Supply vs. Demand
An additional factor emerging in the discussion concerning the shortage of qualified school-based SLPS is whether the number of SLPs being trained through graduate training programs—or the supply of SLPs—is sufficient to keep up with the growing demand.
According to CAPCSD, there was a decrease in the number of graduate programs from 302 in 2000–2001 to 291 in 2007–2008 (-4% change). A total of 5,957 master's degrees in SLP were awarded in 2007–2008, compared to 5,692 in 2000–2001 (+10% change). A total of 433 clinical entry AuD degrees were granted in 2007–2008 (2000–2001 data unavailable). The number of research doctoral degrees increased from 130 in 2000–2001 to 147 in 2007–2008 (+1% change). Source: 2007-2008 CAPCSD Demographic Survey, Tables 2 and 27 [PDF].
Anecdotal evidence suggests that there is a need to increase the supply of SLPs being trained to work in school settings, and a need to find creative and flexible alternatives for training qualified personnel. A number of states have collaborated with universities to establish distance learning programs and consortia to address the supply of school-based SLPs in their state. See Collaborative University and School District Partnerships.
This evidence supports the conclusion that the need for additional qualified SLPs in school settings is real, vacancies exist, and these vacancies cannot be accounted for solely by shortages in qualified personnel. School personnel must look for other explanations. A more complete report on national and state-level demand projections for the profession of speech-language pathology can be found within the 2009 Supply and Demand for Speech-Language Pathologists Resource List [PDF].