Many people do not get accepted into a speech-language pathology graduate program on their first try. Others may not be able to afford entering grad school immediately after undergrad. Whatever your reasons are, do not feel discouraged. There are many jobs that will provide you with the opportunity to learn skills that you will use as a speech-language pathologist. Read on the learn about jobs to consider as you prepare to begin your grad school journey. 

But first! A special thank you to Jackie Rodriguez, MS, CCC-SLP for authoring this blog post. She is a wealth of knowledge, and we're lucky to have her share with us. Check out her Instagram for information on all things SLP. 

1. Caregiver

There are so many forms of caregiving that provide you with skills needed to be an SLP. Working as a nanny/babysitter gives you a good understanding of typical language development in children. Take your skills abroad and learn about another culture or language as an au pair. Caring for an adult with an intellectual disability (ID) can teach you about how adults with ID navigate activities of daily life. Caregiving for an adult with dementia helps you to understand the stages of dementia. 

2. Activities Director/Assistant

An Activities Director/Aide provides socially and cognitively stimulating activities for people in long-term care. This is a great opportunity to get experience with people with dementia or aphasia to see how they are able to engage in cognitive tasks. You will gain experience creating and modifying activities so that people with cognitive or language deficits can participate.

3. Substitute Teacher

Subbing consistently at one school is a great way to build connections with staff that can potentially hire you after graduation. You will familiarize yourself with working in schools and get a better idea of what children are learning in the classroom, so that you can better support them as an SLP. You can typically work as a substitute with a bachelor's degree.

4. Paraprofessional, Preschool Teacher, or Daycare Teacher

Similar to a substitute teacher, these are all great ways to get experience with the way language develops in both typically developing and disabled children.  You will get first hand experience working with other teachers, learning behavior management skills, and seeing what learning standards are for the age group that you work with. 

5. Camp Counselor

There are many camps for disabled adults or children. Some private practice SLPs host their own speech summer camps as well and take students/aspiring SLPs as employees or volunteers to run these programs. 

6. Lab Assistant

Because our field is so broad, there are a variety of roles that an aspiring SLP could take on in a lab (e.g., linguistics, behavioral sciences, CSD, psychology, etc). Lab assistants typically perform administrative work or assist in setting up labs. Lab assistants may also help with transcribing documents.

7. CNA 

Get a head start by learning things about healthcare that most SLPs learn on the job! CNA training is typically ~6 weeks! You will learn the ins & outs of medical facilities like hospitals or SNFs. You will provide direct patient care to pts with modified diets & communication/cog deficits. There is a nationwide need for CNAs. You could work PRN in grad school on weekends when you don't have a heavy course load. 

8. Restorative CNA

A restorative CNA is a CNA that implements restorative therapy programs. A restorative program is usually designed by a PT, OT, or SLP to help prevent decline and maintain a patient's current functional level when they no longer qualify for direct therapy services. Working as a restorative CNA will provide you with experience implementing therapeutic techniques.

Con: CNAs work so hard & don't get the respect they deserve.

9. Interpreter

If you are a heritage language speaker, taking an interpreter course is a great way to build your work related vocabulary. There are different types of interpreter courses. You can take a medical interpreter course that provides medical terminology. An educational interpreter course prepares you to interpret in school settings. There are even some interpreter courses that specialize in special education.

Con: Interpreter classes can be really expensive & certification exams are separate.

10. Medical Scribe

A medical scribe documents information that a doctor dictates (records verbally instead of writing down). This is a way to get experience with the medical field as well as to learn medical terminology. Some programs allow you to work with a Bachelor's in a health degree. Other jobs require no education & train on the job.

Con: With improvements in Al, many facilities use software to dictate notes instead of actual scribes.

11. Non-school based ESOL teacher

There are many avenues to work as an ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Language) teacher. You can work abroad, online, or in community centers. Programs like TESOL and TEFL offer online training at an affordable price. If you plan to work with bilingual children, a good TESOL program will provide a foundation in how children learn a second language. Some countries, like China, have a huge need for English instructors.

12. SLPA

A job as a speech-language pathologist assistant is most directly related to our career. SLPAs share many of the same responsibilities as SLPs, including treating, writing notes, and sharing progress with teachers. Working as an SLPA will give you a huge head start.

Cons: Depending on state laws, most SLPAs work in schools & sometimes private practice. However, you will learn skills that you can use in any setting once you become an SLP!

13. Rehab Aide

A rehab aide assists physical, occupational and speech therapists in daily tasks. A rehab aide may assist SLPs by setting up trays for dysphagia patients, getting trial food items or transporting patients to/from speech. Some rehab aides may run dining groups that cue patients to use safe swallowing strategies during meals.

This list is not an exhaustive one. As you are considering options for jobs, think of how you can connect them to your future job as an SLP. Use the description on about the role of SLPs to connect your work to the work of an SLP. You can use this to boost your letter of intent and resume for graduate school. Also consider volunteer opportunities to boost your resume as well.

SHARE 0 comments

Add your comment