What is Speech-Language Pathology?
Before we dive into the career options of speech-language pathology, it is important to understand what speech-language pathology is. SLPs work with individuals who need professional help to develop their communication skills. These professionals work with people from different age groups in order to diagnose, assess, prevent, and treat language, speech, cognitive communication, social communications and even swallowing disorders.
There may be so many different settings in which speech-language pathologists can work but the requirements are the same almost everywhere. To become an SLP you need to get a master’s degree in this field and for that you don’t necessarily need to have an undergraduate degree in the same.
The best way is for you to choose one program which is accredited by the right authority of your country because most of the state boards will require this. Once you have earned your degree, you will then proceed to earn a license in the state in which you want to practice.
Seeking alternative career options for Speech-Language Pathologists
Although Speech-language pathologists may be rather specialized, there is also enough leg room for them to be able to enjoy other types of careers that involve communication and different kinds of therapy. There are in fact a good number of different careers in different job fields that are a good fit for a specialized speech-language pathologist.
Here are a few alternative career options for speech language pathologists:
Audiologists perform a lot of similar tasks as that of a speech language pathologist. The only difference is that they work with those patients who suffer from hearing or ear problems as opposed to speech and/or swallowing problems.
These are professionals who examine their patients through different hearing exams and tests in order to diagnose the issue. After the diagnosis, they will then determine the right treatment that will be best for the patient, whether it is recommending a hearing aid or implant or just another form of treatment.
Audiologists also talk with the patient and their families and educate them about the condition of the patient and offer different ways to communicate and suggest ways that will prevent any further damage to the hearing. To become an audiologist, individuals must be able to meet the licensing requirements of their concerned state of employment.
2. Interpreters and Translators
Since speech language pathologists are normally interested in communication and speech, there is a good chance they will also be able to enjoy a career working as an interpreter or a translator. In fact this is one of the most popularly opted alternative career options for speech language pathologists. A professional interpreter specializes in converting signed language or spoken language into another different language. As for a translator, he or she works to convert a written language into another language.
Interpreters may offer a consecutive, whispered or simultaneous interpretation but it is the duty of both the translators and interpreters to be accurate and clear when they write or speak out the converted language. In order to become either a translator or an interpreter, the individual must be at least fluent in two different languages. They also need to earn a bachelor’s degree along with a full on-the-job training.
3. Physical therapists
Speech-language pathologists are usually familiar with certain elements of physical therapy which are used on patients. This proves to be helpful when pursuing a career like physical therapist. A physical therapist resorts to different types of therapy like stretches, hands-on therapy, exercises and more which are designed to help with movement or reduce the pain in certain parts of the body.
Physical therapists are often patients who are recovering from an injury or illness. As a professional they must give the right diagnosis to the patient and offer a treatment plan followed by an up close monitoring of the progress of the patient. In order to become a physical therapist, an individual must get the license from the state in which he or she wants to practice. Another option is to obtain a doctorate in physical therapy.
4. Post-secondary Health Specialty Teacher
There are some Speech-language pathologists who prefer to teach rather than deal with patients on a day to day basis. For such people, Post-secondary Health Specialty Teacher is one of the best alternative career options for speech language pathologists. At this level, the educators are made to teach their students different courses in specific areas of expertise. This involves developing their own curriculum along with the assignments and exams.
Usually the educators are expected to conduct their own research in their areas of expertise, oversee the graduate students, give advice to undergraduates and contribute to different committees in the institution. Most institutions require post-secondary teachers to provide their doctorate degree certificate but there are many that only require a minimum degree in masters.
5. Recreational Therapists
Becoming a recreational therapist is probably one of the easiest alternative career options for speech language pathologists. Their job is to help patients suffering from different disabilities, illnesses or disabilities to improve their social skills and communication by participating in different activities.
As a recreational therapist you will make use of different activities like crafts, sports, aquatics, music and so on and so forth. This will help the patients to stay emotionally engaged and active in their condition. It is the job of the therapist to come up with programs designed to meet the needs and requirements of the patients and then closely monitor their progress and offer necessary changes to the treatment. To become a recreational therapist, individuals will need to get a professional certification and a minimum of bachelor’s degree.
Although a rather specialized field, there are so many fun alternative career options for speech language pathologists that involve communication, therapy of different kinds and more. The options listed above is just a few of the many different careers that offer a perfect fit for a speech-language pathologist who may find themselves in need of a different career option. Whether you want to try out something new or is just in need of a job that uses your specialty, there are so many to choose from.