Becoming a speech therapist is an interesting and challenging career for anyone seeking a healthcare profession where they can both treat and teach at the same time while being a strong, positive influence on others.

The area of a highly detailed one requiring a substantial educational commitment, but the benefits in this profession are many.

Offering not only a chance for career advancement and specialization, but also a very favorable salary, practitioners are in demand right now.

Job outlook for healthcare professionals is very positive right now, and there are more jobs than ever before.

Speech Therapy Salary

Since speech therapy is a more specialized healthcare career that requires considerable education and training, practitioners are paid well.

According to the most recent salary information provided by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor statistics, the median salary for speech-language pathologists is approximately $67,000 annually, which is almost double the median salary of all occupations combined, at $34,000 annually.

The estimated salary scale includes a range of a low of $43,000 annually to a high of upwards of $103,000 annually.

Most practitioners were employed by state, local and private elementary and secondary schools, with the rest employed in private practice and a few in skilled nursing and with home health agencies.

According to job outlook information gathered over the last few years, it is expected that jobs will continue increase up to 23 percent, which is nearly twice as fast as the general employment growth rate overall.

Experience Matters

According to a 2011 salary survey done by median salary was $70,000 annually, with a range of $58,000 annually for practitioners with only 1 to 3 years of experience, to upwards of $90,000 annually for practitioners with over 30 years experience and practice administrators.

Skilled nursing facilities provided the highest salaries of up to $82,000 per year while practitioners working for outpatient clinics and in private practice earned an average of $65,000 annually.

Salary for practitioners in Canada seems to be fairly consistent with those in the US according to the most recent findings by Statistics Canada, and reports a median salary of about $75,000 CAD annually. Sixty percent of practitioners earned above $50,000 CAD annually, and main areas of employment were with hospitals and schools.

In the UK, NHS salaries for entry-level speech and language therapists begins at approximately £22,000 annually, but it is said that this rate is quickly raised to salaries between £25,000 to £34,000 annually once a practitioner has demonstrated skill in the field.

Senior speech and language therapists usually start at about £37,000 annually and can rise to up to £46,000. Principle therapists who are also managers may earn up to £58,000 annually. While these salaries are for practitioners working within the NHS, those in private practice may earn more.

How to Become a Speech Therapist

Anyone interested in a career will need to earn a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology in order to be qualified in the US and Canada (the UK requires at least a Bachelor’s undergraduate degree to enter the profession).

This involves four preparatory years of general education while earning a Bachelor’s degree, and then the completion of a speech-language pathology program that (CAA) to earn their Master’s degree.

Accreditation is overseen by the Royal College of Speech and Language Specialists (RCSLT) in the UK, and in Canada, by both the Canadian Accreditation of Service Programs (CASP) and (CACUP-ASLP).

Upon graduation, students are able to file for their licenses to practice where required, which includes almost all states and provinces in the US and Canada.

Graduates practicing in the UK must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Certification is optional to practitioners, but is highly recommended, especially for those seeking job advancement and specialty recognition.

Prospective students who may be interested in a career as a speech therapist are recommended to contact the professional organizations mentioned above to learn more about accredited educational programs and other learning requirements.

By yanam49

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