Do you have an interest in helping people improve their communication? Perhaps you enjoy working closely with people who have disabilities or problems with their speech and want to advocate for better support for those with communication disorders? If so, you may find speech pathology an interesting career path.
A speech pathologist, sometimes called a speech therapist, is responsible for assessing and treating speech and language disorders. They work with people who have a variety of disorders ranging from the inability to produce sounds, to voice fluency problems or abnormal speech.
Speech-language pathologists can work in research, education and health care settings alongside teachers, physicians, audiologists, social workers, occupational therapists and other interdisciplinary teams.
According to data from the Department for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, the demand for speech pathologists has grown substantially over the past five years, creating lots of interesting and rewarding job opportunities.
Job Outlook for Speech Therapy
According to Job Outlook, more than half of speech therapists in Australia work full-time (56%), but there are still many opportunities to work part-time. The average weekly salary for a speech therapist is $1,827 and this can increase with experience. This field experiences lower unemployment than other industries on average, which is good for job security prospects.
Key Responsibilities of a Speech Therapist
Speech disorders occur when a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently. They may have issues with stuttering or other articulation problems. A speech pathologist can be responsible for the following tasks:
- Observing and evaluating patients to determine the nature and extent of their disorder
- Helping patients establish goals and advising on treatment options
- Planning and conducting programs to correct speech disorders
- Administering therapy for rehabilitation of patients with communication problems caused by disabilities or hearing loss
- Consulting with teachers, parents or medical practitioners
- Patient follow-ups and referrals where appropriate
- Providing information to families, teachers and employers
Some speech pathologists work in hospitals or other nursing and medical treatment facilities. They can work alongside doctors and medical staff to assist patients who have suffered a stroke or other condition that has affected their speech. Speech pathologists can also work in schools to help children who require speech therapy.
In addition to clinical knowledge, there’s a range of soft skills you’ll need to have to succeed in this role. As with many jobs in Allied Health, compassion, empathy and patience are essential traits in a speech pathologist. You must also enjoy working with people and helping them overcome the challenges of dealing with a speech disorder.
How can I become a Speech Therapist?
The right qualification is essential to becoming a speech therapist or speech therapist assistant in Australia. An accredited bachelor or master’s degree in speech-language pathology is needed to work as a speech pathologist.
If you’re just starting out, Open Colleges’ HLT43015 Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (Speech Pathology) can provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to pursue a career in speech pathology.
This flexible online course will teach you how to become an assistant to a speech pathologist and treat people with hearing loss and speech difficulties. If you wish to pursue a career as a speech pathologist, this course is the ideal avenue towards a university degree. Scholarship opportunities are also available for students who wish to further their studies at Charles Sturt University following the successful completion of this course.
If you’re interested in studying speech pathology you can visit our course page to learn more about HLT43015 Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (Speech Pathology).