much more than that.

The future outlook for speech pathologist is good. The employment change is expected to go up 23% from 2010 to 2020 providing many job openings. In the future, many more seniors are going to need speech therapy as more and more people are getting older from the baby boomers. Many seniors have speech problems or swallowing disorders as they get older which means they would need a speech pathologist. More and more children have developmental delays which causes late speech as well as generate stuttering or other speech problems.

employment and educational requirements

To be a speech pathologist, you would need a university education. A undergraduate degree (4 years) in linguistics or a related field as well as a masters degree (2 years) in a speech pathology program. Some universities that would have these programs are Brock, McMaster, Western and York amongst others. Some course admission requirements are English and depending on the university, data management, biology and chemistry. In total it would take 5-6 years for you to meet the education requirements. Along with the education requirements, you will need a certification through the Canadian association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA) as well as 300 hours of practicum from internships or placements. Universities also look a lot at the amount of volunteer work that you have done.

Typical characteristics and similiar ocupations

Someone who is caring, compassionate, goal oriented, patient and has attention to detail. This would typically be someone who has a blue and gold personality. Blue for being nurturing and caring and creative to think of new ways to do things. And gold for being goal oriented so that there needs to be determination to help your patient. The multiple intelligence needed for health occupations is interpersonal intelligence so that you can communicate effectively with patients and family members ad linguistic intelligence as you may be required to write reports. Some similar health occupations are doctors, dentists, occupational therapists, psychologists and many more.
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