American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Employment Settings for SLPs

ASHA-certified SLPs provide important services in a variety of education and health care settings, including:

Education

More than half of SLPs (56%) are employed in educational settings, including 53% in schools and 3% in colleges and universities.

Early Intervention, Preschool, K–12 Schools

SLPs employed in early childhood and educational settings provide a range of services:

  • Conduct screenings and diagnostic evaluations.
  • Work with children with a wide range of disabilities, from mild or moderate to severe and/or multiple disorders.
  • Provide services on an individual, small-group, or classroom basis to infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school-age children, and adolescents.
  • Work on listening, speaking, reading, writing, and learning strategies in general education and special education classrooms. 
  • Collaborate with and train other professionals and parents to facilitate students' academic, communication, and social skills in an educational environment.
  • Serve on program planning and teacher assistance teams.
  • Write reports and participate in annual review conferences.
  • Develop Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs) and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
  • Complete documentation as required by federal, state, and local agencies.
  • Provide counseling and education to families.
  • Serve as consultants to other educators and related professionals.
  • Supervise support personnel in public schools.
  • Supervise clinical practicums and clinical fellowships.

Colleges and Universities

Opportunities abound for teaching, research, and clinical supervision. SLPs may work with a variety of clients/patients in the university core clinical facility and/or its affiliated health care or education facility.

Health Care

Some 39% of SLPs are employed in health care settings, including 16% in nonresidential health care facilities, 13% in hospitals, and 10% in residential health care facilities.

Hospitals

Acute care, rehabilitation, and psychiatric hospitals may offer speech and language services on an in/outpatient basis. Hospitals may provide services for patients of all ages, while some—such as children's hospitals and VA or military hospitals—may treat specific populations.

SLPs in a hospital setting may:

  • Diagnose and treat cognitive-communication and language disorders and/or swallowing problems.
  • Function as members of multidisciplinary or interprofessional treatment teams.
  • Provide counseling to patients and their families.
  • Educate other health care staff about cognitive-communication, language, and swallowing disorders.

Residential Health Care Facilities

SLPs perform screenings and assessments and deliver treatment in skilled nursing facilities and other types of residential facilities, such as assisted living facilities. They treat the same disorders that are seen in hospitals, but typically stay longer to work on functional skills to become more independent.

Nonresidential Health Care Facilities

SLPs treat clients/patients of all ages in their homes or in free-standing outpatient settings, such as speech and hearing clinics or doctors' offices. SLPs who provide home care services may be employed by home health agencies, work in early intervention programs, or be in private practice. They may specialize in certain disorders or populations or treat a wide range of clients/patients.

Private Practice

Nearly one-fifth (19%) of SLPs are employed full- or part-time in private practice. Owning a private practice allows SLPs to be entrepreneurial and make their own decisions about their schedules, caseloads, and target populations. Some private practitioners work alone, and some own large practices that employ a large staff with different types of professionals as well as SLPs. Private practitioners also manage business aspects of their practices, such as billing, marketing, and contracting.

Corporate Speech-Language Pathology

Corporate speech-language pathology involves providing services to a company, or its customers, as a consultant. SLPs offer assessment and training in many aspects of communication—such as speech sound production, fluency, voice, language, and social communication—as well as other services needed by the business world. Training topics may include presentation skills, accent modification, professional diction and grammar, interviewing skills, business writing, and business communication etiquette. SLPs may also train customer service representatives to work with clients who have hearing loss.

Local, State, and Federal Government Agencies

SLPs are employed in administrative and clinical capacities.

Public Health Departments

Services for individuals with speech, language, communication, and swallowing disorders vary by state. In general, SLPs provide consultative services, contractual services, or direct services to patients.

Uniformed Services

Clinicians and research scientists are employed by the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, and The U.S. Public Health Services. They provide services to active military and veterans and underserved populations.

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