Interview with a Speech Pathologist

in Careers in Medicine, Indoor Jobs, Jobs where you get Hourly Pay

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What do you do for a living?

I’m a speech pathologist.

How would you describe what you do?

I primarily work with the geriatric population helping people

I enjoy just talking with the patients. I love the elderly…I love hearing and laughing at their stories, that’s the best part.

had strokes, swallowing difficulties, or who have cognition impairments.

What does your work entail?

I usually work from 7 to 3. I work in a nursing home. I usually see anywhere from 7 to 10 patients a day. I see most of my patients in the morning, see some at meals. There’s lots of paperwork involved and lots of notes…that’s about it. It’s between 36 to 40 hours per week.

What do you like about what you do?

I enjoy just talking with the patients, I guess. I love the elderly so that helps out. I love hearing and laughing at their stories, that’s the best part.

What do you dislike?

The monotony. Everyday you kind of doing the same things, a lot of these patients have cognitive impairments, they don’t have any short term memory so every day is like Groundhog Day pretty much.

How do you make money/or how are you compensated?

I get paid on an hourly rate. I contract for various nursing homes but the nursing home doesn’t actually pay me. They pay my rehab company who pays me.

How much money do you make as a speech pathologist?

Probably around 60 to 70 thousand in a year.

What education or skills are needed to be a speech pathologist?

Generally you need about 4 years of undergrad plus two years of a grad school to get your Masters¦I don’t know about skills, you pretty much develop them all in college if there is such a skill.

What is most challenging about what you do?

I think Speech pathology is really diverse, there’s just a lot of areas to treat so it’s hard to be specialized. You need to be

Everyday you’re kind of doing the same things, a lot of these patients have cognitive impairments, they don’t have any short term memory so every day is like Groundhog Day pretty much.

and that’s why I’ve chosen the adult population but there’s just so many types of disorders and treatment, I almost feel like they should limit it more.

What is most rewarding?

The most rewarding part I think would be working with stroke patients and seeing a lot of them recover. Those who weren’t able to swallow at all or were on feeding tubes or those who couldn’t speak at all because of the stroke, it’s really rewarding when they are able to get some of those capabilities back.

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

I would tell them to specialize at the beginning you know, to choose either adults or children. I know it is kind of hard to do that but if they could specialize I think it would make it easier for them in the long run. Just make sure that you are working with the right population, be it adults or children, and realize that there is going to be a little bit of monotony. There is probably more monotony with adults but either way¦try to be as creative as possible to make each day a little bit more¦livable.

How much time off do you get/take?

I get 6 paid holidays. My job is pretty flexible though if I want to work on Sunday for a Friday or a Saturday and take off one day during the week I can.

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

People assume that Speech Pathologist only work with people who either stutter or have articulate problems and those are just sprinkles on the cake compared to what we really do.

Is there anything else you’d like people to know about what you do? No (laughs) I don’t think so, unless you need to ask me some more questions.

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{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzie Matteis July 26, 2014 at 12:58 pm

I have a M.S. in Speech Language Pathology, and have been a Speech Language Pathology Assistant for 8 years.
Due to complications during my graduate program, I was unable to finish my clinical hours. I have 100 hours accumulated, and believe 350 is required.

I am talking to a travel agency that wants to place me in a school setting as a CF.
I have worked primarily with schools and pediatrics.

Please tell me if this is possible, and what I am required to do.
My grad school was not very cooperative during my years there, and not flexible to let me return to finish my clinicals.
My mother was dying during that semester, and it was impossible to finish my clinicals.
I finished all my classes, and passed the comps. Thus, I was granted a Master’s.

Please advise, and I need to know as soon as possible.

Thanks!
Suzie Matteis, MS, SLPA

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jacklyn July 29, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Suzie,
I’m confused…you graduated but you do not have your license correct? Did you take the Praxis? I feel like this is an issue that you will have to resolve with your university, since each university has different guidelines. I’m sorry, I don’t know that I’ll be much help. What university did you attend? And did you take the Praxis?? Thanks,

Jacklyn

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Loni June 20, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Hello, first I wanted to thank you for sharing your experience and being so generous and kind to respond to everyone with SLP questions. Reading this has been very informative and helpful (and stress-reducing!).

Last year I applied for a bilingual SLP graduate program and unfortunately was not accepted. My question is what I can do to make myself a stronger candidate and improve my chances of getting in when I reapply.

I don’t have any direct experience in the field, however I graduated from a competitive university in 2006 with a major in psychology and an average GPA. So, I have been out of the world of academia for quite some time. I then moved to Spain where I taught English as a second language for the past 7 years. Upon moving back to the states, I have worked with tutoring refugee youth and underprivileged kids in an after school program.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Lipsia June 9, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Thanks so much for this!

I currently work in politics and have done so since I graduated from college (2009). I do not feel passionate about it anymore and I feel drained and discouraged.

I took a leap of faith and applied to a school for students with special needs and got the job. It is a well known school in the DC area and it would boost my graduate application for Speech Pathology.

This is such a different career field and to be honest I am a bit scared. I want to make sure that this is what I want. As I read through the class load and the type of classes in the program, fear seeps in. I’m not sure what my question even is, but any words of advice or encouragement would help.

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Jacklyn June 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Lipsia,

I can imagine the fear you are currently experiencing. You are not alone. I guarantee you that everyone feels nervous/anxious/under-prepared/unsure….among other things! Or maybe it was just me :) Don’t let the initial fear hold you back. It WILL be scary at first…as with ANY job/schooling. It will greatly help if you are able stay focused and organized. I managed to work as a graduate assistant and also a waitress. Sooo, it can be done. You WILL be tired and stressed at times BUT it will pass!!! As far as coursework is concerned, some classes were obviously harder and more demanding than others. I seriously just took it week by week. Don’t look too far into the future and get bogged down. Find some good study partners…you will rely on them not only in school but in the work field as well. And it doesn’t hurt to get in good with the teachers!! We had relatively small classes of about 20-25 so that helped. Give yourself some time with your new job and make sure that you truly want to be in a helping profession. AND if you do…go for it!!!! Good luck! Keep me posted!!

Jacklyn

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mary February 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Hi! My nephew is about to start his freshman year in college in September 2014. He wants to be a speech pathologist. He has a speech disorder, stuttering, which he works on actively, but I don’t believe he will ever have normal speech. Is it possible for someone with a disorder to be a speech pathologist? I don’t want him to get discouraged or led down the wrong path. Thanks.

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jacklyn March 5, 2014 at 11:58 am

Mary,
How severe is his stuttering disorder? Does he currently see a Speech Therapist? If so I would have him ask for his/her input. If his stuttering is severe I do think that it would be difficult for him to teach others how to communicate effectively. However, I did have a professor in college that stuttered….it wasn’t severe but it was noticeable. So, my question to you is….does he currently receive speech therapy??

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Brittany Burnam January 12, 2014 at 12:47 am

Hi,
I recently changed my major from Social Work to Speech Pathology at my university.
I am now required to take a minor with this major I have two years left or maybe more depending on what I minor in. I still have 2 more science classes I have to take this semester, 2 language (spanish) most likely, and the rest my major and minor class. My current gpa is a 3.2 Overall GPA 3.3, my first year here in I made a 2.3 in two semesters I raised it to a 3.2 my advisor was happy about this. She said if I work hard I can get my overall GPA to a 3.7. I asked her about minors, she told me I could take REHAB, COUN, SPAN, BEHAVAN.. Well out of these I like Counseling, Spanish and Behavior ana. But spanish is 21 hours, 24 to get my certificate in professional spanish, which could hold me back, I’m already held back a year.. She also recommended that I could take something I enjoy like dance, music like some of her other students. So my pick would be Women Studies, she wants me to be motivated to finish with strong grades and not a heavy overload of work that may bring my grades down. So what do you think? Wil minoring in something I enjoy make me look bad or as If I didn’t care. Can it make me stand out. Or should I use this as time to do something useful I guess.

