If you enjoy studying linguistics, the art of speech, and helping others better their lives, you may have a future as a speech therapist. Speech therapists do more than just help people get over their stammers or stuttering problems. They also help people improve their speech patterns after suffering from medical conditions or injuries that have impaired their ability to communicate. Speech therapists enable a variety of different types of patients learn methods of better communication and speech. If you would like to help people express themselves and make connections through communication, you can become a speech therapist.
Becoming a speech therapist requires a lot of time and dedication. As a speech therapist, you will be required to know how to diagnosis a wide variety of speech disorders, and be able to recognize when underlying medical or mental health conditions are causing the speech impairment. Of course, after diagnosing the problem, you must be capable of designing and implementing a plan that will help this patient improve.
With such important and challenging job responsibilities, speech therapists understandably need a lot of education. To become a speech therapist, a master’s degree in speech pathology is necessary. This degree can be obtained at a university, or through an online degree program, but will need to be paired with supervised clinic hours. Depending on the requirements in your state, you will need to log a specified number of clinic hours under the supervision of a licensed speech pathologist.
Once you have logged the number of hours necessary, you will then need to spend one year working in the field before actually being able to receive your own license. Each state has it’s own requirements for becoming licensed. The state may have special certification and licensing requirements for therapists interested in working within the public school system. There are also additional certifications available, such as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association certification that can help advance your career or possibly open new job opportunities.
There are numerous career paths available to licensed speech therapists. You can work with children in school, work in government institutions, or join a rehabilitation center or private practice. The path you choose can be largely determined by whether you prefer to work with children, adults, or if you feel passionate about helping others through the rehabilitation. There are plenty of speech therapy patients waiting for your services.