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Katie Yeh
BY Katie Yeh
208,502 views

10 Awesome Reasons Why Being a Speech Pathologist Rocks!

Back when I was in college and stumbled across the field of speech pathology, all I really knew was that I wanted to help kids communicate better. I had no idea that day when I changed from Liberal Studies to Speech Pathology and Audiology just how AWESOME the field really is. After almost 9 years in, here are 10 things I have found that ROCK about this profession.

10. Variety of Work Settings

Many people are unaware that speech and language pathologists are trained in communication and swallowing (yes, swallowing!) for the entire lifespan: from birth until death! This allows us, upon graduating from graduate school, to have a variety of options open to us for employment including:

  • Early Intervention Programs
  • Public School Systems
  • Private School Systems
  • Private Clinics/Private Practice
  • Hospital Inpatient
  • Hospital Outpatient
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • Home Health Agencies
  • Corporations/Businesses (for services such as accent reduction)
  • Other for profit or non profit agencies that provide speech & language services

WHY is this just so awesome? Think about it: how often do you hear of people getting burned out on their careers? Going back to school for a new degree? SLP’s have the advantage of being able to stay in their field, yet working in a completely different setting with a completely different type of client. Burned out with the schools? Try early intervention! Feeling like you need a break from children? Try rehab! Want a little of both? You can! Many SLPs actively work in more than one setting at one time! 

9. Working with Diverse Clients With Diverse Needs

In addition to having a variety of work settings to work in, being an SLP allows us to work with diverse clients across the different settings. No two clients, despite having the same “diagnosis” are ever the same. This part of the job is challenging, yes but most SLPs I know find this to be one of the best parts of the job. Spending all day teaching kids to say r’s and s’s could get really boring, really fast. Instead, we can be working with a child with Childhood Apraxia of Speech one hour, have a social skills group the next hour, followed by working with an adult stroke-survivor the next!

8. The Learning Never Ends

This can be seen as both a positive and a negative to the job, but I see it as a positive. The field of speech pathology is wide and ever changing. New research is constantly coming out on best interventions and let’s face it: You simply CANNOT learn all you need to know to treat all communication disorders across the lifespan in undergrad and graduate school. SLPs have to continually read up on current best practices, attend conferences, and learn new treatment methods.

7. The Ability to be Self Employed

Another amazing perk to this profession is the ability to be self employed. It is common for speech pathologists to work with private clients “on the side” to their full time jobs, or even work full time for themselves. This is where #10 comes in to play as well: An SLP may work full time in the schools, but sees adults privately after school hours or on weekends. The versatility of the profession is huge plus.

6. Ability to Use our Creativity

One trait that is crucial for SLPs to have is the ability to be creative. It is part of the job. Because each client is NEVER like the one before, we are always using our creative juices to keep therapy interesting, motivating, and beneficial. For example, because SLPs do not have a curriculum to follow, SLPs in the schools often use their creativity to pull together lessons that both are individualized for the students as well as follow along with the general education curriculum. We also often tailor therapy to our client’s/student’s interests to help motivate and thus build success. This takes time, patience, and a lot of creativity!

5. Ability to Specialize (or Not)

Though SLPs leave graduate school with the training to work in any setting with any type of client, we have the ability to specialize in the areas of our field that we love the most. This may mean working exclusively with children or adults. For some, this may mean specializing even further by disorder type like swallowing, stroke, early language intervention, stuttering, or motor speech disorders. Other SLPs choose to stay up-to-date and work in all areas of the field.

4. That Feeling When a Client/Student Makes a Goal

There is no better feeling than when a child says his first word, signs for the first time, or finally can say “rabbit” instead of “rabbit wabbit!” Each goal. no matter how small, is celebrated!

3. Client/Student Progress

Not only is it an amazing feeling to watch a client/student meet a goal, but we get to continue to watch him make progress over time. This is especially true for those SLPs who work with children or adults for a length of time (like in early intervention, the public school system, or rehab). Let me tell you how awesome it to watch a child go from having no words to speaking in short sentences! It can bring tears to your eyes.

2. Educating and Empowering Parents/Caregivers

This is one of my most favorite parts of this job. I love, love, love educating and empowering the parents of the children I work with. Watching a parent have an “ah-ha” moment as we are working together is amazing. Knowing that the “ah ha” moment will lead to more progress in their child? Priceless. 

1. Knowing your are impacting a child’s life….forever.

This is hands down, the best part of the job. Whether it is teaching a child how to say an /r/, use a communication device, follow directions, understand non verbal social cues, speak without stuttering or sign “cookie,” knowing that my interventions are helping a child communicate and that those skills will help them their whole life…is the very reason I do what I do.