Women studies also allows me to take a psychology class on the aging population and I already took one class so I could take the Counseling class on play therapy.

My boyfriend wants me to take this minor so I can enjoy my last years and not struggle making good grades in this major as I heard it’s already hard enough.

So any advice, I do like the idea of Spanish since I live in the south of Texas, but I heard that many grad schools have bilingual programs but I don’t speak spanish so I don’t know if I’ll be accepted.

Any advice from anyone at all I’m confused and any tips for me ..
I have alot of volunteer hours from Salvation Army, a soup kitchen, I’m a youth marketing director for a youth community center, also a juvenile justice chair for my school’s NAACP anything else I can do to stand out

Thank you for the help

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Jacklyn January 13, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Brittany,
I did not have to have a minor when I got accepted into the program so I’m not really sure… my best advice would be to call the Director of the Speech Pathology program and ask if they strongly encourage a specific minor. You might also want to ask if they have any other criteria that will increase your chance of getting into the program. I would be interested to learn how much emphasis they put on extracurricular activities and volunteering. This will direct your decision more appropriately. I definitely think you need to raise your GPA to be more competitive (the higher the better). But I do understand the stress and hours involved. I personally think that any of the minors you mentioned would be perfect. So give the director a call and try to meet with him/her…that would be a great start!! Good luck!!
Jacklyn

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Divya December 9, 2013 at 2:56 am

Hi Jacklyn,

I’ve done my Bachelors in Speech language Pathology and Audiology. Rather than doing my masters in communication disorders or speech pathology, i want to do a specialization course preferably for the adult population. I’d like to know what could i take up and what would you recommend.
Thanks!

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jacklyn January 2, 2014 at 9:29 am

Divya,

Sorry for the delayed response!! Question…what type of degree will you achieve? If you do not receive your Master’s degree I am under the impression that you would be considered a Speech Aide. Regardless, I think your specialization will totally depend on your preference. I do think that anything with the aging population (dementia/neuro) would be very fulfilling and interesting. Given that the geriatric/adult population is always growing, I’m sure you would have plenty of job opportunities. Please give me some more information regarding your schooling and I’ll try to be of more help! Sorry!!
Jacklyn

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Emily July 27, 2013 at 1:15 am

Hello,

I’m about to finish with my undergraduate with a Communication Science and Disorders B.S. with a minor in Psychology. My GPA isn’t very good and I am terrified of not getting into graduate school. What other routes, for safety, do you recommend I do in case I don’t get in. Also, should a low GPA discourage me from applying? I’ve been reading online and everyone is basically discouraging me from even applying to a graduate program. I attend college at University of Central Florida.

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Emily July 27, 2013 at 1:19 am

I think I asked this question before, sorry!

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jacklyn January 2, 2014 at 9:32 am

Emily,

I’m sooo sorry I am just now seeing this email!! I hope things have turned out well for you!! Did you ever apply?? I would highly recommend that you do so if not. What’s the worst case scenario…you don’t get in? Let me know what your current status is before I make further recommendations. Thanks,
Jacklyn

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Bonnie May 24, 2013 at 1:36 am

Hi Jacklyn,

I am currently in a post-bacc program and I have my bachelor’s in health science. I went to highly ranked undergrad school but didn’t do as well. I am a terrible test-taker, which is primarily the reason to my low grades- i overthink what the questions ask- so my GPA is less than stellar. My GRE is borderline passable and I’ve taken it twice, with both times getting the same score, again attributed to my terrible test taking. I have experience in research and rehab services and I am currently getting observation hours. I’ve been doing well in my post-bacc classes and I’m trying to develop relationships with my professors. I’m worried that I won’t be able to get into any graduate program because I don’t have a great GPA or not as competitive GRE. Insights?

Thank you!

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jacklyn June 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Bonnie-

Ok…I understand your concern and anxiousness. Have you tried talking to your clinic director or program supervisor? I would do that first and explain to them your predicament and your strong desire to get into graduate school and become a therapist. He or she might be able to give you some pointers or least emphathize with you. I know the GRE is a nightmare and reflects nothing of your potential to be a therapist at all. Our school offered GRE study programs and that might help you somewhat. As for applying for graduate school…apply everywhere!! You could always consider going out of school if necessary. BUT first talk to your supervisor about their program. You might have a better chance than you think!! I hope this help!! Good luck!!

Jacklyn

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Cristina April 30, 2013 at 12:42 am

Hi Jacklyn,

I hope this message finds you well. I will soon complete my CFY and will begin working at skilled nursing facility in another month or so. I’m transitioning from working with peds and have always had my mind set with working with the adult population. During this transition, I’ve observed other SLPs in SNFs and am planning to take many CEU courses.

I was wondering if you could give an example of what at typical evaluation might look like for you. Would this depend upon the physician’s referral? If the physician only refers for a swallowing assessment – should we still conduct a complete language/cog assessment as well? I’ve heard that assessment protocols will vary from SNF, but what are your opinions in regards to administering BDAE (short form), MASA, etc. I know the facilities I will be working at also has the SCATBI (but perhaps I could just choose appropriate subtests for time’s sake?).

I’ve also done some research and was also wondering your opinions regarding the McNeill Dysphagia Therapy Program (MDTP) or BRS-S?

I would really appreciate your input – I’ve very excited to start working with adults and loved reading your comments to other individuals.

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jacklyn May 6, 2013 at 9:30 am

Cristina–
Congrats on your soon so be CFY completion!! How exciting!! Ok, It’s been a very long time since I have worked in the SNF so my thoughts are a little rusty. So…I just spoke with one of my co-workers who worked in the SNF more recently than myself to help!!
As for the evaluation, it totally depends on the physician’s order. If the evaluation is for dysphagia only, then you do not have to give a full blown language/cognitive assessment. Though it might be good to know their cognitive status if you are doing education training or diet modifications. The same goes for the Cog/Langauge testing. I regularly gave the RIPA-G; however, it largely depends on what your nursing home has available. My co-worker said that she gave the SCATBI and the BDAE regularly, as well as a test for dementia (forgot the name). Neither of us has heard of the McNeil program (but we are a little older).
Time is a huge factor in the nursing home due to productivity. You might want to do short form assessments at times; however, you will get the feel of it as time goes on. It took me a while to feel comfortable and manage my time with patients/evaluations.
I’m sorry I’m not very much help. I would advise you to go to as many CEU courses as possible and try to connect with other SLPs in the SNF. My company had several SLPs through the same rehab company to connect with and help eachother. Good luck! Feel free to ask more questions!!
Jacklyn

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Cristina May 11, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Thank you for the feedback and words of inspiration! I’m definitely a little nervous for this shift, but very very excited at the same time! It’s nice to know that every eval that comes in does not always have to be a full cog/lang/speech/dysphagia order – I’d be buried under paperwork before the week was over! lol. I just talked to a wonderful SLP who I may be able to connect with in terms of SNF work *crosses fingers* Thank you again for the wonderful feedback!

- Cristina

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Vera April 26, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Hello Jacklyn,

Reading this forum has been a great resource for me. Im eighteen years old and in September I will be a freshman in college, I chose my major to be Communication Science and Disorders, since I want to pursue a career as a SLP. I know its a bit early and Im thinking way ahead but I just want to make sure Im on the right track and not wasting time.1) Is communication science and disorders a good major for becoming a SLP, because my university doesnt offer a bachelors in speech pathology? 2) Is there anything I can do at this age that can help me prepare for what I am going to study in college and the SLP field? 3) Im considering to minor in Spanish do you think thats a good idea or is it going to be too challenging for me since CSD is not an easy major to begin with?

