What do you do for a living?

I am a speech pathologist.

How would you describe what you do?

I work with adults and geriatrics with cognitive, speech and swallowing disorders.

What does your work entail?

Assessing, planning and administering speech/swallow therapy. Tons of paperwork also!

What’s a typical work week like?

A lot of driving-Seeing 5-6 patients a day in their homes. Researching and planning treatment sessions along with paperwork. You have to write a note every time you see the patient.

How did you get started?

In college I took a “voice & diction class” & from then on I knew I wanted to be an SLP.

What do you like about what you do?

Helping my patients improve and gain more confidence.

What do you dislike?

The paperwork, seeing people who are very sick and at times, the liability.

How do you make money/or how are you compensated?

Pay per visit with benefits and paid time off; also some mileage reimbursement.

How much do people in your field make?

60-90K a year depending on the setting. You can make more money by picking up extra cases on the side or private pay.

How much money do you make starting out?

It depends what population and where. Lower pay in preschools; higher pay in homecare.

What education or skills are needed to do this?

Masters in Speech Language Pathology, a good stomach, patience and a caring heart.

What is most challenging about what you do?

Trying to figure out the best plan for each patient & realizing that you can’t help everyone.

What is most rewarding?

When your patient makes progress and they tell you how great you are!

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

Please don’t single out any population. Get experience with all! You never know where there will be a job opening. Also, a lot of jobs are per diem (as needed) or pay per visit. Many do not offer health benefits.

How much time off do you get/take?

If you work in healthcare, not much. If you are per diem (as needed) or pay per visit you usually do not get paid when you take off.

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

That we only work with lisps or “speech”

What are your goals/dreams for the future?

To be a supervisor or director.

What else would you like people to know about what you do?

Sometimes you will feel like a speech pathologist, nurse, social worker, psychologist and special ed teacher all in one.