Katie Yeh

Written on January 30, 2014 by:

Katie is a a mom to two little ones, E (4) and Ev (2), and one on the way. A Hanen Certified, licensed and credentialed pediatric speech-language pathologist in California, her interest in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) also led her to go back to school and earn her graduate certificate in the filed of study. She blogs over at Playing With Words 365, sharing information about speech and language development, intervention strategies, therapy ideas and tips, and shares a little about her family and their life too. You can follow along on Facebookor Pinterest for more speech and language ideas and tips.
  • Heidie

    We are looking for one in Peoria Az. Any suggestions?

    • Katie Yeh

      Hi Heidie, if you are looking for a private SLP/clinic I would check out ASHA’s website. Here is the link:

      http://www.asha.org/proserv/

      Good luck!

      • ashwarya

        Hi am doing my masters in audiology and speech language pathology n am interested to work as a speech language pathologist. Could you pl guide me for working abroad after two years, basically regarding the requirements needed?

    • haitham

      I am interested , I am SLP from Jordan , I will be in USA as a student next June I am looking for CFY ,If you have a chance for me , this is my email: [email protected]

  • Jennifer Hatfield

    I love this Katie! Just today, had one of “those” moments when a young adult TBI client got to say her last name for the first time since her injury! She just had an adjustment to her palatal lift and didn’t realize that she could now get her velars! Chills….;) Love what I do which is why I went into private practice {Therapy and Learning Services} 16 years ago!

    • Katie Yeh

      Oh Jennifer that is fantastic! Your comment about your client gave ME the chills. This is the best profession! Thanks for stopping by!

      • Jennifer Hatfield

        🙂

  • Denie Sidney

    This is why I love my daughter’s SLP! You guys ROCK. : )

  • Francine Iuliucci

    Such amazing things happen when a child can speak clearly and be understood! I know first hand I’m a TA in a public school and my daughter is a SLP! She works with special needs children. Thanks for this post!

  • Martha Allen

    Great article, agree wholeheartedly. So, I hate to put a negative spin on your article, but I did notice a couple of typos. Number 4: ….say “rabbit” instead of “rabbit”. And in number 5, should there be a comma after swallow? “….further by disorder type like swallowing stroke, early language intervention, stuttering, or motor speech disorders.” I would love to share this, but not with typos. We are in the communication business.

    • Kelly

      Such a petty remark. You begin with “Great article” and then proceed to pick her apart. Find some kindness.

      • Martha Allen

        I’m not picking her apart. How well it is written is a reflection on our profession as Speech-Language Pathologists. I would love to share this article, but I won’t with typos. I’m not being petty.

        • Karnka

          I think you are being a real pill about itobu t it

        • Irene R. Kopp, M.S., C.C.C.

          I agree with Martha Allen re the typos. It is essential that we, as speech and language pathologists, communicate well ourselves. She is not being picky, and I thank her for being so vigilant. As speech and language pathologists, our ears should be trained to be “picky” — otherwise, how can we hear and recognize the sometimes tiny deviations that our clients make in their articulation skills and in their language skills?

    • Kay

      Actually, I question your comment regarding #4. I took the exclamation point as a way to point out that the child final SAYS the word rather than yelling it… is that the point? (If indeed there were supposed to be a period, inside the quotation marks is the correct method.) Yes, there were “typos,” but the joy that Katie feels in her profession still comes through “loud and clear.” (Whoops! Make that “loudly and clearly” – ha!)

      • Martha Allen

        I think the, saying “rabbit” instead of “rabbit” was probably an articulation goal involving the /r/ phoneme. We work with a lot of children who cannot produce the /r/ phoneme correctly, usually they substitute /w/ for /r/. So in the example in #4 I am wondering if she meant to say: ‘saying “rabbit” instead of “wabbit”. (Think of Elmer Fudd).

        • B.W.

          Solution: Write your own article and then share it.

        • Katie Yeh

          Hi Martha, I am the author of this piece. Thanks so much for your comment. Unfortunately, thanks to the autocorrect function of my MAC computer, “wabbit” became “rabbit” and I did not catch it. Technology is a wonderful thing, but obviously sometimes it can also be a hinderance!

          Regarding my comma typo, yes I did indeed forget a comma. Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention and my editor here at the Friendship Circle has been informed so he can fix it.

