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Speech and language barriers are seen in many people. These barriers often need help from a professional to overcome. Sometimes the barriers may be helped, but not cured. Depending on the severity and type of speech or language barrier, a speech therapist is often necessary. This professional works with the individual to reduce the problems that are seen with their speech.  They also can see those that have other auditory issues. Depending on the specific issues, a speech therapist can come in and provide the necessary information to determine what the next steps should be. This is done on a patient-by-patient basis to provide an individualized approach to the care that the patients receive.

Learning more about a speech therapist is recommended for those interested in becoming one, or those that need one. This professional is one that is not spoken of often. With more information, people can easily learn whether this is a professional that is necessary or a profession they wish to take on. Helping people is what a speech therapist does and specializing in this field is a great way to spread knowledge and awareness of speech issues that are less known. They can help various people with numerous issues in different settings.

Who Is a Speech Therapist?

A speech therapist provides therapeutic support for those who have speech or language difficulties. They are a professional in the medical field who specializes in these impediments that people require additional help to overcome. They can work with several conditions such as mutism, stammers, stutters, Tourettes, and other speech issues. They also work with people of any age to provide the necessary help. However, many in this profession choose a specific group to work with, such as small children or those who may have suffered brain traumas. These professionals advise about, diagnose, and treat many speech and language issues.

It is important to look at those who are currently working in this setting to find out how they feel about the position. Learning what they do, what they love, and what they dislike about the position can give you an idea of whether this is something you'd like to do or not. It can also be a great way to explore a potential career before going to school for something you are unsure of doing. Many therapists are more than happy to provide you with a tour and let you know what exactly they do for their patients. Every therapist working in different settings works in different ways and provides different services. Learning each of these areas is important before deciding on which area you should work after successful completion of the degree.

Is There a Need for Speech Therapists?

As long as there are people in the world, there is a need for speech therapists. Not only are individuals born with conditions that require help from these professionals, but those who have suffered traumatic injuries require the specific therapeutic help to overcome them. With the rapid increase in aging individuals, the need for speech and language therapists is rising. Preterm infants born with unique medical issues continue to survive as medical advancements are made, making the need much higher in these infants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook over the next few years is around 18 to 20%, leaving the job placement much larger than expected, with a need to fill close to 30,000 positions in this career. Looking at an area of specialization for this career is ideal before signing up for classes. This will provide an idea of what exactly is needed in your area before going through with the degree program of your choice. Every area is different, and sometimes simply moving to a new area can open more options.

Speech Therapist Salary, Education, and Certification

Understanding the specific requirements of becoming a speech therapist is important if you are considering this as a career path to take. There are specific requirements that have to be completed to work as a speech therapist in your area. These requirements can help you earn what is required of you as you venture onto this career path. Having this information and knowledge will help you better serve your patients while also helping you gain the knowledge you need to perform your job duties successfully.

Education Requirements

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A degree through the Health and Care Professions Council or HCPC is required to practice as a speech therapist. It is offered in both a postgraduate or undergraduate degree type. Postgraduate degrees take around two years while undergraduate degrees take closer to four years to complete. There are specific requirements that the student must have to be accepted into this program of study, such as holding A's in specific classes and having the necessary pre-requisites taken. The student must register with the HCPC and work as a speech and language therapy assistant before receiving their degree and working as a therapist.

Speech therapists are also welcome to further their knowledge in this career path through advanced learning classes and a master's degree in a related field. This allows them to achieve a higher position with better pay. It can also give them further information on the specific field they work in providing better services to their patients they see. Speech therapists are also required to go through continued learning even without furthering their degree to keep up with the changes in the medical field and their own specific related field.

Certification Necessary

There is currently no certification necessary to become a speech therapist, but having the degree is important. Not only that but completing the necessary hours as a speech and language therapy assistant is necessary. This is important as it requires the therapist to get the hands-on learning that is needed to do this specific job.

Salary Offered

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Many specifics go into how much a speech therapist makes. The area they work in, the level of their experience and education, the center they work in, and other factors will affect how much the therapist can earn. According to ASHA, in 2015, speech therapists made around $40 to $76 an hour or $70,000 to $93,000 annually. However, this amount can fluctuate depending on their area and the place they work in. Those who work for non-profit or government agencies might make less than those who work for private practices. Those speech therapists who work in schools, according to ASHA, made close to $50 per hour back in 2014. It is important to note that these are numbers from years ago and the amount may have changed since they were last recorded. They should be used as an approximation.

Where to Work

There are numerous places where a speech therapist can find a job. Depending on the area they live, there may or may not be an immediate need for this career. Larger cities and urban areas often have a need for this profession due to having numerous clients to service for that specific area. Look for a career in any of these places.

  • Charitable organizations
  • Schools
  • The NHS
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Medical clinics
  • Private practices
  • Counseling offices
  • Research centers
  • Special education centers

Work Environment

The work environment changes for speech therapists depending on where they have agreed to take a position. They generally work around 40 hours in a professional setting. Some speech therapists work in other people's homes—visiting their children to provide the services. Others will stay in a professional office if they work for a private practice or another medical area. Some may even work only 10 months out of the year to match the school year if they work in a school-like setting. Those who work in a clinical or research setting may or may not have different hours as this depends on the subjects that are being reviewed and the specific hours that the clinic holds for this purpose.

Conclusion

Those interested in this career path should take the time to look into all the available information. Find out if this is the best career path for you to take depending on your preferences. By learning more about this career, you can find out if it is right for you. With much to offer, the career allows individuals to care for others that need their help. If you want a rewarding, welcoming career that allows you to be a valuable part of a medical team and help those around you, this is the career choice for you to go with. It is important to note that as the medical field advances, so will the need for these professionals. 

They specialize in a medical field which will require the help of knowledgeable professionals who can fill the gaps. Speech therapists are needed to care for both elderly and young patients who require help with speech, language, and their hearing issues. Also, most therapists can teach sign language to their patients. As a speech therapist, you quickly will learn that this fast-paced, rewarding career may or may not be for you.