My daughters have both received speech services from Gayle Goepfert. One for a period of 4 years and the other for 2 years. Gayle did an amazing job working with my daughters. Both girls made excellent progress with Gayle in both communication skills and in the ability to focus for a 45 minute work session. She is terrific at making a session fun and paced appropriately to keep their attention. She was also very willing to work with my daughters other therapists to ensure consistency across home and school environments. I would highly recommend Gayle.
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Careers in Speech-Language Pathologist ranked as #19 in Best Health Care Jobs.
A US News article reports on the career of Speech-Language Pathologist as #19 in Best Health Care Jobs.
When most people sit down for dinner with friends, they're probably thinking about what they should order from the menu. Whether to pick the burger with french fries or opt for a healthy salad instead might be the cause of some angst. But they're probably not worried about whether the waiter or waitress will understand their words or whether they'll be able to chew and swallow their meal. Yet millions of Americans do struggle with just these things – speaking and swallowing – and this is where speech-language pathologists come in. According to Elizabeth McCrea, the 2014 president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, “speech-language pathologists assess, diagnose and treat a variety of speech, sound, language, voice, fluency and swallowing disorders."
Speech-language pathologists work with people who are dyslexic, hard of hearing, have incurred brain injuries and more. And their patients span generations. In the last decade, they started working with patients as young as newborns, who are born with cleft palates or have nursing difficulties. They also work with geriatric patients who have suffered strokes or struggle with aphasia (a difficulty communicating through speech or writing).
In addition to creating and carrying out treatment plans for patients, they also work with a patient's family or support system to help them care for a loved one with speech or language difficulties. Speech-language pathologists work in a number of settings, including private offices, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and public schools.
Job prospects look bright for speech-language pathologists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that 28,900 jobs will open up before 2024. Since instances of speech and language impairments increase with age, the BLS predicts that the aging baby boomer generation will spur this job growth. The BLS also cites the increased awareness of speech and language disorders in children as another reason for this job boom.
$71,550 MEDIAN SALARY
0.9% UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
28,900 NUMBER OF JOBS
Speech-Language Pathologists rank #19 in Best Health Care Jobs. Jobs are ranked according to their ability to offer an elusive mix of factors. Read more about how we rank the best jobs.
Speech-Language Pathologists are ranked:
#19 in Best Health Care Jobs
#28 in The 100 Best Jobs
Job Market 10
Future Growth 8
Work Life Balance 6
Read about how we rank the best jobs.
Speech-language pathologists have seen a spike in pay the past few years. The average salary for therapists jumped from $66,920 in 2010 to $71,550 in 2014, according to the BLS. The best-paid speech-language pathologists earned more than $111,000 in 2014, while the lowest-paid earned less than $44,940. In general, jobs within the health care industry pay better than schools do. Some of the top-paying metropolitan areas include Redding, California; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Sacramento, California.
75th Percentile: $90,360
25th Percentile: $56,090
To practice as a speech-language pathologist, a master’s degree from one of the 300-some programs accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation is required. Curriculums might include courses in American Sign Language, deaf culture, swallowing disorders, aural rehabilitation and more. You'll also need a minimum of 400 hours of supervised clinical experience, according to Brenda Seal, director of Gallaudet University's speech-language department. Graduate students will also have to pass the Praxis exam. And after receiving their master's degree, they will have to complete a year of supervised practice – known as the clinical fellowship year–before they receive their speech-language pathologist certification. Most states require new hires to be licensed.
Seal recommends prospective students investigate a program's student-to-faculty ratio, as well as the credentials of the teachers. She also suggests researching a potential program's graduation rates and Praxis exam rates, especially if students take out student loans to cover educational costs. "If the program has a 90 percent graduation rate but a 50 percent Praxis passing rate, you can expect some of those students who borrowed money won’t be paying them off with salary as a speech-language pathologist," she says.
Average Americans work well into their 60s, so workers might as well have a job that’s enjoyable and a career that's fulfilling. A job with a low stress level, good work-life balance and solid prospects to improve, get promoted and earn a higher salary would make many employees happy. Here's how this job's satisfaction is rated in terms of upward mobility, stress level and flexibility.
Upward Mobility: Average
Opportunities for advancements and salary
Stress Level: Above Average
Work environment and complexities of the job's responsibilities
Alternative working schedule and work life balance
If you or someone in your family is suspected of having a speech and/or language impairment, it is best to schedule an evaluation to determine if there is a deviation from typical development and if intervention would be beneficial.
A communication impairment may include any of the following:
Articulation-difficult speech clarity, slurring, imprecise speech, speech sound errors.
Language Expression-difficulty organizing and composing sentences using appropriate grammar forms, word order, using appropriate vocabulary, and conveying messages for a variety of uses (e.g. to request, comment, label, answer questions, retell events, etc.).
Language Comprehension-difficulty understanding the language of others including following directions and answering questions appropriately.
Pragmatic Language- difficulty using social language in appropriate ways by perceiving social cues, using language to greet and engage in conversation appropriately with others, take turns, selecting a topic, changing topic and maintaining a conversation.
Speech Fluency (Stuttering)-difficulty using smooth patterns of speech. May be characterized by repetitions (of sounds, syllables, words or phrases), prolongations (maintaining a sound for an extended period) or silent blocks (stoppage of speech at inappropriate places). Some bodily movements may also accompany the moment of stuttering.
Voice-difficulty with the quality of the voice (hoarseness, too loud, too quiet, too high or low of a pitch, inadequate inflection, etc.) Voice therapy may also be helpful to make a voice sound more feminine or more masculine.