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Speech Language Pathologist Salary & Career Outlook

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Speech-language pathologists work with individuals with communication disorders to diagnose and treat these conditions. They may also work with children and adults to prevent such situations from arising in the first place.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the continual increase in the demand for speech-language pathologists nationwide to be way higher than the average increase for other occupations.

Additionally, professionals in the field also earn an impressive salary. Naturally, these salary figures tend to vary based on several factors. Below, we provide a general overview of the annual average wages for speech-language technologists nationwide, along with specific characteristics that can influence these figures.

Speech-Language Pathologist Salary Overview

The annual median salary for speech-language pathologists is $84,140. This is according to data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to a survey of more than 67,000 speech-language pathologists all over the country carried out by Indeed, the annual average salary for a speech-language pathologist is $119,032.

Another listing platform, ***Glassdoor,***specifies the annual salary for SLPs to be $102,894.

The same data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that speech-language pathologists in the top 10% of earners will take home an annual average salary of more than $126,680.

In comparison, those in the bottom 10% will earn an average yearly salary of $56,370.

Factors Affecting Speech-Language Pathologist Salary

Several factors can contribute to where a speech-language pathologist falls in the salary spectrum. One of these is experience.

Speech-language pathologists who have been on the job for longer tend to earn more than those just starting. Not only are they valued more by some employers, but they would also have had numerous chances to position themselves for a higher salary.

Another essential factor to consider is location. Some states are known to have a higher annual average salary for SLPs than others. In fact, in the same state, some areas are better suited for a career in speech-language pathology than others.

As one would expect, the work environment and the specific industry where a speech-language pathologist works will also contribute to how much they make every year.

Other key factors include certification and business type (whether or not a SLP owns their own business).

Speech-Language Pathologist Salary by Work Environment

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, speech-language pathologists who work in nursing and residential care facilities make the most money, with an annual average salary of $101,320. They are followed by SLPs who work in state, local, and private hospitals. This group makes an average yearly salary of $96,830.

SLPs who work in the offices of physical, occupational, and speech therapists and audiologists earn an annual average salary of $93,600.

Lastly, an SLP working in state, local, and private educational services takes home an annual average salary of $77,310.

Speech-Language Pathologist Salary by State

According to data provided by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics page of the BLS, the highest paying states to be a speech-language pathologist in the country include

  • Hawaii, with an annual average salary of $110,470,

  • California, with an annual average salary of $108,960,

  • District of Columbia, with an annual average salary of $105,360,

  • New York, with an annual average salary of $104,240, and

  • New Jersey, with an annual average salary of $102,200.

The salary, demand, and employment opportunities for speech-language pathologists also vary from one state to another. The same dataset from the BLS’ OES page revealed that the following are the states with the highest demand for SLPs in the country:

  • California, with 17,100 employed SLPs,

  • Texas, with 15,430 employed SLPs,

  • New York, with 13,760 employed SLPs

  • Illinois, with 9,610 employed SLPs, and

  • Florida, with 7,420 employed SLPs.

Optimizing Salary with Certification

A speech-language pathologist can optimize their earnings by studying for and obtaining professional credentials.

To begin their careers, all speech-language pathologists must acquire a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology. This is offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

However, along with the Certificate of Clinical Competence, candidates may also obtain additional certification to specialize, improve their skills and appeal, and earn higher. Some of these examples include the certifications offered by specialty boards.

These include Board-Certified Specialist credentials in Fluency and Fluency Disorders (BCS-F), Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (BCS-F), and Child Language and Child Language Disorders (BCS-CL).

Job Outlook

Aspiring speech-language pathologists will be glad to know that the projection for the upcoming decade is as promising as possible. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for professionals in the field will increase by 19% from 2022 to 2032.

Considering that the annual average for other occupations usually lies around 7% - 9%, this number is as favorable as they come.

The figure also indicates that every year within that time frame, there will be around 13,200 job openings for qualified speech-language pathologists nationwide. There are a few reasons behind this projection, and we look at them below.

Projection Factors

One of the most important reasons why the demand for speech-language pathologists in the country is set to undergo such a significant increase is the continual recognition and awareness of the disorders that SLPs are trained to diagnose, treat, and prevent.

As more people become aware of these disorders, particularly in younger children, there will be an increase in the number of people who will consult specialists to treat such patients.

Another reason behind the projection involves the medical advances being made to improve the survival rate of premature infants. The survival rate of trauma/stroke victims is also improving.

Both of these demographics tend to need help from speech-language pathologists.

Lastly, more speech-language pathologists will also be required to replace those who are retiring and to treat the baby boomer population developing instances of stroke, dementia, and other pertinent health conditions.