And I know its a bit too early for all this, but I just want to know everything about the road to becoming a good speech pathologist haha

Thank you,
Vera

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jacklyn April 30, 2013 at 8:26 am

Vera,
Sounds like you are heading in the right direction!! I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Science and Education. And then I received my Master’s degree in Communication Disorders. I’m not sure that schools offer Speech Pathology degrees…at least my school did not. So don’t let that deter you. My advice to you would be to get a good grade point in your undergraduate program. You will be taking a lot of core classes/education classes. Try to maintain a high grade point, as it will be helpful when trying to get into the Speech Path program. Spanish is a GREAT idea!! I have a high percentage of clients who are Spanish speaking. Thankfully most of our parents are bilingual and we have a bilingual SLP….because I do not know any Spanish. That would be a great thing to put on resumes!! And it could give you some leverage with your salary requests!! Not sure how hard it would be to do both CSD and SLP at the same time. Once again, I’m sure it depends on your time management skills. But I do think it would be a great idea!!! Hope this helps!!

Jacklyn

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Michelle April 11, 2013 at 7:45 am

Hello Jacklyn,

I’m in the speech-therapy program right now and I’m wondering what externships are like in regards to taking time off. I’m wondering if they allow for sick time, if you have a wedding planned, etc. My fiance and I are trying to figure out a good date, but being in school it’s really hard. We’re thinking of a date, but it’s during my second externship. If speak to my supervisor and let them know ahead of time would they be alright with it or should I just pick another date? I know one of my professors said a while back that one of her students had to take 3 days off from her externship due to religious reasons and all she had to do was make up the time. It sounds to me that it wouldn’t really be a problem, but I know every supervisor is different. What was your experience during your externships and would your supervisors allow for time off? Thank you.

Sincerely,

Michelle

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jacklyn April 11, 2013 at 9:54 am

Michelle,
I”m thinking that if your supervisory let them know ahead of time it should be fine. I wouldn’t think you would need to make up the hours unless you actually needed them to graduate (meaning you need a certain amount of hours in a certain area…adult/child/language/evals and such). I don’t think it would be that big of a deal and you could always make up the hours on the weekend at certain facilities. I don’t remember getting any sick days but I do recall having to call in sick a couple of times and it wasn’t a big deal. I would just have your supervisor ok with the facility first before you make any big plans :) Congrats on your engagement!! Hope this helps!!

Jacklyn

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Jacklyn April 7, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Emily,
I’m not sure what the average GPA is these days….but I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of your GPA and the GRE score. I would strongly suggest talking to the speech clinical advisor. Back in the day my supervisor suggested I take the GRE once more to increase my score and the chance to get into grad school. It worked!! I’m not sure about other master’s degree programs. I would assume there are a lot of crossover with social work and any counseling or education programs. I would almost guarantee you would have to take some extra classes. So first you need to talk to the person in charge of the speech path dept about both your GPA and other career choices (worst case scenario)!!! Good luck!! Keep your chin up and keep me posted!!
Jacklyn

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Emily April 4, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Hello,

I was wondering if you knew the average GPA to get into Grad School. I don’t know if I have the highest GPA and I was wondering if I don’t if there is another track I can take before I pursue Grad School. Like possibly getting a Master’s in something else?

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Nancy April 1, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Hi jacklyn,

I’m finishing up my masters in speech pathology in may (so soon, ahh!) and I’ve been sending out my résumé to everyone/every school for my cfy but I’m not hearing anything about open positions. I want to work with kids and would want to work in a school or maybe provide services for young children with disabilities through early intervention or pre school (I am from NY). I’ve come across a lot of staffing companies and I’m wondering if you had any experience with working with a recruiter and the pros/cons of contracting with them. I’ve been told to stay away from staffing companies as a new clinician because of the lack of supervision and input from other therapists,teachers, etc. Is this true? Thanks in advance for your help!

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jacklyn April 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Nancy–
OK OK I remember the feeling!! But calm down….you WILL get a job and you have plenty of time. Most of my friends starting working in June or July. As for your resume…did you send it in the mail/fax it to the companies??? If so I highly encourage you to start dropping off your resume to every company and talking to someone. Don’t lose that personal touch, as it’s very important. I would also try calling places to see if they are indeed hiring and if so make an appointment to talk to their HR manager (to give your resume and meet them personally). I do not nor do any of my friends have any experience with a recruiter other than my travel job. I would hold off on that for now because I guarantee you that you will not need one!! Look online at absolutelyhealthcare.com and look in the ASHA leader and the newspaper for job postings. As for the lack of supervision, I think it just depends on the supervisor. I had a poor supervisor and it was through a nurisng home…so it can happen with or without a recruiter. It’s a scary thing coming into the work place without a lot of supervision so make sure you pick someone (or get placed with someone) that you really respect and trust! Good luck and enjoy your last few months of freedom!! :) I assure you, you will find a job and you are already ahead of the game!!!!

Jacklyn

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Naomi March 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Hi Jacklyn,

Reading this forum has been such a wonderful resource for me. I’m eager to pursue a speech-language pathology career; however, having graduated in 2012 with my BA in English and Creative Writing, I am also burdened with student debt. I was accepted into a post-baccalaureate program, and would be able to officially enroll this coming fall. The problem is that I was not offered any scholarships, I would have to pay out-of-state tuition, and I’m concerned because obtaining my post-bac degree does not guarantee acceptance into the MA/MS program. I was curious if you have any advice or suggestions in post-bac funding? I cannot seem to find any specific post-bac scholarships in speech-language pathology…only first-time undergrads or grad students qualify for what I’ve come across so far. I would greatly appreciate any feedback!

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jacklyn March 25, 2013 at 11:55 am

Naomi,
I really have no clue. Have you looked into any grants available?? I would recommend asking both your academic advisor and the admissions advisor for the speech path. program. I do remember a lot of available scholarships and grants available but I can’t remember which department was in charge. I’m thinking it was something within the education department (but it’s been several years). I’m sorry I’m not much help here. Definitely talk to your advisor and any enrollment/academic supervisor within the speech department first!! Good luck!!

Jacklyn

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Elaine March 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Hi Jacklyn,

I have a Bachelors degree in business and i want to start take the pre-reqs for speech pathology. I am a single parent and I work full time. I would have to go into a part time program, and i’m nervous about working and having enough time/energy to get all of my school work done and also spend time with my son. Any advice?

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jacklyn March 11, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Elaine,

Sounds like you have a lot on your plate!! Whew!! Well since you are a single parent and work full time you know all about time management!! So my advice to you would be this…you can totally do it but you are going to need to be dedicated and increase your time management skills!! It really depends on how well you can manage your time. School is pretty intense as well as clinicals. I was able to manage a night job waitressing, a clinic job, school and clinicals. I managed my time to the hour and was able to do it! I know having a child is realllllly hard but if you have a good support system (friends/family) and work ethic, I think you can do it! Talk to the your speech advisor before you commit to the program to look at scheduling and classes! Good Luck!

Jacklyn

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Emily March 5, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Hi,
I’m interested in working in the hard of hearing and Deaf community. I am proficient in sign language. I was wondering if that is a popular field and if you are familiar working with clients such as these. If you have can you tell me how you liked it?

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Jacklyn March 5, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Emily,
I’m sorry to say but I don’t have any firsthand knowledge for you. However, I think that you would be a valuable asset in a school for the deaf and the blind and/or in a Children’s hospital (to name a couple). The only experience I had with sign language was in class (mainly), though I do incorporate sign into therapy when appropriate. I would advise you to seek out a deaf/blind school in your area for further insight. I know we have a great one in Arkansas! Good luck!!!

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Preeti March 1, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Hi Jacklyn!

