If you're considering becoming a speech-language pathologist, here are 8 reasons this career might be a good fit for you. This isn't to say the day-to-day work is perfect or doesn't have room for improvement, but by and large, SLPs have a high rate of job satisfaction. It's no wonder it's one of the fastest growing professions in the country! 

1. The work is engaging

Our work as SLPs is mentally stimulating. Whether it's dealing with a new, complex case, engaging in discussion with colleagues, or reading some recent research, chances are you're going to encounter something new and surprising on a regular basis. We are constantly learning about new or better treatment options for our patients. 

The work is also socially stimulating. We get to engage with people from all walks of life and in different capacities--our patients, teachers, caregivers, other healthcare providers, and the community at large. There's always an opportunity to educate people about communication and swallowing as well as learn from others' lived experiences. 

2. We get to help people

Many people who go into this profession are interested in helping people, so for a lot of us, the fact that we get to help people day in and day out is a huge plus. At the end of every day, you get to have the satisfaction of having helped someone work toward their goals or understand their disorder better. It's incredibly fulfilling to know the impact of your work and see results on a regular basis. 

3. We can have flexible schedules

SLPs have some of the best flexibility in choosing their own schedules. We can work fulltime or part time. If you work at a private practice, you can choose to only work after school hours when most people are free to come to appointments. If you own your own private practice, then you get to set the hours for your office. All of this flexibility leaves room for the other things you enjoy in life and adjustments for major life changes, such as changes in your family structure or caring for an aging family member. 

4. We have great work-life balance

There are a few caveats to this one--we generally have great work-life balance, but not in every position and not all of the time. Generally, our schedules allow us to have time to enjoy life outside of work. We get to take vacations and spend time doing the things that fulfill us. This might look different for different positions. For example, SLPs working in a school system might find their workloads are quite high during the school year, but they enjoy three months of summer vacation with no work. SLPs working in hospitals typically have to leave their work at work to protect patient privacy--this means that your nights and weekends are completely free! They typically have great benefits, including paid vacation days that you can use throughout the year. 

5. The job security is excellent

There is a huge need for SLPs across the country, particularly in more rural areas. You'll never have to worry about being unemployed for long periods of time. If you're open to moving or working as a travel SLP, then there is always an opportunity for employment. And as a healthcare provider and essential worker, our jobs are less likely to be affected by economic crisis (though not impervious to it). 

6. We have a wide scope of practice

SLPs work with people across the lifespan and in many different settings. Our specialties range from pediatric speech disorders to acquired cognitive disorders (e.g., traumatic brain injury and dementia). For our full scope of practice, check out this page on ASHA.org. This means that there is plenty of opportunity for change and growth within our career. Many SLPs change specialties or add expertise in new specialties over the course of their career. They might switch from clinical practice to research or a more administrative role. This means you can have plenty of career options during your working years without having to go back to school full time or starting fresh. 

7. We get to do interdisciplinary work

Speech-language pathology work is highly interdisciplinary. You can work on a team with physicians, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Some SLPs integrate their work with other wellness providers, such as yoga or fitness instructions. And others collaborate more closely with creatives--singing teachers or art/music therapists. The opportunity for creativity and collaboration is truly limitless and bound only to your own creative thinking. 

8. There's lots to discover!

One of the best things about our work is that we are constantly learning. There's so much to know about human communication, the brain, and how we function. There's always new research and new ways of thinking that we can apply to our work. While it can sometimes be a challenge to keep up with the newest information, the constant learning keeps the work interesting, fun, and exciting. If you're the kind of person who enjoys trying new ways of doing things, you'll find this field highly rewarding. (Side note: for SLPs having trouble keeping up with research, The Informed SLP is an excellent resource--this is not a sponsorship, I'm just a fan). 


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