Speech Teacher Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

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A speech-language pathologist earns an average annual wage of about $74,900. Is this worth the education and training required? Learn the truth about duties and career outlook for these professions and read real job postings than can help you decide if becoming a speech teacher is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Being a Speech Teacher

Working as a speech teacher can provide you the opportunity to work with school-aged students or adults who have difficulty speaking. Following is a list of more pros and cons that can help in deciding whether or not this career field is suitable for you.

Pros of Being a Speech Teacher
High earning potential*
Good job growth (faster-than-average for some specialties)*
Can get certified to stand out*
Get to help clients improve communication*

Cons of Being a Speech Teacher
Some jobs require a master's degree*
May require frequent travel to facilities*
May work evenings and weekends*
Working with special needs students may be stressful*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Essential Career Information

Speech-Language Pathologists

As a speech-language pathologist or speech therapist, you would work with patients who have communication or swallowing disorders in a clinical setting. Some of the patients you treat may have speech problems as a result of being born mute, with a cleft palate, developmental delay or stuttering problem. Other patients may have problems speaking due to brain injury or stroke.

To evaluate the extent of therapy needed, you would have patients complete basic reading and vocal tests. You would treat patients by teaching them how to make sounds, read more clearly or use sign language if they have little or no ability to speak. You can also specialize in a specific area, such as working with children, the elderly, those who have defects from birth or those who have problems caused by injury or medical trauma.

Job Outlook and Salary

For speech-language pathologists, employment is expected to increase at a faster-than-average rate of 21% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS. This job growth can be attributed to the increase in elderly persons in need of treatment for speech problems as a result of medical conditions, such as hearing loss and stroke. Also, more speech-language pathologists will be needed, as the industry becomes more technologically advanced in treating speech disorders and more aware of speech impediments in young children. As of May 2014, the BLS reported that speech-language pathologists made an average annual salary of about $74,900.

What Are the Requirements?

What Employers Are Looking for

For a career in speech-language pathology, you would need a master's degree in speech pathology or a related discipline. You typically do not need a bachelor's degree in speech pathology to enroll in the equivalent master's program. However, some institutions may require that you complete relevant undergraduate coursework prior to applying for your master's. In addition, you must have a license to practice in your state. You would need to complete a master's program and supervised clinical training to become licensed. You'll also need a degree awarded by an accredited institution to qualify for licensure.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Some job postings show that employers looking to hire speech teachers require at least one year of experience in the field. For a teaching position at a school, a bachelor's degree is the minimum education requested. For clinical positions, employers require a master's degree at minimum. Following is a list of job postings for positions involving speech therapy that can give you some insight into what work experience real employers were looking for during April 2012:

  • A hearing and speech agency in Baltimore, MD, is looking for a special education substitute teacher to work with children who have communication disorders. This position requires a bachelor's degree in early childhood or special education, speech language or psychology.
  • A healthcare staffing firm in Bristol, PA, seeks a speech language pathologist for a position providing therapy. This candidate must have a current license to practice in the state and at least one year of experience.
  • A healthcare hospital system in Mesa, AZ, wants to hire a speech pathologist to provide evaluation and rehabilitation services for patients with speech-language disorders. This position requires a master's degree in speech pathology from an accredited program, one year of direct experience, a state license and a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech Language Pathology.
  • A hospital in Pendleton, OR, is looking for a speech therapist with a graduate degree in speech pathology and three years of experience. This candidate will implement speech therapy care according to physician's orders to treat patients with various language disorders.

How to Stand Out in the Field?

You can gain a competitive advantage in this career field by obtaining the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). This designation is nationally recognized and is the standard for this occupation. This certification can enhance your level of expertise in the field, as the academic requirements to become certified usually exceed the requirements for state licensure.

To obtain the CCC-SLP certification, you must have a graduate degree in speech pathology from an accredited institution, meet coursework and clinical practicum requirements and pass the CCC-SLP Praxis exam. The Praxis exam is administered through the Educational Testing Services (ETS), but scores are determined by the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC). To remain certified, the ASHA requires that you earn 30 hours of continuing education credits every three years.

Other Career Paths

Audiologist

If you would like a job that involves working with patients who cannot speak or have trouble speaking as a result of hearing loss, then you may want to consider becoming an audiologist. For patients who are deaf and mute, you can help them hear by fitting and applying a cochlear implant, which is a device that sends electrical impulses to the audio nerve in the brain. You may also provide counsel to such patients on learning sign language and how to read lips.

You would also work with patients who have the ability to speak, but need hearing aids to hear sounds more clearly. To evaluate the extent of hearing loss, you would use devices such as computers and audiometers to determine at what volume a patient can hear sounds. To work as an audiologist, you would need a doctorate in audiology (Au.D.) and a state license to practice. According to the BLS, you are likely to have strong job security in this occupation, as employment is expected to grow much faster than the average through 2020. The BLS also noted that you can expect to earn an average annual salary of about $71,000 as of May 2011.

Adult Literacy Teacher

If you would like a career helping people with improving their language skills, then becoming an adult literacy teacher may be the ideal job for you. You may teach basic adult education and English as a second language (ESL) classes to students in need of help with basic reading and writing. For basic adult education classes, you would typically work with students over the age of 16 whose educational aptitude is below an eighth-grade level. For ESL classes, the majority of your students may be recent immigrants who need help with learning English for daily living, to gain employment or to take the U.S. citizenship exam.

To work in this field, you usually need a bachelor's degree and a teaching license or certificate. According to the BLS, employment for this profession is projected to increase about as fast as average through 2020. The BLS also noted that as of May 2011, adult literacy teachers earned an average annual wage of about $50,000.

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Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
  • Master: Higher Education - Online College Teaching
  • BS in Early Childhood Administration
  • Undergraduate in Early Childhood

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Argosy University

  • Teaching and Learning (EdD)
  • Higher and Postsecondary Education (EdD)

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Grand Canyon University

  • Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning
  • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Joseph's University

  • MS in Education - Special Education: Autism
  • MS in Education - Special Education and Wilson Reading System Certification

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Saint John's University

  • Ph.D. in Literacy
  • Ph.D. in Literacy: Educational Leadership
  • Ph.D. in Literacy: Special Education

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The George Washington University

  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning

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Northcentral University

  • PhD in Education - Curriculum and Teaching
  • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching
  • Education Specialist - Curriculum and Teaching

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American InterContinental University

  • Master: Education - Curriculum and Instruction
  • Master: Education - Leadership in Educational Organizations
  • Master of Education - Elementary Education

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