American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Market Trends

The more flexible you can be in your job hunt, the greater your chances of success. There is no doubt that your services are needed. Begin exploring new niches in the job market. Trends suggest that an increasing amount of work will be available in school-based, bilingual, private-practice, and corporate settings. Improve your chances in the job market by knowing your skills and level of competence, as well as being aware of the specific services you are trained to provide.

Future Outlook: Audiology

Job growth for audiology is expected to grow by 37% from 2010 to 2020—much faster than the average for other occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 4,800 new jobs over the 10-year period. Of the 160,000+ professionals whom ASHA represents, approximately 11,975 are certified audiologists and 957 hold dual certification as both audiologists and SLPs.  

Reasons for Growth

  • Older Populations—Because hearing loss is strongly associated with aging, rapid growth in older population groups will cause the number of persons with hearing and balance impairments to increase markedly.
  • Baby Boomers—Members of the baby boom generation are now faced with the possibility of neurological disorders and increases in associated hearing impairments.
  • Retirees—Demand may be greater in areas with large numbers of retirees, so audiologists who are willing to relocate may have the best job prospects.
  • Improved Survival Rates—Medical advances are improving the survival rate of premature infants and trauma and stroke victims, who then need assessment and possible treatment.
  • Early Identification and Diagnosis—Greater awareness of the importance of early identification and diagnosis of hearing disorders in infants will increase employment. Most states now require that all newborns be screened for hearing impairment and receive appropriate early intervention services.
  • Increased School Enrollments—Employment in educational services will increase along with growth in elementary and secondary school enrollments, including the enrollment of special education students. Federal law guarantees special education and related services to all eligible children with disabilities.
  • Demand for Direct and Contract Services—The number of audiologists in private practice will rise due to the increasing demand for direct services to individuals, as well as increasing use of contract services by hospitals, schools, and nursing care facilities.

Future Outlook: Speech-Language Pathology

Excellent job opportunities in speech-language pathology are expected to grow by 23% from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Of the 160,000 professionals whom ASHA represents, approximately 141,847 are certified speech-language pathologists and 957 hold dual certification as both audiologists and SLPs.  

Reasons for Growth

  • Older Populations—The expanding population in older age groups is prone to medical conditions that result in speech, language, and swallowing problems.
  • Retirees—An expected increase in retirements throughout the coming years should create excellent job opportunities for speech-language pathologists.
  • Increased Survival Rates—Medical advances are improving the survival rate of premature infants and trauma and stroke victims, who then need assessment and possible treatment.
  • Early Identification and Diagnosis—Greater awareness of the importance of early identification and diagnosis of speech, language, and swallowing disorders in young children will increase employment.
  • Increased School Enrollments—Employment in educational services will increase along with growth in elementary and secondary school enrollments, including the enrollment of special education students. Federal law guarantees special education and related services to all eligible children with disabilities.
  • Need for Contract Services—The number of speech-language pathologists in private practice will rise due to the increasing use of contract services by hospitals, schools, and nursing care facilities.
  • Bilingualism—Many opportunities exist for those with the ability to speak a second language.

Future Outlook: Communication Sciences and Disorders—Faculty and Speech and Hearing Scientists

The anticipated faculty shortages within CSD departments will focus attention on the discipline and the need to expand research opportunities and promote higher education as a career, as well as target and coordinate data collection and dissemination (about supply and demand of PhD faculty and students). Other areas for expanded activities include developing a centralized mechanism for information exchange, enhancing research training experience, and promoting doctoral program leadership.

Reasons for Growth

The anticipated shortages of PhD-prepared people in CSD may be attributed to: 

  • Growth within the professions.
  • Increased number of retiring faculty.
  • Fewer doctoral students.

Careers as teachers, scholars, and researchers can be pursued at many different types of universities and colleges. Individuals with a PhD may also be employed at hospitals or clinics where clinical research is a part of the institution's mission or in an industry-related organization (e.g., hearing aid manufacturer) for product research and development.

Resources and Policy Documents that Govern the Practice of the Professions

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