Consider a Career as a Speech-Language Pathologist
What is Speech-Language Pathology?
Speech-language pathologists (S-LPs) are health care professionals involved with the assessment and treatment of disorders related to language, speech, and hearing. Moreover, they have a pivotal and active role in cognitive communication, voice, swallowing, and fluency. They may also be referred to as speech therapists.
Education and training
S-LPs are university-trained, regulated health professionals who may be required to register with a provincial college in order to practice. The National Occupational Classification resource states that registration with a regulatory body is required for speech-language pathologists in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, and New Brunswick (links to Canadian licensing bodies and current regulations can be found here).
According to the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA), the following universities offer graduate programs in speech-language pathology: University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, University of Western Ontario, University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, Université de Montréal, Université Laval, McGill University, and Dalhousie University. Three of these programs are delivered in French.
S-LP students? course load requirements include graduate level courses in anatomy, hearing disorders, hearing aids, language development, neurology, phonetics, speech disorders, research methods, and voice disorders.
Furthermore, they must complete clinical rotations in order to meet the provincial and CASLPA certification requirements. All Canadian university programs meet these requirements. Those students who receive their training internationally must ensure that they meet these requirements if they plan to practice in Canada.
Admission information and requirements
Students are required to have completed an undergraduate degree prior to entry into a graduate program in S-LP. Prerequisite courses in psychology, linguistics, biology, health sciences, and social sciences are required. Applicants are advised to contact their school of choice directly.
The University of Alberta offers a Master of Science degree in speech-language pathology with two options: a thesis or course-based stream.
Where speech-language pathologists work
An S-LP may work as part of a multidisciplinary team or in private practice. Therapists work with a variety of health problems and diagnoses, such as hearing loss, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, genetic disorders, and learning disabilities.
With additional training and education, an S-LP can specialize and work with people that suffer from a particular disorder (i.e., preschool children with learning issues).
S-LPs are also active and frequent contributors to different areas of rehabilitation research. In universities and research facilities, they conduct research on speech and other communication disorders and on the implementation, design, and use of communication devices.
In hospital and rehabilitation settings, S-LPs work within an interdisciplinary team that includes physicians, nurses, occupational and physical therapists, dieticians, clinical psychologists, and social workers. In schools, they collaborate with teachers and other education staff members.
According to CASLPA, an S-LP’s yearly salary is just over $59,000. Below is a breakdown of yearly salaries across the country (Table 1).
Table 1. Mean yearly salary of Speech-Language Pathologists across Canada (2005).
Source: Adapted from CASLPA, 2005.
In Alberta, S-LPs working part-time or full-time earned from $57,300 to $90,900 a year in 2007. The mean salary was $74,700 per year. It is predicted that job growth remains strong across Canada for speech-language pathologists.
For more information regarding a career in speech-language pathology, please visit the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists? website.