Understanding Your Salary Potential as a Speech Pathologist
Speech pathologists help patients with speech-related medical conditions and research how we as humans communicate. This is a field that’s growing faster than average, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in this field earn an average of $73,970 annually. The top 10 percent earn over $109,800 on average, so the potential for a six-figure income is definitely here!
But just how much can you make? And how can you make more money as a speech pathologist? Check out the information below to find out what it takes to be a top earner in this field.
- Speech Pathologist Salary Data by Location
- Speech Pathologist Salary Data by Employer
- Other Ways to Earn More Money as a Speech Pathologist
- How can I become a speech-language pathologist?
Speech Pathologist Salary Data by Location
By far, one of the factors that will affect your salary most is location. Where demand is higher, salaries will be higher as well; this is true in every field. Typically, you can earn more money living in a large city. The larger the population, the larger potential for patients needing a speech pathologist. The metropolitan areas with the highest mean salaries for speech pathologists are:
- Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, CA : $111,490
- Fairbanks, AK : $104,710
- Santa Fe, NM : $103,140
- Sherman-Denison, TX : $99,270
- Salinas, CA : $98,790
- Ocala, FL : $98,280
- New Bedford, MA : $96,170
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA : $93,590
- Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ : $93,360
- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA : $92,550
However, keep in mind that the cost of living is also higher in large cities. If you want a high paying speech pathologist job in a more rural area, check out opportunities in:
- Western Colorado
- Eastern New Mexico
- Central Indiana
- Northern Mountains Region of California
- Mother Lode Region of California
In general, the states with the highest salary averages in this field are:
- New Jersey
In all of these states, average salary rates are above $80,000 annually. Be sure the thoroughly research salary trends in the area you wish to live in, as well as cost of living, types of facilities hiring speech pathologists, and any other factor that may important in gauging your decision.
Speech Pathologist Salary Data by Employer
The type of employer who hires you also plays a large role in the salary you are ultimately offered. Size, number of patients, and other factors will affect how much money can be made at different facilities. Those employing the largest number of speech pathologists, along with the average salaries they offer, are as follows:
- Home health care services $90,530
- Nursing care facilities $87,810
- Offices of other health practitioners $82,240
- Elementary and secondary schools $79,120
- General medical and surgical hospitals $76,910
Other Ways to Earn More Money as a Speech Pathologist
Who hires you and where you live aren’t the only two factors when it comes to salary. You’ll also be able to earn more money as a speech pathologist by:
- Specializing in a specific type of patient or disorder
- Earning more certifications
- Gaining work experience in the field, especially with a single employer
- Taking a management roll
- Working for a larger company
- Completing more training programs
The more education and experience you have, the more likely you will be to be able to earn a higher salary in this field. Earning an advanced degree or specializing in a particular area are great ways for you not only to focus your career on what most interests you, but also puts you in a more competitive position when it comes to the hiring process. If you want to open your own practice or work at a prestigious hospital, an advanced degree will definitely serve you well in this highly-competitive field.
Certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is a must. Certification will not only increase employment opportunities and career advancement, but they will assist in applying for your state licensure and offer professional credibility. Certification will also put the minds of your clients at ease, knowing they are working with someone dedicated to continuous learning in a rapidly changing field. ASHA is also the organization that accredits degree programs. If the school you are looking at is not affiliated with ASHA, keep looking for other options.
If you’re truly passionate about working in this field, it pays to earn your master’s degree in speech pathology. Our list of accredited degree programs below will you find the right program to get your started on earning more, learning more, and doing more!
How can I become a speech-language pathologist?
If you are interested in becoming a SLP, the first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s degree in speech pathology or audiology. A master’s degree is typically the entry-level degree for employment in the field. There are many degree options that prospective students can choose from. The degrees below can help set you on the right path towards a career in speech-language pathology.
New York University
AT Still University of Health Sciences
Concordia University - Portland