First off, thank you so much for taking time out to answer everyone’s questions! It is very helpful :)

For a little background, I graduated last year from the University of Michigan with a neuroscience degree and took a year off to take the GRE and decide exactly what I want to do in life! I just have a couple questions:

1) Will a neuroscience degree be helpful in grad school for becoming an SLP? I know a lot of people going into the master’s programs usually have a communications or linguistics degree. I don’t mind taking the extra prereqs, just curious :)

2) One thing that concerns me about becoming an SLP is actually finding a place to do my CFY. Was it hard for you to find a SLP to work for? For several reasons it’s important to me to stay in Michigan and I’m scared that I won’t be able to do my CFY here. Are they hard to come across?

Thanks again for all your help :)

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jacklyn March 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Pretti-

I’m really not sure about the neuroscience degree. I do think that it’s a great background to have. You will more than likely have to take a few prereqs though. As far as my CFY was concerned I did not have any problem finding a site nor did any of my friends. I worked in a nursing home and one of the SLPs from another nursing home (same rehab company) was my CFY supervisor. There are a lot of outpatient clinics/state run daycares that have multiple therapists who could supervise you. Another friend worked in the hosptial and there were two other SLPs that could supervise her. You will be just fine. And it’s a couple years away, so just take it one day at a time! For now you will want to get a good feel for therapy in graduate school so you can decide where you would even want to work and do your CFY! Good luck!
Jacklyn

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Emily January 30, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Hi,

I am an undergraduate and about to apply for grad school. I am in the process of getting recommendations and writing my letter of intent. Do you have any tips that would be good to mention in my letter of intent and perhaps any information/help that I should be looking into when it comes to getting recommendations?

Thank you,
Emily

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jacklyn January 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Emily–

Congrats on making it through undergrad!! As far as your recommendation letter is concerned, you want to ask any professors that you have a good relationship with…or any other supervisors who can back up your work ethic and personality. I would choose professors that would make positive remarks (as if that doesn’t go without saying)!! For your letter of intent I would make any of the following known: your organizational skills and leadership qualities (which is a must in grad school), your interest in speech path and why. I think making it personal is a nice approach. Other things that might help you could be your time management skills (ie–I worked and went to school and did clinicals) which is crucial in grad school. Be aware that speech is an ever evolving career. There is always new research being presented and new information being learned. Your awareness and interest in that is a must to handle the variety of clients you will see in both grad school and the real world. Good luck!! I hope this helps you!!

Jacklyn

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Marissa January 25, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Hi Jacklyn, i am soon to be a freshman in college and i am highly considering the SLP field. I know i am thinking way ahead in my life, but i dont like to waste time :) sounds ridiclious, i know…. I have tossed and turned with a varity of careers in my head and the only constant variable is that i want to help people; however, i want a career that i can make a decent living in, a living that is comfortable. I also want a career that is interesting and fun. I understand that every career has it’s “off days”, but i am a fun-loving person who loves people..does that make me a good match for this job? Also, i want to be a good, devoted wife and mother some day and if i am blessed enough to have that i would like to work maybe three days a week or whatever part-time implies..Again, i know i am thinking way too far ahead, but i value family and friends more than anything and do not believe i would be happy with a career where i wouldnt be able to come home and be devoted to my family. how much work do you take home? even with my studies in high school i loathe the idea of homework and will saty at school to do it just so i will not have to bother with it at home. Im so sorry for the long message, but would appreciate any input. Thank you very much

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jacklyn January 28, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Marissa,
I think that a career in speech pathology would be a great choice for you!! Depending on your work setting there are a lot of benefits including flexibility and pay. There are many clinics that seek part time help or work only four days a week. Myself, I work M-TH and am off on Fridays. It’s been a very wonderful schedule for me and my co-workers (as most of us are moms). As I mentioned in my previous reply, I rarely have to take work home. I prefer to stay at the office and complete any paperwork on my breaks/lunch. I hope this helps!! Good luck in school!
Jacklyn

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Maria January 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Hello Jacklyn,

I wanted to ask you a few questions about the work load of a speech pathologist. I have a a Bachelor’s in English and Spanish. I taught elementary school for two years. I realized through this experience that working with children was fun, but I didn’t particularly care for the amount of work that needed to be done at home after school (grading papers, preparing lesson plans, etc). I became interested in speech pathology as a way to still be able to teach and work with children, but without all the extra work and costs that teachers have to make.

I was wondering if you have to take any work home after you are finished for the day? I am very interested in working with the schools as it will hopefully have the same schedule as my own kids, and I would love to leave my work at work once I am home so I can spend time with my family. Is this possible for a speech pathologist?

Thank you for your time!

Sincerely,

Maria

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Jacklyn January 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Maria,
I think the amount of work that I have had to take home depends on the setting and my experience. While I worked in the nursing home I took a lot of stress home and little paperwork. I was very stressed about my caseload and meeting quota!!! I had a bit of paperwork but I got it done at work. And like all jobs, the more you do something the faster and easier it becomes. I only did a clinical in school so I’m not sure how much paperwork is really involved. I remember my supervisor telling me that there were certain times of the year when her paperwork got busy, but she was used to it and very efficient. Currently, I do have any paperwork to take home. Occasionally I have to stay at work and write evaluations but it doesn’t take that long. It truly does become easier the longer you work and obtain experience. We don’t have to plan ahead with lesson plans. I know the patient and their goals and can go from there. So to answer your question…no I don’t personally take any work home that often! Ha!! Sorry for the lengthy response! Hope it helps!!
Jacklyn

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Michelle January 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Hi Jacklyn,

Thanks for responding back. Yes, that amount definitely seems right for CFY. I did speak to on of my professors and they said that once you are done with your CFY the pay goes up drastically. She said that she doesn’t know any speech therapist who is making $23-24 an hour. I am fine with that amount for CFY, but definitely not once I am an ASHA certified SLP. I feel a lot better knowing that my hard work will pay off once my schooling is all done. I thank you again for your time.

Sincerely,

Michelle

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Michelle January 15, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Hello Jacklyn,

Right now I am in my graduate program for Speech-Language Pathology and so far I absolutely love it. I would like to specialize in neurogenic communication disorders. I am planning on working in a rehab once I graduate. My dad is a CPR instructor for one of our local rehab facilities and he asked the women who works in the HR department how much a speech therapist makes. The women responded with $23-24 an hour. He also verified that this amount is after clinical fellowships and she said yes. To me this is a little low, since the average salary for a speech therapist is in the $30 an hour range and I know there are speech therapists that make a lot more. Does this $23-24 after fellowships seem right to you? If it is, is there a better facility (i.e. home health settings, hospitals) that will pay more than $23-24 an hour after fellowships? I am now a little worried, because I will be coming out of school with approx. $60,000 in dept. I thank you for your time and your help.

Michelle

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jacklyn January 16, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Michelle,

Sadly, I think they are right. My close friend worked in the hospital/outpatient setting for her CFY while I worked in the nursing home. She made around 23 an hour and I made around 26 an hour at the time. She was able to maintain 40 hours a week (since she was salary), while my caseload fluctuated a lot (since I was paid hourly). And when your caseload is low…you usually get sent home…with no pay!! Keep in mind that you do get alot more vacation/bonuses/health benefits. If your goal is to make more money then you might want to look into some outpatient clinics which can pay anywhere from 30-60/hour (depending on if you are contract or not). I made around 38 an hour in my first outpatient clinic for children. BUT you usually don’t get benefits/PTO and you are paid by the patient…not salary. I worked around 20-25 hours a week there and did PRN at a nursing home as well. SOOOO you have to compare the all of the setting and benefits. It’s very overwhelming and confusing at times. Let me know what you think and if this help you!!

Jacklyn

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Teaonna January 15, 2013 at 10:00 am

Thank you so much for your help!! I will definitely keep you posted!!

