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Speech-Language Pathologist


Speech-Language Pathologists examine, diagnose, and treat patients who have or are suspected of having speech, language, voice, or fluency disorders. These problems occur because of problems including brain injury or deterioration, stroke, hearing loss, mental retardation, voice pathology, cleft palate, or emotional problems. Speech-language pathologists identify these disorders by examining and evaluating each patient with written and oral tests as well as other special instruments. Once certain factors are identified, they implement a therapy plan that is individually tailored for the patient. They help direct and evaluate the progress of the therapy and make corrections if improvement is not being made. For individuals with little or no speech capability, they may select alternative communication methods, such as automated devices and sign language. Speech-language pathologists keep extensive records on each patient’s progress, which allows them to consult with other professional that might be able to help with treatments. They also counsel individuals and their families concerning communication disorders and how to best cope with the stress and complications that may accompany them. These professionals often conduct research on new equipment and techniques that can be beneficial to patients with communication disorders. Individuals interested in this field should have strong communication skills and be able to accept a great deal of responsibility.

Work Environment:


Speech-language pathologists work in a variety of settings including hospitals, colleges and universities, rehabilitation centers, clinics, physicians’ offices, industry, governmental agencies, speech and hearing centers, nursing homes, and research laboratories.

High School Preparation:


Students interested in a career as a speech-language pathologist should take high school courses in biology, physics, chemistry, geometry, algebra, English, health occupations/medical professions education, sociology, psychology, computer skills, social studies, and speech.

College Requirements:


Speech-language pathologists are required to have a minimum of a master’s level education. Individuals must obtain a bachelor’s degree in an acceptable major with a broad liberal arts curriculum. They must them gain admission into a speech-language program, which is usually very competitive. Speech-language pathologist must complete an internship and pass a national certification examination given by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Successful completion of these requirements results in the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP).


Students interested in speech-language pathology should contact schools for information on admission and course of study.

For educational institutions in Mississippi
offering this course of study click here.

Career Outlook:


Employment opportunities for speech-language pathologists are expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations though the year 2012. There is expected growth in the job market of over 21% - 35% over this period of time. The growing elderly population, the segment of the population that has the majority hearing disorders associated with severe medical problems, will cause a sharp rise in employment. Medical advances that help trauma and stoke victims survive longer will also increase the demand for speech and hearing professionals. New federal laws affecting schools and children with disabilities will also have a positive affect on employment in this health-related field.




Average Annual Salary



Salary Range

$42,100 - $58,300


Professional Organizations:


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

10801 Rockville Pike

Rockville, MD 20852

Phone: (888) 321-ASHA


Mississippi Speech-Language-Hearing Association

PO Box 22664

Jackson, MS


Phone: (800) 664-6742

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