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Speech-Language Pathology

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults (American Speech-language-Hearing Association). SLPs also provide services to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals with severe and multiple disabilities by using all forms of augmentative and alternative communication. SLPs work with clients with various communication disorders across different severities and their caregivers/family members from diverse backgrounds. SLPs also work collaboratively with professionals from other disciplines in different settings.

Degree Programs

Requirements

A state license and credential are required to work as a speech-language pathologist. Earning a master’s degree in Speech-Langauge Pathology (SLP) or Communication Disorders and Sciences (CDS) is required to obtain the state license and credentials. The speech-language pathology M.A. program offered by CSULB is accredited by the American Speech-Hearing-Language Association.

Students in the speech-language pathology M.A. program will complete all of the academic and clinical practice requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence issued by American Speech-Hearing Association (ASHA), the Clinical Rehabilitative Services Credential issued by the CCTC, and a license in the state of California.

Jobs

Graduates who successfully complete the master’s program in SLP or CDS are eligible to work as speech-language pathologists once obtaining the state license and necessary credentials.

Undergraduates who successfully complete the undergraduate program in SLP or CDS may: 

  • Pursue a master’s degree in SLP or CDS
  • Obtain a speech-language pathology assistant (SLPA) license after completing SLPA licensure requirements
  • Pursue a professional doctorate in Audiology (Au.D.)
  • Pursue a credential in Gerontology or Education to work in related fields. 

Work Settings 

  • Education: Early Intervention, preschool, K-12 schools, and colleges and universities
  • Health Care: Hospitals, residential health care facilities, nonresidential health care facilities
  • Local, state, and federal government agencies
  • Private practice

Career Outlook & Pay

Outlook

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for Speech-Language Pathologists are expected to grow much faster than average: 18% in the next 10 years (national)  
  • CSULB SLP graduate students have a 100% employment rate.

Average median wage

  • CA: $72,200
  • US: $49,470

Interests, Skills & Values  

Service orientation

Speech-language pathologists work collaboratively with other disciplines to prevent, evaluate, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults.

Professional duty

Speech-language pathologists demonstrate professional standards of accountability, integrity, privacy, and the client’s best interests.

Cultural competency

Speech-language pathologists should be able to effectively counsel clients and caregivers/family members with different backgrounds and needs.

Clinical skills

Speech-language pathologists use evidence-based information to effectively administer and interpret appropriate measures to identify communication disorders in individuals with different backgrounds and needs.

Oral communication and listening skills

Speech-language pathologists should implement accurate and appropriate listening and oral communication skills with individuals with different backgrounds and needs, including clients and families, clinical supervisors, interpreters, and applicable interdisciplinary team members.

Critical thinking skills

Speech-language pathologists must be able to adjust their treatment plans as needed and find alternative ways to help their patients.

Compassion

Speech-language pathologists work with people who are often frustrated by their communication challenges. Speech-language pathologists must be able to provide emotional support to patients and their families.

Writing skills

Speech-language pathologists write professional clinical reports, research papers, and documentation using organized structure and accurate content.

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