Where Do Speech Pathologists Work?

"I am interested in becoming a speech pathologist, because I really enjoy studying speech patterns and defects. My work environment is really important to me though. There are some environments where I am sure I would be happier than others, and the quality of the location will make a big impact on how I feel about job satisfaction. What types of work environments would I have to choose from if I pursued this field and got my degree? Would I have to work in a hospital? Because I don’t like hospitals. They make me nervous, and I don’t think that would work out."

asked by Winston from Dallas, TX

You’re in luck, Winston, because while many speech pathologists do indeed work in hospitals and clinics, there are many other environments where you could also work in this field. Here are a few other possibilities:

Public and private elementary and secondary schools

The government pays the cost of speech pathology for children in public school settings, and private schools may also hire speech pathologists to assist children. If you work in a school setting, you can help children with autism and other issues to overcome their deficiencies and excel.

Colleges and universities

Speech pathologists may also work in universities providing their services or educating future speech pathologists. You might work in a clinic or in the classroom.

Rehabilitation and nursing care facilities

In these centers you may work with patients who are recovering from injury or illness or who are receiving short- or long-term care. These are live-in facilities and offer a different environment than the standard medical environment, even though you will generally be working with patients who have medical issues.

Private practice clinics

One option you have in speech pathologist is to go into business for yourself or to work for another speech pathologist with private offices. This would also get you out of the hospital environment.

Home care

Many speech pathologists see patients in their homes. This is particularly common with very old or very young patients. Different states have BabyNet programs for very young infants to provide intervention to prevent speech issues from forming. These programs typically involve seeing patients in their homes.

Research labs

As with any other medical discipline, another possibility is to work in research and assist with lab work.

Centers for developmental disabilities

Another possibility would be to work in a center which provides care for patients with developmental issues such as autism.

State or government agencies or health departments

The government also employs speech pathologists directly, so that is yet another option.

So as you can see, there are numerous different work environments for you to choose from if you become a speech pathologist. This is just one of the many draws of the occupation for those who choose it. With a great salary and a chance to help others, you can’t ask for much more.

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