          Yes, how well a piece is written is a refection on our profession as speech-language pathologists, thank you for the reminder. My small typos are also a direct reflection of the difficulty that arises when trying to write a piece with two small children at home with me, and sleep deprivation thanks to my 5 month old who refuses to sleep. 🙂

          Despite my lack of sleep, I continue to I donate my time to this blog, in hopes to help parents of children with special needs. Please feel free to email me directly at [email protected] if you have any other valuable feedback for me! Thanks!

    • Sublime Speech

      Hi Martha! So glad to see you found this rockin’ article by my blogger friend Katie. As you can see, she loves this profession (as I know we both do)! I’m so disappointed to hear that a few unintentional typos have distracted you from the incredible message of this post. I hope you will extend a little grace to this amazing blogger, mother, and person. I know that we all make mistakes in the grammar department… but not everybody takes the time out of their lives to write and publish posts like these for which they receive no monetary compensation. I’m so thankful for Katie’s amazing posts and how they have inspired and aided me in my therapy provision.

      Having said that, nice article Katie! I’ve shared it and am SO proud to do so! You rock, as do all SLPs!

    • fcmichigan

      The word rabbit has been changed to wabbit, and a comma has been added. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    • Anotherone36

      Martha – Katie was so gracious when responding to your feedback and constructive criticism. Had it been my article you were nit-picking, I’m not sure I would have used such affable and courteous language in my response. Kudos for you though, for keeping your professional hat on 24/7/365. I often take mine off at the end of the work-day.

  • Jenna Rayburn

    I seriously L.O.V.E. our job. It’s the best. These were great ideas Katie! Thanks for taking the time to boast about our profession! I always enjoy reading what you write.

  • Natalie Snyders

    Katie – as always, so well stated! Thank you for helping spread the “secret” about how awesome our profession truly is!

  • Mona

    Thanks for the article! I’m new in the field and sometimes feel like it is not what I expected. It gives me perspective a bit 🙂

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  • Akira Seung

    Speech-language pathologists assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent speech, language, cognitive,
    communication, voice, swallowing, fluency, More From
    http://www.nikkimartinspeech.com.au/blog/what-is-speech-pathology/

  • Disha Rao

    So very true! Other domains of Speech and Language disorders like Child/adult disfluency, Vocal pathologies along with a bit of audiology (rehabilitation part) should have been elaborated too for a better understanding of our profession.Then it would have ben great!

  • MARIA

    LOVE THIS ARTICLE RIGHT NOW I AM IN COLLEGE AND I WANT TO BECOME A SPEECH THERAPIST.

  • Ann Wilson

    I have been researching speech pathologist for the past several days. I have been trying to decide whether to be a elementary school teacher or get a degree in communication sciences and disorders and this article sealed the deal. Thank you.

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  • Box Hill Speech Therapy

    Fantastic article. It definitely is a challenging job but the results are always so incredibly rewarding to see – or in our case ‘hear’

  • Liahlanni N. Cruz

    Hafa Adai! This article has reached me all the way on the island of Guam. I absolutely love this article, it covers everything I am learning in my into to Speech Pathology class. I have also read the comments, and I must say it is truly alarming to see that some people cannot use their words nicely. I struggle with grammar, but I hope to work through it as I want to one day become a SLP. As I move forward with my studies I hope that NO ONE will turn around and tell me that I am not cut out for this due to my need to improve my grammar. I look forward to the collaboration this profession would bring me, and I feel that helping one another to improve in certain areas would be part of great collaboration.

  • Symen James

    I completely agree with the writer. As a speech language job professional myself, it is just amazing to know that you are making a difference to a child’s life, helping them out and being a support for their good future.

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  • Megan S.

    I’m having difficulty choosing a career and this didn’t help! (Haha!) I can’t decide whether I want to be a speech language pathologist or an audiologist. This list makes me want to be a SLP, but I still don’t know….. Anyone have any opinions? Or is there any way I can be both (double major)/ (or is that a lot of school)? I’m at a community college right now and this is my last semester before I have my disabilities specialist A.S. degree with a focus is SLPA. Does anyone have any ideas on what they think I should do to choose the major best for me? Thanks in advance for those of you have any ideas for me!

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  • Sonia

    Thank you so much for your post. I am currently struggling with the decision of pursuing music education or communications of sciences and disorders. I have so much interest in being a vocal therapist as I am a trained classical singer. Unfortunately I cannot do both so it is eifher music education and vocal performance or vocal performance and csd. Your blog has given me confidence to pursue the CSD. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to write this. And I’m sorry that other people can’t find anything better to do than criticize “typos”. As educated beings, I think we can understand what you’re saying despite the “typos”. 🙂

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