- Teaonna

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jacklyn January 9, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Teaonna,

There are also grad programs at ASU in Jonesboro and the U of A in Fayetteville. I think that’s all in AR but you need to check with your program coordinator. Ok, IFFFF you do not get in to graduate school you can be a speech aide/assistant. This entails a pay decrease and some restrictions (ie- you cannot do testing and you have to be supervised and job opportunities might be limited). BUT it can be done!! As for other factors that increase your chances of getting into grad school….I think that the GRE score, GPA, and reference letters are the biggest factors that you want to consider. I would apply to all schools in AR and study hard for the GRE. I had to take the GRE twice, so don’t be discouraged if you have to take it more than once to increase your scores. Try to get your GPA as high as possible and be a good student (ie- you want the teachers to know that you are a serious student/hard worker). I hope this helps you!! Good luck and keep me posted!!

Jacklyn

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Teaonna January 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Oh, I was not finished with my last post…

Just wanted to say thank you in advance for any advice and help you can give. It is greatly appreciated!!

Teaonna

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Teaonna January 4, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Hello Jacklyn:

I am currently in my second semester of undergrad at UALR’s SLP Program. My main concern is the competition of getting accepted into graduate school. I really desire to be a SLP but it is very intense. I managed to get 3 B’s and 1 A which made me have a 3.25 GPA. My questions are 1.) Are there other graduate schools in Arkansas besides UCA and UALR? I really do NOT want to have to go out of state to attend grad school; 2.) Can you do anything with just a BA in SLP? and 3.) Do you know or have you heard of any other factors that are considered in determining candidacy for grad school?

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Lauren December 6, 2012 at 9:02 am

Hi,

It has been really good to hear your views- I am an MSc Speech and Language Therapy student in the UK. I am especially interested in whether the males amongst you decided to persue your dreams to train as an SLP? I am currently doing my dissertation research on why Speech Therapy is such a female dominated career and how it can be changed so would love to hear opinions from anyone that is interested!

Thanks,
Lauren

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Emily November 8, 2012 at 9:27 am

That a helps a bunch! Gonna go tour and find out! Thanks so very much

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Morgan November 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Hi Jacklyn,

I’m finishing my undergraduate degree in SLP this December and thinking about working as an assistant for a while before starting graduate school. I was not able to obtain all of my observation hours while getting my degree and was wondering if you knew whether or not there are jobs that allow you to finish your observation hours as well as obtaining your hours of clinical practice while working for them, or is this somthing that needs to be done before you can apply to be an assistant? Or is this just a rule that is applied in Texas?

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jacklyn November 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Morgan–

I’m not very familiar with SLP assistant requirements. I would definitely check with your program coordinator. I would imagine that you would have to finish your observation hours prior to working. I suggest you continue to get your hours completed and talk with your coordinator. I’m sorry I’m not much help on this area! Good luck!!

Jacklyn

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Jacklyn October 30, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Emily–
They are both great schools and I enjoyed them both a lot. Many of my friends stayed at the u of a for graduate school. I do think that the u of a offered a lot more clinical experience which I would have liked more of from uca. I do know that uca changed their program alot…for the better as far as clinical experience is concerned. Both schools were about the same in regard to teachers and homework. I chose UCA because I needed a break at the time from Fayetteville and I had heard great things about their program. I would definitely look into how each program sets up clinical hours and classes. Good luck!!

Jacklyn

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Emily October 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Hello I am just curious which college you liked better out of U of A and UCA? I am trying to narrow down between those and just looking for advice. Thanks

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AH October 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Hi Jacklyn,

Thank so much for all of your posts! I think it is very helpful that you are still checking this forum, even though it seems that the original interview was completed several years ago.

I have a few questions that haven’t been posted yet. Do you have any teaching experience? If so, how do you think the teaching profession compares to Speech? I have been teaching ESL in a Pre-College setting for 4 years and am considering making the change to Speech. I love teaching, but I don’ t think it is a great field for jobs right now. I also think I might prefer the small group and individualized setting of Speech over standing in front of a classroom. However, I am worried that I might miss the “intellectual stimulation” of teaching about language, culture, and writing. But I also love breaking down complex information, setting goals, making case plans (in a previous life I was a social worker), creatively solving problems, etc. Anyway….. I would appreciate any insight you might have when comparing these two fields. I am also aware of the “accent reduction” area of SLP which I think would be a fun niche.

Second concern – I find the grad school commitment somewhat daunting. My bachelor’s is in psych, so I would need to complete the prerequisites (it is my impression that this should take at least a year) and then complete the 2 year MS program. I could probably finish an MA in Ed in just one year! Right now I am 31 and single, but I don’t want to stay that way forever! Do you think it would be difficult to date/marry/start a family while in school? Also – Did you work while completing your masters? Some people have suggested nannying or waiting tables as being good gigs while in school. I definitely think teaching and trying to the coursework for SLP would be too much for me.

Amanda

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Jacklyn October 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Amanda–

Great questions!!! It sounds like you are already a speech therapist!! With your current skills and background you will have no problem adjusting to speech. I think teaching and speech are very similar! I personally hate the thought Of standing in front of a class and creating extensive lesson plans. Hence why I chose a smaller setting ;) . As for stimulation and culture…you are your own creator! You can incorporate sooo many intellectually stimulating materials . For instance, grammar and reading comprehension can be targeted through many creative and interesting activities. You just have to be creative ;)
Single/dating and going to college!?? You sound like I did years ago. I was able to date seriously throughout school…and I worked!!! It’s totally manageable depending on your time mgmt skills. I worked as a grad assistant my first year and also started waiting tables. I worked nights until about 9-10. It was crazy at times but a great way for me to make connections. Most of the girls in my class were either married or dating someone. And a lot of the girls had jobs or were grad assistants (which pays). All of our classes were in the morning or day, so a day job wasn’t an option. Since I was a grad assistant I was able to complete the majority of my homework and papers in school and worked at night. Ok…I feel like I’m rambling but I want you to know its all feasible!! Hope this helps you!!! Keep me posted!
Jacklyn

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John A. October 23, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Jacklyn,
I have spent a lot of time reading all of your advice and I must say, you have answered a lot of my questions. But, of course, here is another…
I am currently an Active Duty member of the Air Force and I have been thinking long and hard about a career in Speech Pathology. I retire after 20 years of service in about 4 years. This means that I will not be able to even start my Graduate program until I am 39 years old. Will this be frowned upon when applying for Grad school (and when seeking employment afterwards)? Trying to decide what to do once I take the uniform off was a very tough decision, but now that I have made it, I don’t know if it is possible. I’m willing to put in the work, but I’d hate to waste time and energy to pursue a “pipe dream.” Thanks in advance for any assistance/guidance you may be able to provide.

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Jacklyn October 24, 2012 at 11:19 am

John–

Honeslty I think it depends on where you are going to school. I think it’s completely acceptable for non-traditional students to be enrolled in graduate school. Do you have an under-graduate degree already?? If not you will need to check into several schools to determine their qualifications for graduate school. It is my understanding that you have to have an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders (or at least I did) prior to enrolling in graduate school.
As for employment after school, I think you would be a great asset to various settings especially the V.A., hospitals, rehab and outpatient clinics. What type of setting interests you at this time??

Jacklyn

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Star October 2, 2012 at 2:57 am

Hello,
I am about to apply into my undergraduate program to pursue the career of speech language pathology. My concern is my accent, English is not my first language and sometimes i feel that i have a strong accent. Do you think this is going to affect me in the long run? Thank you for your time!!! I really appreciate it.

