Speech-Language Pathologists

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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  • Social: 96
  • Purpose: 93
  • Creative: 84
  • Supported: 69
  • Analytical: 63

What Speech-Language Pathologists Do

Speech-language pathologists (sometimes called speech therapists) assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent communication and swallowing disorders in patients. Speech, language, and swallowing disorders result from a variety of causes, such as a stroke, brain injury, hearing loss, developmental delay, Parkinson’s disease, a cleft palate or autism.

Work Environment

Speech-language pathologists held about 135,400 jobs in 2014. About 2 out of 5 speech-language pathologists worked in schools in 2014. Most others worked in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals.

How to Become a Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists typically need at least a master’s degree. They must be licensed in most states; requirements vary by state.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Speech-language pathologists

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of speech-language pathologists is projected to grow 21 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the large baby-boom population grows older, there will be more instances of health conditions that cause speech or language impairments, such as strokes and hearing loss.

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    Job Trends for Speech-Language Pathologists

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    This occupation supported 134,100 jobs in 2012 and 135,400 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 1.0%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 19.4% in 2022 to 160,100 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 139,200, compared with an observed value of 135,400, 2.7% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 21.6% in 2024 to 164,300 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 165,200 jobs for 2024, 0.5% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation.

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