Do want to know How to become a Speech Therapist? don’t worry, you are among the lucky ones to come across this article.
Speech-Language therapists or speech-language pathologists as they are commonly called are part of the growing community of professionals dedicated to helping people with communication, swallowing, speech, expression, and cognitive-communication disorders.
In a world where a good number of people struggle to communicate properly, speech therapists are helping to integrate and develop a pathway for these people to communicate effectively with the rest of society. It is a job that springs more out of compassion and love than just the monetary gain.
In our update today, we shall be talking a lot about how to become a speech therapist, the job of a speech therapist as well as answering questions on what does speech therapists do?
Who is a Speech Therapist?
A speech therapist is many things in many ways. A speech therapist is a counselor and also a pathologist in everything that concerns speech and communication.
He/She helps both children and adults to overcome impediments in talking, drinking, swallowing, language, and other disorders in communication.
These disorders make it hard for the patient to comprehend information, especially in the classroom. It becomes extremely difficult to form friendships as a child and relate with others in a normal way.
What speech therapists do is identify the root cause of the problem then chart an implementable routine for the individual to fit in. They also identify early-stage symptoms then assess to identify high-risk children, then develop special education programs for them.
Speech pathologists remain an integral part of society especially in the school and educational system. They are mainly seen in the school setting.
How to Become a Speech Therapist
Even if you have the natural gift of becoming a speech therapist, it is still important you get trained to know the tents and ethics of the profession.
Those that make the best speech therapists are usually the naturally gifted ones and those with the skills and personal traits required in communicating with patients.
There are three common steps towards becoming a speech pathologist, we shall take it one step at a time.
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree:
If you are going to excel in this profession you must start from the basics. The undergraduate level is where students are exposed to the general components involved in speech therapy.
They are introduced to the early knowledge and majors in communication sciences and disorders, linguistics, language development, education, psychology, and English.
Masters in SLP:
While a B.sc might have brought you closer to the sciences in speech pathology, you will still need a Master’s Degree to consolidate your knowledge of speech therapy.
Here, the students are involved in more practical approaches to the program which consists mainly of clinical experiments, internships in hospitals, schools, or special education centers.
The degree program dives deep into areas like physiology, anatomy, and language development. There will also be academic research works at this master’s level.
A master’s in speech and language pathology (SLP) takes an average of 2 years or a little above that to complete. At the end of the program, the graduates are issued either of the following
- MS Communicative Sciences and Disorders
- MS Speech-Language Pathology
- MS Communication Sciences and Disorders, specialization in speech-language pathology.
Postgraduate fellowship is not mandatory for all M.sc holders to become licensed Speech Therapists.
It all depends on your state of residence or province legislation towards the profession. In some states, a Masters’s degree is enough to start practicing while others will require you to complete some core clinical post-graduate courses.
Students here are mentored by licensed therapists where they complete weeks and prescribed hours of clinical experiments and internships. You can be working as a resident speech therapist while also studying for a post-graduate fellowship.
In some states you can apply for a temporary license and practice with Masters’s degree, its renewal and full licensing is subject to completion of a post-graduate fellowship.
Licensing for SLPS is a process that varies by state and country. If you intend to practice in school, you will need to present a teaching degree certificate before you can obtain a license.
The accredited bodies like American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) for America or other recognized ones in other countries take care of this process. You will have to sit for the exam after which a license will be issued if you pass.
Speech and Language Therapists Skills
It is not enough to obtain a degree in language therapy, the main job lies in your ability to use the needed skills to effectively communicate and offer the needed help. Among the many skills and traits needed of a speech therapist are listed below.
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Organisational skills
- Communication skills
- Teamworking skills
- Business skills for private practice
Speech Therapists Salary
Speech therapists and pathologists play a very important role especially in schools and in society at large. The desire for the job springs more out of passion than the monetary gain.
However, you can actually have both because speech therapists are actually among the top paid professionals.
Furthermore, speech therapy salary depends largely on years of experience, certificates among many other professional titles. However, on average speech therapists earn $81,040 per annum.
The demand for the job is projected to rise as the demand for speech therapists keeps rising in many states and provinces. Schools need them to identify early stages of speech impediments, diagnosis, and disorders.
Conclusion on How to Become a Speech Therapist
The best help that can be offered to a child at the risk of speech impediment or swallowing disorder is to identify the problem early and then chart a path for him or her to adapt.
Hence, the need to always have a speech therapist in the schools and in the family.
There are lots of technicalities involved in this job. It is advised to pursue the skills and knowledge needed for the job at the highest levels and obtain all the certificates and degrees to provide effective speech therapy to those that need it.