Speech therapists work with patients to diagnose and treat a variety of speech and speech-related problems. Their patients may include everyone from people who stutter to those who have problems understanding language to people who have trouble swallowing.
Working as a speech therapist is very lucrative. Not only is there plenty of stability, with jobs expected to grow by 19 percent through 2018, but you also can expect to be paid well, with the median salary coming in at $62,930 during 2008.
In order to become a speech therapist, however, you must first obtain the proper education. The minimum requirement is typically a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology, although many employers prefer to hire those with a Master of Science in Speech Pathology.
Here's a look at some of the classes you can expect to take while earning your degree, as compiled by Education-Portal.com:
- Speech and language acquisition - An introductory-level class that teaches students about the normal progression of language, from infancy to adolescence. Students also learn about theories surrounding language, social factors related to speech, the development of dialects, and potential problems of speech development.
- Speech anatomy and physiology - Teaches students about the mechanisms behind breathing and articulating and receiving sounds, as well as anatomical abnormalities that can cause speech problems.
- Speech therapy and phonetics - Looks at speech from a physiological, descriptive, and acoustic perspective. Students learn how to identify, describe, classify, and transcribe difference types of speech.
- Voice and language disorders - Students learn how to identify and treat physiological speech problems that are caused by paralysis, ulcers, cleft palette, damaged vocal nodules, motor speech disorders, or neurological speech problems.
- Speech problems in children - Students learn how to identify and treat speech problems that are often found in young children, such as stuttering lisps, or developmental delays. They also learn about the physiological, psychological, and social causes of these problems.
- Speech problems in the elderly - Teaches students about the various causes and treatments of speech loss in the elderly, such as dementia, brain trauma, and deafness.