What is a Speech‑Language Pathologist?

Speech-language pathologists are health care professionals who work with both children and adults to prevent, assess, diagnose and manage (through treatment and counselling) speech, language, voice, and swallowing disorders.

More specifically, speech-language pathologists:

  • provide consultative and intervention services for speech and language disorders from infancy to adulthood
  • use specialized procedures to assess and diagnose communication and swallowing disorders
  • develop and implement treatment plans for language, speech, voice and/or swallowing disorders
  • design and employ alternative communication strategies and devices
  • counsel clients and families regarding communication and swallowing disorders
  • consult with and advise other health professionals regarding communication disorders
  • consult with educators regarding inclusion, communication, speech and language stimulation and teaching strategies for students with communication disorders
  • educate and supervise students
  • conduct research aimed at expanding knowledge about processes underlying communication disorders and effective strategies for diagnosis and treatment

Career paths

Speech-language pathologists often work in collaboration with medical and rehabilitation personnel, educators, social workers, psychologists, audiologists and other speech-language pathologists.

Speech-language pathologists work in a variety of environments, including hospitals, community health centres, child development centres, private clinics, schools, rehabilitation centres, and universities. 

Moreover, speech-language pathologists can choose to specialize in assessment and treatment of specific types of communication disorders. Specialization areas can include developmental language, articulation/phonology, voice, fluency, swallowing, or neurogenic speech and language disorders.

Speech-language pathologists enjoy excellent employment opportunities. Dalhousie's speech-language pathology graduates have always been very successful at securing employment soon after graduation.

From a total of 200 professions and jobs, CareerCast.com (2014) ranked speech-language pathology in the top 10, based on job prospects and income. Chances of employment are enhanced by the willingness of the candidate to relocate.

Go to the Links Page to obtain more information on communication disorders and the profession of speech-language pathology.