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Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)

What is a speech-language pathologist?

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) specialize in treating communication disorders. These disorders can occur due to an injury or health condition, disability, surgery, or developmental disorder. SLPs assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent communication and swallowing disorders in adults and children.

SLPs can work with many types of communication issues, such as:

  • Speech, language, and swallowing disorders

  • Speech fluency and stuttering disorders

  • Voice disorders

  • Using communication devices

  • Written language disorders

  • Thinking, memory, and learning (cognitive) disorders

Where they work

SLPs work in many settings, such as:

  • Early intervention (Head Start and other early childhood development programs)

  • Schools and colleges

  • Hospitals

  • Inpatient and outpatient rehab centers

  • Nursing homes

  • Home health settings

  • Private practice

Degrees and certification

Most SLPs hold a master's degree from an accredited speech-language pathology program. They must be either licensed or registered within their state. They may also earn a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology. This is offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Other clinical specialty certification is also available.

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