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Jacklyn October 24, 2012 at 10:42 am

Star-
What is your first language?? If it’s Spanish then you will have a lot more freedom. So many places need bi-lingual therapists. It all depends on where you live and the population that you serve. You can always do more langauge based therapy or fluency/swallowing. Articulation might be a little difficult for you depending on how strong your accent is. It honestly depends on the setting. Hope this helps!!! So, what’s your language and setting preference??

Jacklyn

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jacklyn October 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Margo–
Ditto on all of the above!! I absolutely hated the planning and creativity!! I honestly didn’t understand how to write a goal. It just never came as naturally to me as it did for so many other students!! But there’s hope!! The real world is no where near that structured and rigid. I cannot speak for schools, but in the nursing home and rehab we did not focus on “lesson plans” and “creativeness”. Goals can seem very confusing in graduate school. Writing goals in any setting becomes easier the longer you work. Alot of the goals tend to be used for multiple patients…therefore making it easier for you!! For example I might use a goal for either following 2 part directions or stating object function for several children. I don’t write how I’m going to carry it out…that comes naturally with time/experience. I might use whole body commands and pictures or objects as a stimulus. Let me reinterate…goals become less stressful when someone isn’t gradina and criticizing you!! Your colleagues are there to help you and it makes better sense when you are able to understand evaluations and areas of need better. Hang in there!! I promise that graduate school and the real world are very different!! Feel free to ask more questions as they arise!!
Jacklyn

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Margo September 29, 2012 at 11:48 am

Hi Jacklyn,

I graduated from UALR with my BS in Speech, now I am attending a school for my masters. I am really questioning whether this is a career for me. There are 3 reasons why: I extremely dislike having to figure out goals (long and short) for a person to meet. I also dont like implementing them into sessions and having to have back up plans all th times. and what I hate the most is having to find creative ways to get this stuff done.
I know you are going really?! But I worked at a place where I did minimal speech, OT, and PT therapy with children, I loved it so I went into the field. I am now seeing children in a clinic setting where I constantly have to do the above, and I would rather go to the dentist than trying to figure and work on the above. I love screenings and I am apart of a literacy group helping school age childrens reading comprehension, but the actual one on one client thing is horrible for me.
Can you tell me honestly if what it is like in grad school as far as the planning and the activities is what it is really like in the real world?

I have 6 weeks left till I make my decision to continue with this career path or to find a new dream. I need some honest up front facts about the day to day of an SLPs job.
Thanks
Margo

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Emily July 16, 2012 at 11:05 am

Hello,

I’m a little nervous concerning getting a job for speech language pathology. I am currently about to finish my undergraduate degree in communication science and disorders at University of Central Florida If you don’t have any experience, such as being a TA how long do you estimate it would take to get a job. I am a little worried if I don’t have experience how long a clinic would accept a person with only school generated hours that make it mandatory to work at certain clinics.

Also, the GRE. Do you have any recommendations on how to get a good score on it. I am a terrible test taker!

Thank you,
Emily

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Jacklyn October 1, 2012 at 11:51 am

Emily–
Sooo sorry for the delayed response…I never received a notification!! Okay, I’m a little confused by your question. Are you currently a SLP aide?? If so, I have never worked with any aides and I would highly recommend that you continue with Grad School. I am also a terrible test taker (I took it twice). I recommend any of the study books available. I remember it being a lot of math and analogies/definitions. With that said, it’s been severeal years since I have taken the GRE!! Don’t be discouraged if you have to take it more than once!! I remember using books/study guides from any bookstore/amazon.com. Feel free to ask any more question!!

Jacklyn

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jacklyn October 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Emily-
So sorry for the delayed response…I never noticed a notification!! Okay, I’m confused about your questions. Are you currently in graduate school?? Or are you planning on becoming an aide? I highly suggest you continue onto graduate school. I honestly do not know any aides and I think it’s easier to get a job/higher pay rate with your Master’s degree. I had never worked in a clinic prior to undergrad or grad school. So, if that’s what you mean by “hours/experience” you don’t need them. You will get all the hours you need in graduate school (as a requirement to graduate). You will also have a set amount of hours to obtain during your CFY. As for the GRE….I had to take it more than once!! I hated it and I too am a terrible test taker!! I recommend the many studyguides and books available. I remember alot of logic and analogies (both of which I do not like)!!! Don’t fret if you have to take it again!! Some schools have GRE classes available to help you prior to the test. Good Luck!! Please feel free to write with more questions!!
Jacklyn

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Jacklyn April 25, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Tama-
I’m sorry but I am not familiar with any private practices in the geriatric population. When I worked in the nursing homes it was for a rehab company and we primarily saw Medicare patients. I do know that Medicaid reimbursement is better than Medicare for the most part. My experience with billing insurance companies is that the reimbursement rate is not always that great and there are a lot of restrictions. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!!

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jacklyn March 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Patrick–
I honestly have never heard of anyone working in a lab. I would assume they do alot of studies (ie–cancer, larynx studies, etc.). I would be interested to know if they do any treatment or if it’s just assessments and studies. I worked in a rehab clinic during a clinical setting. It was very fun and fast paced. As far as finding a job in a medical lab….I would ask your current professors. Sorry I couldn’t be of more assitance!!

Jacklyn

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patrick March 26, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Hey Jacklyn,
I read that SLP’s working in medical labs earned the highest salaries here in California. What is the difference between working in a laboratory vs. a rehab clinic, and how does one find a job in that setting?

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jacklyn March 26, 2012 at 11:56 am

Nadia–

It’s been 7 years since graduate school for me :) With that said, I think the program has changed….for the better!!! We were required to do both course work and several clinical hours each semester. It’s my understanding that the program that I attended has changed alot. They now break up the course work and clinical work each semester. I think that would have been much easier to handle. It was very stressful at times, but you just get through it all :) I worked as a graduate assistant during the week in the speech dept. That was a great and easy way to make money and be involved in the program/professors. It lasted for a year and then I worked nights as a waitress. I’m a very structured/organized person :) You just have to be dedicated and have good time management skills. The course work itself was difficult at times (ie–anatomy/neuro classes) but it was manageable. Be prepared to study every night/weekend. It was hard at times preparing for all of your clients in the clinic (ie–soap notes, evaluations, goals, etc.). I found it easier and more exciting when I had off site clinicals. All in all it’s a hectic two years. I didn’t know what to do with myself once I graduated because I had so much free time!! It all hinges on time management and balance!! You can definitely do it…you just need to be dedicated. Good Luck! It will be worth it in the end!!

Jacklyn

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Nadia March 25, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Hi,

I am about to graduate in a year with a bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education; I want to go to Arizona State University or University of Houston for my masters in speech pathology. I just don’t know if I am prepared to go. What was the course load and how hard or difficult was it when you were working on your Master’s?

Thank you.

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Jacklyn March 25, 2012 at 8:48 am

Patrick–
Are you talking about traveling?? If you are most travel assignments are based in 40 hr work weeks. I didn’t have any time (or really desire ;) ) to work more than that! I did a lot of prn work in various nursing homes when I worked at an outpatient clinic. My hours were more flexible then. There are lots of places (hospitals and nursing homes) that you can work on weekends and make some extra money as well. Hope this helps!!
Jacklyn

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patrick March 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Hello Jacklyn,

With such a flexible work week, would it be possible to make even more money by working for two separate companies? I ask because I live in California, and with such a high cost of living I want to make sure a career in SLP will be worth the investment. Thank you so much for the info!

