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Speech Pathology courses enable students to work in an industry that helps people overcome communication problems – from speech issues through to difficulties with writing, reading, signs, symbols and gestures, and even people who have problems swallowing food and drink.
Potential subjects in Speech Pathology courses are linguistics, psychology, anatomy, physiology, investigating speech disorders, swallowing disorders, the voice, hearing, communication, physiology and language development.
Overall, Speech Pathology courses will provide students with an understanding of diagnosing and treating the communication disorders of people of all ages.
What do speech pathology graduates do?
Speech pathology course students usually work as speech pathologists, and may practise in a hospital, private practice or clinic setting. Your duties will vary depending on your work setting, but your work will generally include performing the following tasks with a client:
- Conducting an individual evaluation with the client, in order to assess their capacity and goals;
- Designing interventions for the client, including tasks, tests and exercises, for them to use in working towards their goals; and
- Evaluating and monitoring their progress towards their goals, and adjusting the intervention plan as needed.
In performing this work, you’ll also be required to administer and interpret a range of diagnostic and audiometric tests, plan and source other rehabilitation programs, prescribe items like hearing aids, and work with clients and their families to manage ongoing exercises. Your role may also take on some therapeutic qualities, with speech pathologists working in counselling and coaching capacities to consult with people who seek their assistance.
Graduates of speech pathology courses usually work as speech pathologists after course completion, and may choose to seek employment in a range of settings, including working in a hospital, in private practise, in a clinic, or in a community health setting. Speech pathologists often work in interdisciplinary settings, working closely with practitioners such as audiologists, rehabilitation counsellors, teachers, psychologists, doctors, occupational therapists and physiotherapists to deliver holistic care to clients. The experience you’ll gain working with children and with people who have experienced physical trauma or who live with
The experience you’ll gain working with children and with people who have experienced physical trauma or who live with a disability may also qualify you to pursue employment in a range of other roles, including seeking work as a:
You’ll enjoy studying speech pathology if you:
- Love helping people
- Can pay attention to details
- Have good organisational and time management skills
- Can communicate well
- Are empathetic
- Work well with others
- Can work independently
- Can exercise judgment and solve problems
Employment opportunities in speech pathology have been growing steadily over the past decade, and the Australian Government’s Job Outlook predicts this trend will continue until at least 2020. While the profession is considered small, with just fewer than 10,000 people in Australia employed as speech pathologists, Job Outlook considers it a secure profession, with unemployment rates lower than the national average.
Due to the nature and demand of the industry, many speech pathologists work in part-time and contracts roles. Job Outlook reports approximately one third of employed speech pathologists aren’t working full-time.
PayScale reports that speech pathologists may earn between $48,000 and $82,000 per year, depending on the nature of their role and the type of employment. An entry-level speech pathologist with less than five years’ experience can expect to earn up to $60,000 per year, with salary growing in line with years worked. PayScale reports experience is the single greatest factor affecting a speech pathologist’s earning capacity, with salaries spiking after speech pathologists have been working for 10 or more years.
- Speech Pathology Australia