How Much Does A Speech Pathologist Make Right Out Of College

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 5 minute read

Consider how difficult life would be if you had trouble communicating. For some individuals, this is an everyday occurrence. Speech-language pathologists (sometimes known as speech pathologists, speech therapists, or SLPs) provide an important function.

They evaluate and treat children and adults with speech and swallowing disorders. You may question how much someone may earn for such an important position. Let’s investigate speech-language pathologists’ salaries.

SLP Salary

In 2018, the median annual salary for speech pathologists was $77,510. They earn less than occupational therapists, more than social workers, and roughly the same as school psychologists.

The top 25 percent earn more than $97,000 yearly, while the bottom 25 percent earn less than $60,000 annually. You may anticipate an average hourly pay of over $40. The salaries of SLPs are much higher than the national average for all vocations.

SLP Salary by Location

Speech-language pathologists are compensated differently depending on their region. The finest regions for speech pathologists to work in are the west coast and the northeast, whereas the south pays the least on average.

States with the highest and lowest SLP salaries

The states of New Jersey, Connecticut, California, and Alaska are ideal places to work as a speech-language pathologist. Arkansas, Alabama, and Montana may not be the best places to visit. It’s possible that states with sparse populations are a double-edged sword to some extent.

Speech pathologists may be underutilized, yet there are less people in need of their services. One can surmise that the lack of professionals in Alaska increases demand to the point where they can charge more for their services. Those in Montana, on the other hand, may have less need for speech-language pathologists due to the state’s small population.

Cities with the Best and Worst SLP Salaries

Northern California has the finest urban locations for earning a living as a speech pathologist. SLPs in the San Francisco-Oakland area earn an average of $105,000 per year. Fairbanks, Alaska, and Tulsa, Oklahoma are two more high-paying towns. When looking at salaries, one item to consider is the cost of living.

You could make more money in San Francisco, but the cost of living is exorbitant, canceling out some of your earnings. In Jackson, Mississippi, for example, you may earn only $63,000 a year, yet you can live well on less. The same goes for Charleston, WV, which costs $55,000 to live there.

After considering the cost of living, working in a place like Tulsa, which provides a high wage while having a low cost of living, would allow you to save more money.

SLP Salary by Work Environment

The sort of work environment has a significant influence on how much money you make as an SLP. The majority of individuals find jobs in education. Unfortunately, the remuneration for jobs in education, such as primary school, is lower than in most other fields.

The typical compensation for an SLP working in a residential or nursing care environment, for example, is about $95,000. Working in an office with other health care practitioners might earn you around $85,000. Working in education might earn you almost $70,000 per year.

Experience Is Important

The length of time you have spent working in the sector influences your compensation, as it does in most professions. New employees may expect to earn between $60,000 and $65,000 per year.

Top earners are speech-language pathologists with more than 15 years of experience, who usually earn $90,000 or more.

SLPs are in high demand

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of speech-language pathologists will expand by 27 percent over the next ten years, greatly surpassing the average growth rate for other occupations.

The high Baby Boomer generation appears to be playing a role in the growth. As they become older, they will require additional speech and language assistance. There is also a growing awareness of speech and language impairments in children, particularly in the field of autism, which adds to the need for SLPs.

Finally, medical improvements have resulted in an increase in the number of persons surviving preterm delivery and medical trauma, necessitating the need for experts in language development and rehabilitation. Finding work as an SLP in the future should not be too difficult, especially if an individual is ready to move.

Salary Increase

The remuneration of SLPs has steadily increased during the last ten years. In the last ten years, their compensation has increased by an average of $15,000. With the expected growth in demand for the post, remuneration will most certainly continue to rise steadily.

Will Working in Speech Pathology Put Me in Debt?

As the cost of higher education rises, one must wonder whether the compensation of a speech-language pathologist is high enough to compensate for the money spent on training. 

Depending on the school, tuition for a two-year master’s degree program will generally cost between $50,000 and $125,000 each year. This is on top of the four years you spent in undergrad.

A public school, for example, may cost $25,000 per year for an in-state student, but a private institution may cost double that much. Take into consideration lodging and board, as well as books and incidental fees, and you have an extra $30,000-40,000. Some institutions may provide graduate assistantships to help with tuition costs, although not all schools do.

As a graduate student, you are eligible for loans; nonetheless, loans must be repaid. Furthermore, most programs require full-time attendance, which does not allow much time for part-time employment.

Finally, keep in mind that you will most likely spend more money on graduate study than you will make in the two to three years after your license to practice (which of course costs money as well). Only by weighing those expenses can you make an informed judgment about whether you can afford a career as a speech-language pathologist.

Is Speech-Language Pathology the Job for You?

Speech-language pathology is without a doubt a good and satisfying profession. It is also a rising field with promising career opportunities. Although the compensation is lower than that of some other professions, it is far above the national average and continuously rising.

It is possible to live comfortably and save for retirement (after eliminating debt) if you choose to reside in a region with lower costs of living. If you are enthusiastic about the speech and language sector, income should not be an insurmountable barrier.

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