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jacklyn March 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Stephanie–

Glad to hear you’re considering traveling!!! It’s an awesome opportunity. You will definitely want to check out absolutelyhealthcare.com to look at various travel assignments per state. I’m trying to remember…it’s been a few years!! I received two weekly payments. One was taxed and the other (per diem) was not. The per diem covers your food and gas. They also pay your housing, insurance (if needed), and car (if needed). The per diem is based upon the state’s allowable rate and each state is different. Some companys do not pay a per diem. You want to negotiate as best as you can. The advantage of a higher per diem rate is that you pay less taxes. Many companys also offer great sign on bonuses and completion bonuses. Your recruiter will help you during this process. You can expect anywhere between 50-75 an hour (based on 5 years ago)!! If you negotiate housing and rental car usage you can save alot!! I would definitely recommend speaking to a variety of companys since they are so different and competitive. I hope I didn’t confuse you. Please feel free to ask more questions as they arise!
Thanks,
Jacklyn

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Stephanie March 21, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Hi Jacklyn,

I’m just starting my CFY in May and plan to be done in March. After that I’m considering looking into travel therapy. I put myself through school (out of state tuition) and I hear it is a great way to see new places and earn a larger salary. My current hourly rate is $30 at a SNF with a high census. Any idea of what I can expect to earn if working as a travel SLP.

Thanks!

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Dené March 5, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Hi! Thanks for all of the great information. I’m hoping to learn more about your travel experiences as a Speech Pathologist. Did you travel from state to state or just travel around where you lived? Also, if you liked it why did you stop the traveling part. Thanks!

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jacklyn March 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Dene,
I did travel therapy for almost a year. I was lucky enough to travel to colorado and california (both of which I requested). I am from AR but I did not have any desire to travel anywhere within my home state; however, there were many opportunities to do so. I loved travel therapy and I highly encourage everyone to travel if you have the desire!! I stoppped traveling not because I didn’t like the adventure, but because I started a family (unexpected surprise :) ) I do hope to continue traveling one day. Before I began my travel assignment I had worked in the nursing home for a year and a half. That was very important!! The facilities that you will do your assignment expect you to know the ropes and you have little orientation. So I highly encourage you or anyone else to get some good experience prior to traveling!! I chose to continue working in the nursing home for my travel assignments; however, there were lots of positions available in schools and with children. Hope this helps!! Feel free to ask more questions!!

Jacklyn

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Fiona March 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Hello,
Since you’ve been so helpful Jacklyn I thought I could throw a potentially random question into the mix: have you come across any international SLPs? I’m currently doing a masters in speech sciences in the U.K. My husband is American and we are looking to move to the U.S. I know that my masters is internationally recognised. However, I’m having problems trying to find info about gaining accreditation as a foreign SLP. Do you know anyone who has done this and do you have any details about how they did it? Thanks for taking the time to read this, even if you haven’t come across anyone who fits the description.
Many thanks x
P.S. I used to work as a healthcare assistant in a nursing home and can vouch for the quality of stories that the older generation have ;)

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jacklyn March 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Fiona,
What a great question!! I do not know of any SLPs that have done international work; however, a co-worker/friend of mine is an OT and she moved from the UK two years ago!! She graduated in the US but she worked in the UK and now works in the US again :) I spoke with her and she gave me a contact for you. The woman’s name is Sheila Murray and she works with Health Connections International. She is based in Boston but works in London as well. She did not have her phone number, but you should be able to look her up through Health Connections. My friend, Sara said that she would be a HUGE help for you with all of your questions. Please let me know if you need any further help and I will try my best :) Good Luck!!

Jacklyn

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Jenn February 24, 2012 at 10:01 am

Hey Lori! I’m a Knight too! Would you be interested in answering some of my questions? I’m looking into UCF and USF (so hard for me to say as a Knight). I’m having such a tough time making a concrete decision. It would be great to talk with someone that’s been there and done it…esp ecially from UCF! Thanks.

jennb06@aol.com if you’re interested

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Lori February 24, 2012 at 10:00 am

HI! I am in a Florida Speech Pathology program and I did the previous degree thing, too. You can expect no less than 4 semesters of undergrad simply because of class sequencing, in other words, you need this class to take that clas, and that class to take the next class, so on so forth. UCF (go Knights!) offers an opportunity to begin your Masters while in your senior year of Undergrad work though. I know U of F (gators) also has a good program.
Good Luck!

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Kate Cremer February 24, 2012 at 9:50 am

Kate-
Jenn might know more about this since she is contemplating the same thing as you!! I’m pretty sure that a lot of your core credits will apply toward your undergraduate degree (mine is a bachelor of science in eduation). It will probably be a four year venture for you. Two years years in undergraduate and two years in graduate school. During graduate school you will obtain a LOT of hours in various clinical settings (adults/children, treatment/evaluation). Following graduation—YEA you will complete a 9-12 month clinical fellowship year (more of less depending on the amount of hours you work). You WILL get paid during your CFY; however, it might be at a reduced rate. You will be performing services under the supervision of a licensed SLP. I highly encourage you to get in touch with an academic advisor to ensure that your credits are able to be transfered and they should direct you more appropriately. There are endless job settings for SLPs once you graduate!! That’s what I love most about my degree. You can travel, do contract, schools, outpatient clinics, adults, hospitals, children, adults, NICU…..etc!! Good luck everyone!! I hope I have helped….if not, keep the quesitons coming

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Jenn February 24, 2012 at 9:44 am

Above, I don’t think I considered the CCC which is an additional 9 months working under another SLP but you are technically finished with your schooling.

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Jenn February 24, 2012 at 9:44 am

Jacklyn-Thanks for the detailed and very helpful information!!

Ryan-great questions, thanks.

Kate-I’m in the same boat but with a business major. From the research I started, I think you can take 32-35 credit hours of pre-reqs as a post-baccalaureate student. I’m looking for schools in Florida, I have no idea if this is standard throughout the US, but I think they are the standard courses. There are some online options as well for completing the pre-reqs before being accepted into a Master’s program. My plan looks like 1 year of pre-reqs and 2 years in the Master’s program…including all of your clinical hours (400).

•SPA 3030 Introduction to Hearing Sciences
•SPA 3112 Applied Phonetics in Communication Disorders
•SPA 3101 Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanism
•SPA 3004 Introduction to Language Development and Disorders
•SPA 3011 Introduction to Speech Science
•SPA 3310 Introduction to Disorders of Hearing
•SPA 4104 Neuroanatomy
And I believe standard science and math courses as well for an additional 12 credit hours. I would guess that you can transfer credits from your undergrad for these “basic” courses if you took them (fingers crossed!)

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Kate Cremer February 24, 2012 at 9:43 am

Hi Jacklyn,
Thank you so much for this info – I have been pondering going back to school/a job change lately, and have been thinking about speech therapy/pathology as something I would enjoy and that would also make me a better salary than I have at my current job. My main question is, what was your undergrad degree in? I have a B.A. in theatre, which obviously has no relevance. I’m wondering if I would need to start all over again and do 4 more years of undergrad and then 2 of grad school, or if I could maybe go right to grad school… or perhaps start again as undergrad but with a good deal of credits transferring. Thanks for your help!
Kate

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Jacklyn February 24, 2012 at 9:42 am

You are very welcome Ryan!! Good luck with all of your school! Hang in there!! It will be worth it!!! Stay in touch!!
Jacklyn

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Ryan January 26, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Thanks, Jacklyn! I appreciate all of the additional insight that you’ve provided me! I’ll post every now and then to let you know how my journey is going! Best wishes!

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jacklyn January 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Ryan,

I understand your concern with being a male and with race. I actually had an African American male teacher in grad school and worked with another in the hospital. So it can be done :) Kudos to you for looking into reading materials so soon….I’m not sure I did that so early on :) The best articles are from ASHA. I also enjoy ADVANCE magazine. It is free and has some pretty interesting articles as well. I would recommend that you observe a few SLPs in a variety of settings. It might help you direct your focus.

