a speech-language pathologist working with a pediatric client

Opportunity abounds! SLPs enjoy variety in the field

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The possibilities for where speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work are bountiful! You can work in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, school, or even your own private practice. It is up to you and your career goals.  

As a traveling speech-language pathologist, who has worked short-term contracts across the country, I’ve had the privilege of working in many settings with different levels of care and patient populations. 

Educational Setting

The majority of SLPs report working in the educational setting. An ASHA survey of SLPs showed that 56% of SLPs reported working in the educational setting

a speech-language pathologist working with a student in the educational setting
A speech-language pathologist working in the educational setting

Places where speech-language pathologists work in the educational setting:

  • Preschool
  • Elementary School
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • Colleges and universities

In the K-12 setting, SLPs can work with students to do individual, group, and push-in class therapy for speech and language disorders. 

In the university setting, they work as professors and supervisors to educate and train students into our future SLPs!

Home Setting

Speech-language pathologists can travel to patients’ homes and work directly in their home setting. SLPs can do home visits for early intervention agencies, private practice visits, and home health care agencies.

In my opinion, home therapy is one of the most functional therapy that we perform. The ability to work with your client in their home, with family present, is extremely beneficial to establishing functional goals and meeting them in their most functional environment. 

Medical Setting

Speech-language pathologists work in the medical setting to address speech and language deficits as well as swallowing and cognitive-linguistic deficits.

a women feeling a mans neck while he swallows
SLP in the medical setting palpating a swallow

Places where speech-language pathologists work in the medical setting:

  • Hospitals 
  • Inpatient rehabs
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Long-term care centers
  • Hosital associated outpatient clinics
  • Home health care

Outpatient Clinics

Outpatient clinics serve the gamut of clients with needs for SLP services. From pediatrics to adults, clinics serve a wide variety of patients. Outpatient clinics might be part of a hospital system, chain of clinics, or privately owned private practices. 

Consulting

Speech-language pathologists can also work as consultants who do not directly work at a facility. An SLP consultant might work with a client to help to develop systems that are beneficial to their facility. Or, a consultant might perform evaluations only and give recommendations to the staff for therapy ideas. Consultants could also work for an SLP therapy company and provide consulting to SLPs, patients, and families who purchase their products.

Entrepreneurs

While the list above might seem like I’m trying to fit all SLPs into a box, this is not the case at all. As an SLP, you can become an entrepreneur and use your skills to work in unique ways. I personally know SLPs who own companies that create therapy apps, sell therapy materials, provide digital resources to SLPs, design clothing and SLP-related merchandise, and provide continuing education to other SLPs and medical professionals.

If there’s an idea that you have as an SLP, you can create it and make it come to fruition. SLPs are highly organized, brilliant and motivated individuals who make great leaders and business owners.

To Recap

Speech-language pathologists can find jobs in a variety of settings, including medical, educational, and home health settings. If you’re an SLP looking for work or if you know someone who is interested in this career field, let me know in the comments below!

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