Throughout May, Better Hearing & Speech Month, we are celebrating all of the therapy professionals who help their patients overcome and adapt to communication challenges. For those interested in learning more about a Speech-Language Pathologist career, let’s review the variety of employment settings for SLPs.
Educational Setting – According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), more than 56% of the nearly 150,000 SLPs work in an educational setting with most being in schools and the other 3% in colleges and universities. School setting SLPs work in Early Intervention, Preschool, and K – 12 conducting screenings and diagnostic evaluations for children with mild to severe disabilities. Most school setting SLPs perform the full spectrum of typical duties beyond the time spent working with their students on listening, speaking, reading, writing, and general learning strategies to include developing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), completing all required documentation, counseling and educating family members, and more. Some districts employ a type of SLP that doesn’t actually work with students providing therapy services. Called Case Manager SLPs, these professionals focus primarily on the administrative aspect of student services to include written evaluations, developing service plans, referrals, preparing all state, local, and federal documentation, and strategic consultations with therapy staff and general education staff members.
Health Care Settings – If an SLP is not employed in an educational setting, there is a good chance they are working in health care. About 13% of SLPs work in a hospital, 16% in a nonresidential facility, and the remaining 10% work in a residential health care facility.
- Hospitals – SLPs working in a hospital provide a range of services for varying populations depending on the type of hospital they are employed in, including Veteran’s Administration or Children’s Hospitals. Treatments include diagnosing and treating communication and language disorders or swallowing problems. Hospital SLPs also provide counseling to patients and their families as well as educating them about continuing treatment plans.
- Non-residential Facilities – A growing setting for SLPs is the treatment of patients of all ages in their homes. SLPs working in home care are often employed by home health agencies, early intervention programs, or even be in private practice. Other non-residential settings include working in outpatient clinics and physician’s offices.
- Residential Facilities – Skilled nursing, assisted living, and other residential facilities provide the setting for SLPs who are essentially performing the same treatments as their hospital counterparts but are seeing patients who are staying in treatment for longer periods of time to develop or improve functional skills.
Tele-therapy – Another setting that deserves mentioning is the growth in tele-therapy services. Patients who live in rural areas or who don’t have easy access to therapy services are being treated in greater numbers from SLPs who are working over the internet from a home office. Making the leap into private practice tele-therapy from home is a big decision for any SLP, but with a good computer and strong internet connection, many are finding that it is a desirable option for their specific career situation.
What setting are you most interested in as an SLP? Are you considering a change? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or join the discussion on our Facebook page. You can also speak with a recruiter to learn about the many opportunities we have available through our nationwide network.