Speech therapists work with individuals to diagnose and treat speech and communication issues. People who are experiencing speech problems, such as stuttering and vocal disorders, may work with speech therapists to correct speech impediments. Speech problems can result from a variety of issues, including a brain injury, stroke, birth defect, learning disability and an aneurism.
Speech therapists are trained to use specialized equipment that helps therapists analyze a patient’s current speech problems and customize a plan to meet the patient’s need and improve their ability to communicate. A speech therapist may recommend an alternative way to communicate for individuals who possess very little or no ability to speak. The specific duties of a speech therapist depend on the needs of a patient. General jobs duties may include working with patients to help them improve their voices, make sounds and improve their verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
Individuals interested in speech therapy jobs will find that most opportunities are present in the educational services industry. Therapists also work in healthcare settings, such as hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and home healthcare services. Most jobs require individuals to hold at least a master’s degree. Some individuals choose to pursue degrees in speech pathology, while others may major in a related field, such as communications. Topics commonly addressed in speech pathology programs are anatomy and physiology, biology, language and the development of body parts that pertains to speech.
Most states require individuals desiring speech therapy jobs to obtain licensing by earning at least a master’s degree from an accredited school and passing a national examination. The specific requirements vary per state. Additional requirements may include participating in supervised clinical hours and obtaining professional clinical experience. In most cases, licensed speech therapists must take continual education courses to maintain licensing.
Speech therapy jobs require therapists to possess effective communications skills and pay close attention to details. Treating speech issues can be difficult for everyone involved. A speech therapist must be patient and empathetic toward the issues and frustrations of patients and families.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that speech therapy jobs will grow by 19 percent through 2018. The increasing population of seniors dealing with neurological disorders and speech impairments is a primary reason for job growth. Job opportunities are also expected to grow in elementary and secondary schools and enrollment increases. Federal law mandates speech and language therapy are available to all eligible students suffering with disabilities.
As current therapists retire, more jobs will become available. Individuals who are fluent in more than one language, particularly Spanish, will enjoy plenty of job opportunities. Job…