What do you do for a living?

I’m a speech language pathologist in a skilled nursing facility.

How would you describe what you do?

I work with geriatrics who have been in the hospital but need therapy before they’re able to go home to live independently. Most of the people I work with have trouble communicating in some aspects, communicating or eating etc.

What does your work entail?

I keep a case load usually around seven to twelve patients at a time and I treat the various communication disorders or communication or swallowing disorders.

How did you get started in your job?

I knew I wanted to be in health care in some way and just ended up choosing therapy and stuck with it.

What do you like about your job?

I like that I interact with people all day long. I like helping people become more independent. I like the flexibility that my job offers. I like the ability to make my own schedule. I like not sitting at a desk all day long.

What do you dislike about your job?

I can’t think of anything I dislike offhand.

How do you make money or how are you compensated?

I get an hourly rate and I get full benefits and paid time off.

How much money do you make as a Speech Language Pathologist?

About $80,000.

What education or skills are needed to be a speech language therapist?

It requires a master’s degree which is a five semester program. Other than that you have to have state licensure and national licensure. You also need to enjoy working with people and be able to get your stuff done and get things turned in on time to Medicare so you don’t get denied.

What is most challenging about what you do?

Working with people that may never fully recover. Like if they had just a massive stroke and won’t ever be back to where they were. You know you can help them make improvements but they won’t be able to live like they were before the stroke. And that’s very tough sometimes.

What is most rewarding?

Just helping people to regain their independence and the lives that they had before they went to the hospital before they had a problem.

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

Let’s see I would say if you know if you want a career that you’ll be interacting with people, helping people, and one that’s at the same time still challenging and one that you learn a lot every day then this would be a good one because you work in healthcare alongside other medical professionals and you get to learn a lot about other disciplines as well.  Other advice is a good graduate program will go a long way.

Also, go to an undergraduate program with lots of different clinical opportunities.

How much time off do you get or do you take?

I get three weeks off per year.

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

That I only work with kids who can’t say their “R”s or that have lisps.

What are your goals or dreams for the future in this career?

I’d like to continue working with adults and maybe even get into doing some work in a variety of settings like the hospital or maybe private practice. I’d also like to get experience with different populations of adults with different disorders.

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

It’s a very rewarding job. It’s a lot of school but in the end it’s worth it.