American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Determining Salary

The single most important factor influencing an individual's rate of pay is the kind of work performed. The audiology and speech-language pathology professions require a high level of education, knowledge, and skill. Many employers require that individuals hold the requisite CCC-A or CCC-SLP credential. In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, they must meet licensure and/or other regulatory requirements.

Factors to Consider When Determining Salary

There are many factors you should consider when determining the appropriate salary for a new position:

Supply and Demand of Labor

Any job is worth what the marketplace will bear. The level of demand for individuals with certain skills may vary, depending on location and/or other factors. Sometimes, demand is more consistent and national in scope. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 1,200 additional audiology and 12,000 additional speech-language pathology jobs are needed to fill the demand through 2016:

Geographic Location

Levels of employment or unemployment do not affect all regions of the nation equally. Certain areas, where the cost of living is high, have historically paid higher wages. For example, an individual earning $60,000 in Rockville, Maryland, enjoys the same standard of living as his/her counterpart earning $40,400 in Greenville, South Carolina.

  • Salary Calculator—Tool for comparing cost of living in hundreds of U.S. and international cities
  • Best Places to Live—Resource for head-to-head comparisons of real earning power in any two cities

Employment Setting

There are often unique circumstances that drive salary-related decision making in different settings. According to the ASHA Demographic Profile of the ASHA Membership and Affiliation (counts reflect January 1–December 31, 2013), primary employment facilities include:

Audiologists

  • Health Care (73.5%)
  • Education (15.6%)
  • Private Practice (28.6%)

Speech-Language Pathologists

  • Education (55.9%)
  • Health Care (38.8%)
  • Private Practice (18.8%)

Compensation in school settings, for example, can be heavily influenced by contracts negotiated by teachers unions. Refer to ASHA's salary data for more information.

Compensation Philosophy of the Organization

Some employers are committed to a philosophy of paying their employees above industry or area standards in order to attract and retain the very best pool of skilled workers available. Others pay at the 50th percentile or less.

Large organizations—which typically increase in size because their services and products are in demand—can often pay at a higher wage rate than can smaller organizations. With increased size comes an economy of scale and the opportunity to increase profits with each additional product or unit of service provided.

Profitability of the Organization

Employees working for a highly profitable business have a greater chance of receiving higher wages than those working for a less profitable enterprise.

Employment Stability

Employees who feel that a job is secure are often willing to accept less than what may be paid in a potentially unstable environment.

Gender Difference

Although great strides have been made in ensuring "equal pay for equal work," on the whole, women continue to receive lower pay than men. As a group, women also tend to hold lower-paying and lower-status jobs and experience a number of additional inequities in the area of compensation. There is a basis in law and in court decisions for rectifying pay inequities when they are due to intentional discrimination on the basis of gender. However, it is often difficult to determine if wage discrimination is intentional.

If you believe you have been discriminated against by an employer, labor union, or employment agency because of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability, you may file a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). Complaints may be filed in person, by mail, or by telephone by contacting the nearest EEOC office. Be aware that charges must be filed within strict time frames.

Employee Tenure and Performance

Traditionally, an employee's pay increases with years of service, as their performance becomes regarded as more dependable and effective. However, as the global economy increasingly demands ongoing business change and higher levels of productivity, employers have looked at how pay-and-reward systems can improve an organization's performance.

For many employers, the goal now is to integrate the organization's compensation and reward philosophy with its strategic initiatives regarding customers, profitability, and the development of a strong, competitive work force focused on the success of the organization. As a result, employers are using more sophisticated performance evaluation systems (e.g., 360-degree feedback that includes input from one's supervisor, colleagues, and direct reports) in an attempt to identify and recognize top performers. It is not unusual to see a range of a +/-10% salary differential for individuals in the same job depending on performance.

ASHA Survey Reports

The following survey reports discuss professional issues, including salaries and wages:

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