Why Become A Speech Pathologist?
"I have always been interested in speech, but I have never really excelled at foreign languages. Otherwise I would consider a career in foreign language obviously. But I really want to do something with speech, and then I heard about speech pathology. It looks like a really broad field, but one with a lot of opportunity. What are some reasons to consider going into this field? Will I make good money? Would the work be rewarding? What kind of a person excels in speech pathology?"
asked by Matt from Little Rock, AR
Speech pathology is a great field for someone who is interested in language. There are many different types of speech pathology. Some speech pathologists work with very young patients (even babies) to correct speech defects or intervene before speech defects form. Others work with very old patients who are suffering from dementia or other illnesses causing speech problems. You also might work with patients who are autistic, have nerve damage, or are suffering from some other developmental problem or injury.
You also might work with patients who have no physiological abnormalities causing their speech problems, and are suffering from psychological causes. Oftentimes speech issues are caused by a combination of physical and psychological factors. Sometimes speech pathologists work with people who have no real speech problems, like actors from foreign countries who need to master an American accent.
Since there are so many different types of speech pathology, there are also many different work environments. Sometimes speech pathologists work in schools; other times they work in the homes of their patients. Still others work in hospitals or clinics. Your work environment will be determined by the nature of the patients you work with.
What type of person excels in this field? Someone who is interested in speech will do well, but what is equally if not more important is having an interest in people and a desire for your patients to excel. There is a significant counseling aspect to speech pathology, and that is true pretty much regardless of what type of speech pathology you perform.
You may be working through psychological barriers to help a patient overcome a speech defect. Or you might be in a situation where you need to deal with the psychological issues affecting a terminally ill patient and his or her family. Either way, a caring attitude and patience goes a long way toward success in this field.
Speech pathology is an in-demand field right now, and you will indeed find many openings around the country in urban and rural areas. This is also a highly paid occupation where you have a chance to earn a high wage while making a difference in patients’ lives.
If meaningful work and a good salary are important to you, speech pathology is a win-win choice. Since you are interested in speech, that may make speech pathology the perfect career for you.