Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists

Outlook

Employment Prospects

Employers

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 154,360 speech-language pathologists and 13,590 audiologists are employed in the United States. About 40 percent of speech-language pathologists are employed in elementary and secondary schools, while 29 percent of audiologists work in offices of physicians and other health care practitioners. Other professionals in this field work in state and local governments, hearing aid stores (audiologists), and scientific research facilities. A small but growing number of speech-language pathologists and audiologists are in private practice, generally working with patients referred to them by physicians and other health practitioners.

Some speech-language pathologists and audiologists contract to provide services in schools, hospitals, or nursing homes, or work as consultants to industry.

Starting Out

If you want to work in the public school systems, your college's career services office can help you with interviewing skills. Professors sometimes know of job openings and may even post these openings on a centrally located bulletin board. It may be possible to find employment by contacting a hospital or rehabilitation center. To work in colleges and universities as a specialist in the classroom, clinic, or research center, it is almost mandatory to be working on a graduate degree. Many scholarships, fellowships, and grants for assistants are available in colleges and universities giving courses in speech-language pathology and audiology. Most of these and other assistance programs are offered at the graduate level. The U.S. Rehabilitation Services Administration, the Children's Bureau, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Institutes of Health allocate funds for teaching and training grants to colleges and universities with graduate study programs. In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs provides stipends (a fixed allowance) for predoctoral work.

Advancement Prospects

Advancement in speech-language pathology and audiology is based chiefly on education. Individuals who have completed graduate study will have the best opportunities to enter research and administrative areas, supervising other speech-language pathologists or audiologists either in developmental work or in public school systems.

Tips for Entry

Visit https://www.asha.org/careers for job listings. This Web site also offers career advice, salary data, and information about working abroad.

Join the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the American Auditory Society, and other professional associations to access training and networking opportunities, industry publications, and employment opportunities. If you're a college student, be sure to join the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association.

Attend the Career Fair at the annual convention of the ASHA to network and interview for jobs.

Volunteer with a local organization to help people with hearing disabilities.