Speech Pathologist Salary and Career Outlook

Becoming a speech-language pathologist, or SLP for short, is an extremely wise career choice because of the earning potential, career outlook, and job stability it holds. In the 21st century, speech pathologists play an important role in diagnosing and treating communication and swallowing disorders in patients of varying ages. Typically, speech pathologists are required to hold at least a master’s degree in the field and often have to be licensed and/or certified.

Learn more about online speech pathology masters programs

Gaining a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology can open the door to a variety of careers within the field, explore online programs.

Careers in speech pathology or, as it’s commonly called, speech therapy, can take place in a variety of settings. A few of the many options include schools and educational institutions, private clinical settings, and medical facilities. More information on the various career paths for speech therapists can be found in the section below!

Speech Pathologist Career Paths

Speech Therapist in Schools1

SLP professionals that work in school settings focus their attention on students of all ages who have trouble with communication, swallowing disorders, and a variety of other issues. They provide treatment options, one-on-one therapy and other means of support to students in need.

The average salary for speech therapists in schools, according to the BLS, is $66,960.

Speech Therapist in Medical Facilities1

Speech Pathologists that work in medical facilities work with a variety of healthcare workers (phyisicans, surgeons, physical therapists, etc.) to provide patients with treatment options and plans for their various communication and/or swallowing disorders.

The average salary for speech therapists in hospitals, according to the BLS, is $82,830

Speech Therapist in Private Clinics1

Speech Therapist’s working in private clinics such as a nursing home or a resedential care facility will typically work to address and diagnose speech and swallowing disorders and work with patients directly over a length of time.

The average salary for speech therapists in nursing and residential care facilities, according to the BLS, is $93,110.

Self Employed Speech Therapist 1

Although many settings have a need for certified speech pathologist’s, it is also possible to be self-employed as an SLP. Many speech therapists will travel to their patients homes directly and work with them there- a comfortable and familiar setting. This is a great option for SLP’s who wish to work part-time which, according to the BLS, one out of every for speech pathologist’s did in 2016.

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Speech Pathologist Career Outlook

There is an expected growth in the field of speech pathology for professional of 18 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the major factors that cause a rising need for speech professionals include: a large population of older adults from the baby boomer generation, improved knowledge and awareness of speech problems in children, and medical advances in general.

As the average growth in employment between 2016 and 2026 for all occupations is 7%, it bodes well for those interested or entering the field of speech pathology that the need for SLP’s is greatly outpacing this figure.

Speech Pathologist Salary by Work Environment

The work environment, just like one’s location, can have a direct influence on the salary potential for speech therapists. For example, the BLS reports that speech pathologists who practice in schools earn, on average, $66,960 annually – $26,150 less per year than the average annual salary of SLPs who work in nursing and residential care facilities.

Although it should be no means dictate the work environment you enter as a speech therapy professional, it is yet another factor to consider when narrowing down your career options within the umbrella of speech pathology. We’ve compiled information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the various fields in speech-language pathology, saturation of each type of employment and its related salary.

Employer% of Speech PathologistsMedian Salary (2017)
Educational services; state, local, and private
Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists
Hospitals; state, local, and private
Nursing and residential care facilities
Self-employed workers

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Speech Pathologist Salary by State

Naturally, the location that you practice speech pathology in can have a huge effect on your earning potential in the field. For example, working as an SLP in New York City typically allows for a higher average salary than, say, North Dakota due to the massive disparity in cost of living in these states.

The reason some state’s speech pathologists might enjoy higher salaries could be anything from a high cost of living to a large gap in the amount of speech pathology positions available and professionals able to fill those positions. Below, we’ve collected state average salary for speech-language pathologists from the BLS:

StateMedian Salary
District of Columbia
StateMedian Salary
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Speech Pathologist State Snapshots

A large variety of factors might play a part in your decision on where to become a practicing speech pathologist. Your preferred location might be based on personal decisions like where you grew up, where you went to school, or where your family currently resides. It also might be financially motivated, based on where you have the best earning potential and a well-balanced cost of living.

With all of this in mind, Teach has put together a few “state snapshots” that feature some of the top states to become a speech pathologist based on earning potential and career outlook for the future. Included in the snapshots are average salaries, the percent of growth the career field will see in that state over the next 10 years, and the employment levels in the state.

Important Note: Enrolling in one of the featured programs below does not guarantee that you will earn the associated state’s average annual salary.

Speech Pathologist Salary Texas2

SLP’s in texas earn salaries that fall in among the top 15 highest paying states, roughly $75,270 on average per year. The real attraction to becoming a speech pathologist in Texas, however, comes from the fact that employment for SLP’s is growing at 27.1% – one of the fastest rates in the entire United States.

Some of the best locations within Texas to practice speech pathology include the Dallas metropolitan area and the Houston metropolitan area – because of their higher than average salaries and employment opportunities.

StateSalaryEmployment Level% Growth (2016-2026)

Speech Pathologist Salary California

Speech pathologists in California earn the second highest average salary in the United States, falling at around $92,280 per year. In addition to this, SLP’s in California will experience higher than average job growth between 2016 and 2026, at 16.4%.

One of the many great locations to become a practicing speech therapist in California, according to the BLS, is the Los Angeles metropolitan area, where the average annual salary is even higher than the median California-wide wage ($93,920).

StateAverage SalaryEmployment Level% Growth (2016-2026)

Speech Pathologist Salary New York2

Speech therapists in New York earn the fifth highest salary in the United States, at $87,420 per year. SLPs in New York State also will experience job growth that is faster than the average for speech pathologists and much faster than the average for all other occupations, at 21.6% between 2016 and 2026.

Speech Pathologists the New York City metropolitan area enjoy salaries that are well above the national average, at around 93,300 per year, though this is most likely due to the high cost of living associated with the area. Another common area for speech pathologists to practice, due to the availability of jobs and higher earning potential, are Nassau and Suffolk county on Long Island.

StateAverage SalaryEmployment Level% Growth (2016-2026)
New York

Explore a Featured New York Speech Pathology Program

New York University

NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development


Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders

NYU Steinhardt’s online master of science program in Communicative Sciences and Disorders prepares aspiring speech-language pathologists with a comprehensive professional education.

  • Prepares students to pursue SLP licensure 
  • Accredited by ASHA’s Council on Academic Accreditation 
  • As few as six terms to complete 
  • Full-time and part-time plans of study


Speech Pathologist Salary Massachusetts2

Speech Pathologists in Massachusetts earn average salaries that fall in among the top 10 highest paying states, roughly $75,270 on average per year. From the period of 2016 to 2026, job growth for speech therapists in the state of massachusetts is expected to be around 13.4 % – in line with the average.

For speech pathologists in Massachusetts looking to maximize their earning potential while living in a bustling metropolis, consider the Boston metropolitan area where the average annual salary for speech pathologists is $86,380.

StateAverage SalaryEmployment Level% Growth (2016-2026)

Explore a Featured Massachusetts Speech Pathology Program

Emerson College

School of Communication


Master of Science in Communication Disorders

Speech@Emerson enables you to earn an MS online and pursue SLP certification in as few as 20 mos. Learn the same curriculum as the on-campus program. Study FT or PT.

  • Prepares you to pursue certification as an SLP generalist
  • In-person clinical placements at faculty-approved partner sites
  • As few as 20 months to complete


1 US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook

2 US Bureau of Labor Statistics, State and Regional Data