I have been a SLP for almost 7 years (including my CFY). I started out in the nursing homes making around 28/hour during my CFY. I never got 40 hours a week though. Most PRN rates are around 50, give or take. You can make anywhere from 40-85,000 depending on your setting and hours. For instance contract pay is higher but you are responsible for insurance and taxes. Not a lot of outpatient clinics have benefits, but the pay might be higher. Most clinics in NWA pay between 40-60 an hour. Depending on your caseload you can make more or less money.

Goals??? Hmmm, that’s a good one. I co-own a business now with some other therapists so I guess I have achieved one thus far. I would love to be able to do travel therapy again one day. As far as educationally, I want to expand my knowledge about oral motor/feeding and sensory. Speech can be pretty broad sometimes and it’s hard to have a firm handle on every aspect!!

Hope this helps!! Feel free to continue to ask questions as they arise!

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Ryan January 24, 2012 at 8:15 am

Hello Jacklyn and thank you for your response! You’ve provided me with some great insight into the SLP profession. I really like your advice to “follow my heart and forget about the statistics”. Despite my great interest in the profession, I often ponder the fact that not only am I a male but I am a African-American male. My race honestly should not be a factor and I do not intend to turn my comments into a racial discussion, but I fear the possibility of facing some obstacles in my journey towards becoming a great SLP!!! ? So to take you up on your offer to answer a few more questions about the profession, I’d like to ask you some questions that have come to mind after reading your reply. Are there any reading materials, organizations (such as NSSLHA), or general pointers that you feel would be helpful to anyone interested in becoming a SLP? You also mentioned that you are now working with pediatrics instead of adults/geriatrics, did this change to an outpatient clinic affect your annual income? One of my goals is to earn a decent salary (65k-75k), but I know starting out my salary may be a lower. How long have you been a SLP and what was your starting salary when you entered the profession? Also, do you have any goals that you wish to accomplish in your career? Another one of my goals is to stay in the profession for as long as I can! ? I will most likely finish my undergrad and graduate degrees in about 5 years, so I’ve got plenty of time to do everything I can to prepare for the profession (and hopefully there will still be a strong need for SLP’s). Thanks so much again for your willingness to answer my questions! I apologize if I am long winded, it’s just the excitement I get from thinking about being a SLP! ?

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Ryan January 21, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Hello! First i’d like to thank you for your insight into the Speech and Language Pathology profession. I’d like to ask for your honest opinion regarding a few questions I have about this career. I am looking to begin studies to become a SLP. Being a male I was a little skeptical as to whether or not this would be a good career for me due to the very low rate of males in the profession. How do you feel about males in the SLP profession? Do you know any males that are currently in the profession? If so, do they also enjoy the SLP career? One of the greatest things about SLP in my opinion is the fact that you have the chance to actually make a difference in someone’s life. But, I also know that working directly with individuals can be very stressful at times. Do you feel this profession allows for you to have a nice balance of enjoyment and stress? Also, I hear that many SLP’s begin their careers in public schools and salaries are significantly lower than that of SLP’s working in outpatient clinics. Any truth to that? I plan to specialize in working with adults, hopefully in an outpatient setting. Do you feel career opportunities are better in one setting than another?

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jacklyn January 23, 2012 at 10:45 am

Ryan,

Great questions…now where to start!!?? OK, honestly there were only two males in my undergrad program and no males in my graduate program. I do know of some males in the profession; however, I don’t know them personally. Here’s my thought…if you really like the profession (and it sounds like you do), follow your heart and forget about statistics.
As far as people starting their career in the school system, I only know one or two of my fellow graduates that started in the schools. I do know that schools pay less…but you have to consider that you get so many breaks and holidays. If you do choose the schools, you can always PRN during your breaks or holidays to make some extra money.
I always wanted to work with adults and did so for many years. Things can change in your life though :) I now work primarily with kids and love the change. The nursing home and hospital envrionment can be very stressful and they push alot of patients and minutes on you. It can be very exhausting at times!! Plus, there were not a lot of younger co-workers to converse with….and I’m a people person!! So, changing to an outpatient clinic with children was a great decision for me. I love my co-workers and the children make me laugh alot!! Stress and enjoyment are pretty equally balanced and it has a lot to do with yourself as a person. Laughter helps alot!!
Lastly, I think that there are plenty of career opportunities for SLPs. It honestly depends on what population you are interested in working with (ie–kids vs adults/geriatrics). Feel free to ask more questions. I hope I answered all of them thus far :)

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Jacklyn January 21, 2012 at 9:55 am

Hi girls!!! I am so sorry for leaving you all hanging!! I just now received notifications that I had comments!!! Let’s see if I can answer all your questions.

First because this made me laugh…Gail. I think that’s completely absurd and I do not believe anyone is making that much per hour. I would love to meet this person!! Realistically if she is doing private work I would expect no more than $125…and that’s a very highhhh number I have never seen ;) .

Let me begin my rant by saying that I did this interview several years ago. I have changed from nursing homes to an outpatient clinic. We treat kids from birth to 21. I absolutely love my job and my coworkers. Let me clarify, I loveed the elderly. I still remain on the PRN list “as needed”. The nursing home can be very draining and full of pressure to meet quota. You don’t get a lot of social interaction from peers. I do get that interaction now in outpatient. The monotony that I described can apply to any job.

You spoke of creativity!! Yes!!! That Is an awesome quality to have…one that I don’t have an abundance of though ;) . The nursing home was more monotonous for me due to all of the dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. You don’t always get to see the progress that you do with kids. Keep that in mind. That was always a problem for me because I really wanted to fix and help everyone.

Ok…as far as schooling goes, I graduated from U of A in Arkansas with my under grad degree and went to grad school at UCA in Conway. Both are great programs and have already changed a lot since I graduated almost 7 years ago! With that said, if u are interested in joining the program you first need to talk to your academic
Advisor.

I think things have changed now and you have to get get accepted into the undergrad program which starts your junior year. I do think the program has gotten tougher due to an influx in students.

Lastly, I found my nursing home job within three months of graduating. All of my friends quickly found jobs as well. I didn’t have to use my school to help but I know they would have helped if I had asked. I relied on the phone book and just called al ot of places. There is a wonderful site called http://www.absolutelyhealthcare.com that you will find beneficial as well. I worked in the nursing home for a year and a half and finished my CFY and then took off as a travel therapist. It was a wonderful experience!! I would love to answer any of your questions as they arise!! I will make sure and stay connected to this site! I hope my words helped! It seems like a long overwhelming road but you can do it!! And its worth it in the end!!!!

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Krista January 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I’m getting ready to apply for my freshman year of college and i am so excited to start speech language therapy! However i am sort of confused on how the whole thing works… Also would it be helpful to know American Sign Language or would that not e related in any way to this career?

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Jacklyn January 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm

See response below

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Gail December 5, 2011 at 6:52 am

My elderly neighbor claims her adult (but young) grand daughter with a Masters degree is making $350 an hour working as an independent Speech Pathologist in nursing homes and in schools for the mentally impaired. Is she crazy or could this kind of salary be true?. I am thinking of switching careers.

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Jacklyn January 21, 2012 at 2:37 pm

See Below

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Chelsea September 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Hi my name is Chelsea. How long did it take for you to get a job after graduating? What college did you attend? Did it have a specific program to help you get a job?

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Jacklyn January 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm

See post below

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Kristen August 12, 2008 at 12:20 am

Hi! I’m not really sure how recent this article is, but I’m going to ask anyway….so, I am currently looking to pursue a career as a speech-language pathologist. You said that the worst things about your job as a speech pathologist is the “monotony.” Is this only because you work in a nursing home with older people? I was under the impression that the job requires a lot of creativity because each patient has different therapy needs. I also assumed that the typical work day would vary because of the diversity in patients and the nature of their problems…am I being idealistic? Or does the nature of the job vary depending on where you work? (I want to own my own practice.)

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Jacklyn January 21, 2012 at 2:34 pm

See post

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