Becoming a speech-language pathologist will give you the opportunity to improve the communication of people in the healthcare sector. A speech-language pathologist takes extensive education and training in order to evaluate and treat individuals who have speech impairments or other communication problems. Therefore, you need to understand how to pursue the education and training needed.
Becoming a speech-language pathologist can be fulfilling and desirable because of reasons such as significant job stability, high earning potential and career advancement options. Additionally, these professionals have a direct impact on the daily lives and wellness of their patients. A speech-language pathologist is a qualified professional who focuses on preventing, evaluating, diagnosing, and treating disorders such as speech, language, social communication and swallowing issues in both kids and adults.
In this piece, I will guide you through this career path and how to become a speech-language pathologist.
How to Become a Speech-Language Pathologist
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
This is an important step in your career pursuit. You must get a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology or a related field. Additionally, you can also obtain a bachelor’s degree in courses such as English, Psychology, Education or linguistics. Furthermore, you should ensure that the course you earn a bachelor’s degree in should be accredited by the Speech Pathology Council.
Pursue a Master’s Degree
It is important that you acquire a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. You will gain the fundamental skills that you will need to be a clinician. Additionally, you will learn in-depth information about the principles and procedures for screening, diagnosing and treating patients with communication difficulties.
Gain Clinical Experience
After completing your graduate and undergraduate degree, it is required that you gain practical experiences through internships or clinical placements. This experience is important as it is a requirement to obtain your license as a speech-language pathologist. Therefore, you can gain clinical experiences in hospitals, schools and private clinics.
Gain Professional License
A license will give you the authority to practice and attend to patients as a speech-language pathologist. However, getting this license will require that you fulfil some processes. They include, acquiring a bachelor’s degree and completing the required amount of hours of clinical experiences. You need to pay the necessary licensing fees and wait for the approval.
Gain Relevant Certifications
You can consider obtaining additional certifications to prove your expertise. You can obtain certifications such as certificate of clinical competence in speech-language pathology(CCC-SLP). Additionally, you can obtain certifications in areas of specialty such as fluency disorder or swallowing disorders. Furthermore, obtaining licensure and certification shows a dedication to professionalism, foster rapport and open up more job options.
Skills needed as a Speech-Language Pathologist
- Active Listening
- Verbal and Written Communication
Types of Speech-Language Pathologist
- Pediatric Speech Pathologists: These professionals work with children. They provide treatment for children with disorders such as understanding speech, pronouncing certain words and issues with swallowing.
- Adult Speech Pathologists: They treat adults who may have trouble understanding or speaking due to neurological injury. Additionally, they also offer therapies for speech and communication transformation that are affirming.
- Travel Speech Pathologists: They go from one facility to another on a temporary basis. Some may make this a temporal field, while others make a profession out of it.
- Researcher: These speech pathologists carry out research and study in the discipline of speech pathology. They research topics such as language features in a particular population, standardization and treatments.
- Lecturer/Professor: A speech pathologist can work in an educational setting. They can instruct and mentor students who are pursuing degrees in speech-language pathology.
Universities in Africa that offer Speech-Language Pathology
- University of Lagos, Nigeria
- Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa
- University of Ibadan, Nigeria
- University of Pretoria, South Africa
- Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
- University of Capetown, South Africa
- University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
- Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
- University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
- University of Fort Hare, South Africa
- University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
- Medical University of South Africa, South Africa
- University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Overall, becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist offers a solid employment market, a variety of professional routes, and the chance to significantly improve the lives of people with communication problems. Therefore, with commitment, education and clinical experience, aspiring speech-language pathologist can start a successful career in this vital field.