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What is a speech-language pathologist?

What is a speech-language pathologist or speech therapist? What type of work they do? Find out here.

A speech-language pathologist, also referred to as a speech therapist, evaluates and treats speech, language and swallowing difficulties, which may have resulted from trauma, stroke, hearing loss, developmental delay, birth abnormalities and emotional problems in individuals of all ages, from infants to the elderly.

As an integral part of the health care team they:

  • evaluate the person's level of difficulty in communication
  • improve vocal ability
  • provide alternative communication methods such as sign-language
  • prepare a treatment plan
  • help patients follow through to see improvement

Speech-language pathologists often work with:

  • physicians
  • social workers
  • psychologists
  • parents
  • teachers and school staff
  • other health care professionals

The role of speech-language pathologist requires a master’s degree, and a current state license is required to see patients. Licensing requirements vary by state.

Speech-language pathologists are certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) is the internationally recognized professional credentialing body for speech-language pathologists. Certification satisfies some or all of the requirements for licensure and may be required by some employers.

KU grads go on to find career success

The high level of education and training provided to students at the University of Kansas prepares you well for a successful career in speech-language pathology. Our graduates secure leading roles in clinical practice, in school settings, in academia and many other areas.

See below the remarkable number of positions currently or formerly held by our graduates.

Careers of KU alumni in speech-language pathology

Graduates of our speech-language pathology program currently hold or have previously held the following positions in clinical and research settings:

  • Bilingual Pediatric Therapy
  • Boston Medical Center, speech-language pathologist
  • Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital in Tallahassee, FL and Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Henry Ford, Detroit, MI
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD
  • National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, program officer
  • Northern Navaho Medical Center, New Mexico, speech-language pathologist
  • Swedish Hospital, Englewood, CO, Speech-language pathologist
  • TARC, Inc.
  • University of Kansas Medical Center
  • US Department of Veteran’s Affairs in Madison, Wisconsin

Graduates of our speech-language pathology program currently hold or have previously held the following positions in school settings:

  • Kansas City School District, speech-language pathologist
  • Los Angeles Unified School District, speech-language pathologist
  • Topeka Public School District, speech-language pathologist

Graduates of our speech-language pathology program currently hold or have previously held the following positions in academic settings:

  • Baylor University, Waco, Texas, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders
  • California State University, Fullerton, assistant professor
  • Florida Atlantic University, assistant professor
  • Maryville University of St. Louis, program director of SLP
  • University of Missouri-Columbia, assistant professor
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln, assistant professor
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln, lecturer and clinical supervisor in the Barkley Speech Language and Hearing Clinic
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln, pediatric speech-language pathologist for the Floortime Center
  • Utah State University, assistant professor
  • Yeshiva University, New York City, clinical assistant professor
KU School of Health Professions