What Does a Speech-Language Pathologist Do?

In addition to clinical work, SLPs perform administrative tasks like writing reports and maintaining client records. They often work in schools, hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, doctor’s offices, and private practices.Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-Language Pathologists In Doylestown work in various research, education, and healthcare settings. They treat conditions that can interfere with an individual’s ability to communicate effectively and use their voices, swallowing abilities, and cognitive skills.

For those interested in a career as an SLP, undergraduate students should consider earning a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in communication disorders and sciences. Some schools offer this degree as a major, while others provide undergraduates with the opportunity to minor in communication disorders and sciences.

Those who are committed to pursuing a career as an SLP should pursue a graduate degree at a school that is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). This ensures that graduates have met all nationally established academic and clinical standards.

Many CAA-accredited SLP programs also include supervised clinical experiences, which help students gain exposure to the field and apply their knowledge of diagnosis and treatment. Generally, these experience will span at least 36 weeks or around 400 hours. Clinical placement advisors work with students to arrange clinical experiences in various types of environments.

SLPs who have completed their graduate program are eligible to seek licensure from the state in which they intend to practice. Generally, this will require passing the Educational Testing Service’s (ETS) Praxis II: Subject Assessment in Speech-Language Pathology examination. Some states have additional licensing requirements.

Most SLPs describe their work as meaningful and fulfilling. One SLP recalls a specific moment of satisfaction: teaching a child with autism how to chew food so that they could eat things other than pureed fruit and vegetables.

Aside from the rewarding clinical aspects of their jobs, SLPs also report a high level of job satisfaction and security. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is expected to grow faster than average for the next ten years. This is due to a number of factors, including an aging population with an increased prevalence of communication disorders, medical advances that improve the survival rate of preterm infants and trauma victims, and growth in elementary- and secondary-school enrollments.

Clinical Practice

Speech-Language Pathologists apply their skills in a wide variety of clinical settings. They provide treatment to individuals of all ages who have communication and swallowing disorders that affect their quality of life. They also work with other healthcare professionals to help improve patients’ ability to interact and communicate with the world around them.

One of the most important skills SLPs learn in school is how to use evidence-based practice (EBP). This means they must consider what research shows about various treatments when designing a treatment plan for their clients. Using EBP ensures that the SLP is providing the best care possible to their client, and it helps them develop a plan that will be more likely to lead to positive outcomes.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association defines evidence-based case practice as “the integration of current, high-quality research evidence with practitioner expertise and client preferences and values in the process of making clinical decisions.” This definition is incredibly broad and can be applied to many aspects of SLP clinical practice. In fact, the ASHA Code of Ethics requires clinicians to use evidence-based treatment.

This includes evaluating, identifying and treating individual needs, as well as creating, implementing and monitoring treatment programs. It can also include the evaluation and dissemination of research. It also encompasses a client’s overall health and wellness, including their cultural background and language competence.

Medical speech-language pathologists frequently work closely with other healthcare providers, such as neurologists, audiologists, otolaryngologists and dieticians, to treat their patients. These multidisciplinary teams allow SLPs to gain valuable real-world experience while also helping their patients live more active lives.

A common goal of medical speech-language pathologists is to help people regain their lost speech and swallowing abilities. They do this by working with clients to provide education, counseling and support, and they use scientific research to guide their decision-making processes.

The SLPs who use EBP in their daily practice can access resources like the ASHA Practice PortalExternal link: open_in_new, which takes dozens of clinical research papers and lays them out in an easy-to-read format. This allows clinicians to search for specific information by category, such as a particular disorder, bilingual needs and specific populations.


Speech-language pathologists are trained to assess and treat a broad range of communication disorders. They often specialize in particular areas to maximize their effectiveness. This may include helping children with articulation and phonology, working with adults with fluency or articulation disorders, and working with individuals with swallowing disorders. Some Speech-Language Pathologists specialize in treating certain types of neurological issues that affect the nervous system, such as traumatic brain injury, or assisting individuals with cognitive-communication disorders resulting from chronic diseases and stroke.

Many graduate programs offer clinical experiences as a part of the program curriculum. This allows students to work with different client groups under the guidance of an experienced speech-language pathologist. The experience may also allow graduates to decide which specialty field they would like to pursue as a career.

Graduate programs that have been accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology include a practicum, or internship, which is a supervised clinical experience. This is a requirement to receive the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC-SLP). The CCC-SLP is a nationally recognized credential that is required for most jobs in this profession.

SLPs can also earn professional credentials for specialized areas of practice, which can open up new career opportunities and help advance the profession. These include clinical specialty certification, which enables professionals to be formally identified as Board Certified Specialists (BCS) in Child Language and Fluency Disorders, Adult and Child Dysarthria and Swallowing Conditions, or Cerebral Palsy and Related Communication Disorders. These credentials require a master’s degree, additional professional experience and a passing score on a practical exam.

A SLP can also choose to become a clinical instructor, which requires the successful completion of a graduate degree and a teaching certificate from an approved program. These are required for SLPs who plan to teach communication sciences and disorders in a college or university setting.

Individuals who want to pursue a clinical specialty should talk to their doctor about getting referred for an evaluation with a speech-language pathologist. The physician will determine whether the individual needs a referral and recommend a treatment program based on best practices, which is called evidence-based practice.

Continuing Education

In order to maintain their licenses and certification, Speech-Language Pathologists must obtain a certain number of continuing education hours. Continuing education (CEU) courses are an excellent way for SLPs to learn more about the latest research, novel treatment techniques and new technology that may improve patient outcomes. However, it can be expensive to attend live SLP CEU courses. Fortunately, there are ways for SLPs to find free Speech-Language Pathology CEU courses online.

SLPs can earn CEUs through professional development workshops and events sponsored by their state speech language pathology association, educational support centers, healthcare organizations or even universities. Many of these events are inexpensive or even free to attend. However, it is important for SLPs to remember that these workshops may not count toward their ASHA or individual state licensure requirements.

To earn SLP CEUs, therapists must complete course work that is relevant to their field of practice. In the case of speech-language pathologists, this includes topics such as speech and language disorders of children with cleft palate or articulation and phonology. SLPs can also use their CEUs to explore additional areas of specialty, such as adult and geriatric speech-language pathology or Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

It is important for therapists to save certificates from their CE courses in case they need to submit them as part of their license renewal or professional development requirements. Additionally, therapists can also use resources such as CE Broker to track their progress and maintain a record of the CEUs they have earned.

In New York, for example, licensed SLPs need to complete 30 CEUs every three years in order to renew their licenses. Twenty of these hours can be earned through self-study if the course is ASHA approved, and 20 of those hours need to be in a professional area. Whether the course is a live event or a prerecorded one, it is critical for SLPs to stay up to date with current research and practices to provide their patients with the best possible care. If you are looking for an affordable, convenient and comprehensive way to earn SLP CEUs, then look no further than HomeCEU. We offer a variety of flexible packages that will allow you to earn all the CEUs you need with minimal impact on your schedule.