What does a speech pathologist do?
- Treat children and adults with difficulties in speech learning
- Conduct therapy to correct stuttering and abnormal articulation
- Counsel people with language difficulties
- Plan rehabilitation programs for patients
What skills do I need to be a speech pathologist?
A speech pathologist requires excellent people skills as they work closely with individuals, families, teachers, and often, employers. They also require communication skills, an ability to solve complex problems, and relevant training. Perceptiveness and empathy is also key, as issues with speech may cause sensitivity or insecurity in clients. With much of our day-to-day lives depend on effective, spoken communication, speech pathologists play a vital role in helping those with difficulties. To correctly diagnose, test, and treat speech difficulties, a speech pathologist needs excellent skills in listening and a strong knowledge of speech and the neurological and physiological system responsible for it.
- Active listening skills
- Speaking skills
- Complex problem solving skills
- Scientific skills and knowledge
- Perceptiveness and empathy
Speech pathologists can train to gain specialist knowledge in areas that may be related to individual patient needs. These may include specialisations in the treatment of younger patients, oral motor therapy, or experience in areas such as augmentative-alterative communications for those with major difficulties in natural speech.
Paediatric speech pathologist
Specialist in fluency
Study pathways for speech pathologists
The main pathway for this career is a university degree that is usually followed by a master’s degree or further study in a specialisation.
Take the first steps by undertaking vocational education and training to become a qualified speech pathology assistant or aide.
An undergraduate study program will allow you to gain the skills and training you need to enter the field of professional speech pathology.
Explore more options for continuing your education and working towards your professional goals with a postgraduate specialist qualification.
In order to become a practising speech pathologist in Australia, you must complete a course that is accredited by Speech Pathology Australia (SPA).
Getting a job after graduation
Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your speech pathology career. Take a look at our sample resume and cover letter and put your best foot forward when you apply for speech pathology jobs.
Job Prospects and Salaries
Employment in speech pathology has grown steadily over the past five years, but as a relatively small occupation, the opportunities may be quite limited in some areas.