Speech pathologists, otherwise called speech language pathologists (SLP), are healthcare professionals who work with people who have speech, language, voice, swallowing and communication related disorders. They are dedicated professionals who are committed to fulfilling the lives of others. This is a profession which requires certain necessary qualities such as innate kindness, consideration, patience and understanding on the part of the practitioner.
Speech pathologists are usually required in educational institutions for providing treatment to students with voice disorders. The earnings of a speech pathologist depend on their experience, educational background, specialization and nature of work. However, the tremendous job satisfaction one experiences by fulfilling the lives of others is itself considerable reward.
A person is eligible to apply for the job of a speech pathologist only if he or she has a master’s degree in speech pathology. Speech pathologists can acquire Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Speech pathologists work in various healthcare facilities including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, rehab clinics, public and private schools, community clinics, colleges, universities, home health agencies, long term care facilities, state and local health departments, assistant living facilities, research laboratories, and state and federal government agencies.
The duties of a speech pathologist include:
o Treating disorders in individuals of all ages, from infants to the elderly.
o Performing swallowing and feeding evaluation.
o Identifying normal and abnormal swallowing anatomy and physiology.
o Developing treatment plans.
o Providing treatments and documenting the progress.
o Providing teaching and counseling to individuals and their families.
o Educating other professionals on the needs of individuals with swallowing and feeding disorders.
o Providing differential diagnostic information for conditions other than communication disorders.
o Serving as an advocate for persons with impaired communication.
Usually older persons are unable to travel to the speech pathologist, so speech pathologists must be prepared to go to a variety of community sites to perform the required screenings.