A Guide to Becoming a Speech Pathologist
Are you thinking of starting a career as a speech pathologist? Speech pathologists, or speech therapists as they are sometimes referred to, assist clients with a wide range of therapies to help them live happy, fulfilling lives.
Make sure to read our brief guide on becoming a speech pathologist today.
How to Become a Speech Pathologist
What does a speech pathologist do?
Speech pathologists help people of all ages and all abilities with a range of communication challenges or impairments. This can be in the form of speaking, listening and comprehension, or even writing.
Some speech pathologists specialise in paediatric (children) therapy and help those younger clients who are experiencing speech development difficulties.
But it’s not just about stutters and lisps. Speech pathologists can also help with eating, drinking or swallowing problems, whether due to a congenital condition, injury or illness.
Speech pathologists are able to diagnose, treat and provide therapeutic programs for a range of speech-related issues.
Speech Pathologists help people who have communication impairments, including speaking, listening, language comprehension, reading and writing; or speech impediments such as stutters. They work with people of all ages, often with children who are having problems developing speech.
Where do speech pathologists work?
While many speech pathologists work in the public or not-for-profit system, be it a hospital or disability services provider, there are many privately practicing speech pathologists as well in clinics, community centres, schools or nursing homes.
What do speech pathologists work with?
In addition to using a range of programs, resources and materials, many speech pathologies work with or can involve assistive technologies. This can range from voice and speech analysis devices to technologies to help control swallowing and speech in patients.
A day in the life of a speech pathologist
On any given day, a speech pathology could do any or all of the following:
- Work with children or adults with communication impairments, language, speech or voice related.
- Work with people with disability, intellectual or physical, developmental delays or learning difficulties.
- Treat adults whose communication has been affected by injury, disease or surgery.
- Provide consultation services to other health or educational professionals.
- Assess, diagnose and design therapy treatment plans.
- Provide ongoing support and advice to clients, their families and wider support network.
- Create communication strategies including providing assistance with devices or other technologies.
Qualifications and registrations for a speech therapist
In order to work as a registered speech pathologist anywhere in Australia you will need to study an accredited degree in speech pathology. Some speech therapists choose to study a Bachelor of Speech Pathology and then move into the work force, while others may opt for a Master of Speech Pathology as well.
There are many universities in Australia that offer degrees in speech pathology, including Curtin University and Edith Cowan University here in Western Australia, so make sure to contact the institution of your choosing to find out more. In general, a bachelor’s degree is a four-year course.
Once you have completed your study, you will need to become a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP) by registering with Speech Pathology Australia (SPA).
Part of your registration will be meeting ongoing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements as well.
Furthermore, in WA you will need a Working with Children Check, issued by the Department of Communities. If you plan on working as a service provider for NDIS participants, you will also need to complete the NDIS Workers Screening.
Speech pathologists at One Central Health
One Central Health’s team of professional, experienced speech pathologists are committed to helping our ever-growing client base with all of their communication needs.
If you’re interested in the speech pathology services we provide or want to find out more about becoming or working as a speech pathologist, reach out to the friendly OCH team today.