Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists

Last updated December 31, 2014

A three-year-old boy, diagnosed with autism, has never uttered a word. A sixty-year-old woman is recovering from a severe stroke and must learn to speak again. Although you relate to them differently, you'll teach both language skills using many of the same techniques.

Speech-language pathologists and audiologists work not only with a variety of clients but also in a wide range of settings, including schools, hospitals, and doctors’ offices. Some even choose to conduct research into speech and hearing.

Speech-language pathologists and audiologists assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent speech and hearing problems caused by accidents, diseases, and genetic disorders.

Did You Know?

Some audiologists develop ways to protect workers from on-the-job injuries caused by noise levels and other hazards.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Give patients hearing tests
  • Identify the causes of speech or hearing problems
  • Decide on the best way to treat problems
  • Conduct speech therapy
  • Teach lip reading
  • Pay attention to the emotional and physical needs of patients severely damaged by strokes or accidents
  • Consider specializing in treating, for example, children or the elderly
  • Use American Sign Language if you work with hearing impaired or deaf clients
  • Work as part of a team of health care professionals

It Helps To Be...

An excellent communicator who is also compassionate, supportive, and patient. Some clients may respond to treatments only after multiple sessions. So it is important to balance realistic goals with steady encouragement.

Make High School Count

  • Take plenty of challenging science courses, including biology and physics.
  • Enhance your communication skills through English, drama, and speech classes.
  • Study a foreign language so you’ll be able to reach out and communicate with different communities and patients.
  • Sign up for a class in American Sign Language at a local community college.
  • Volunteer at a speech or hearing clinic, hospital, school, or nursing home where you can meet speech-language pathologists and audiologists as well as the people who need their services.

Did You Know?

The human body uses four different systems -- from the respiratory system to the nervous system -- to create speech.