Career Path Forecast
speech-language pathologists is expected to grow by 19 percent from 2008 to
2018, faster than the average for all occupations. As the members of the
baby-boom generation continue to age, the possibility of neurological
disorders and associated speech, language, and swallowing impairments
increases. Medical advances also are improving the survival rate of
premature infants and trauma and stroke victims, who then need assessment
and sometimes treatment.
Employment in educational services will increase with the
growth in elementary and secondary school enrollments, including enrollment
of special education students. The 2004 Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act is a Federal law that guarantees special education and
related services to all eligible children with disabilities. Greater
awareness of the importance of early identification and diagnosis of speech
and language disorders in young children will also increase employment.
In healthcare facilities, restrictions on reimbursement for
therapy services may limit the growth of speech-language pathologist jobs
in the near term. However, the long-run demand for therapists should
continue to rise as growth in the number of individuals with disabilities
or limited function spurs demand for therapy services.
The number of speech-language pathologists in private
practice should increase because hospitals, schools, and nursing care
facilities will contain costs by increasingly contracting out for these
In addition to job growth, a number of job openings in
speech-language pathology will be due to retirements. Opportunities should
be favorable, particularly for those with the ability to speak a second
language, such as Spanish. Demand for speech-language pathologists can be
regional so job prospects are expected to be favorable for those who are
willing to relocate, particularly to areas experiencing difficulty in
attracting and hiring speech-language pathologists.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US
Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor