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 Schools 1

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 Pathologists Median Salary (2017)
Educational services; state, local, and private 43% $66,960
Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists 20% $83,800
Hospitals; state, local, and private 14% $82,830
Nursing and residential care facilities 5% $93,110
Self-employed workers 5% N/A

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:

State Median Salary
Alabama $65,370
Alaska $89,060
Arizona $71,930
Arkansas $67,150
California $92,810
Colorado $85,600
Connecticut $92,800
Delaware $75,490
District of Columbia $85,710
Florida $81,780
Georgia $74,510
Hawaii $72,010
Idaho $71,880
Illinois $75,490
Indiana $73,950
Iowa $71,330
Kansas $67,990
Kentucky $68,690
State Median Salary
Louisiana $61,400
Maine $62,930
Maryland $83,420
Massachusetts $83,610
Michigan $75,260
Minnesota $71,620
Mississippi $59,000
Missouri $74,640
Montana $68,500
Nebraska $66,040
Nevada $64,140
New Hampshire $73,610
New Jersey $82,020
New Mexico $74,860
New York $79,530
North Carolina $70,320
North Dakota $62,050
Ohio $74,140
State Median Salary
Oklahoma $62,460
Oregon $85,210
Pennsylvania $72,200
Puerto Rico $38,910
Rhode Island $77,070
South Carolina $73,880
South Dakota $72,200
Pennsylvania $57,690
Tennessee $74,780
Texas $75,270
Utah $71,840
Vermont $71,840
Virginia $84,360
Washington $74,790
West Virginia $58,180
Wisconsin $69,140
Wyoming $70,140

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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.

State Salary Employment Level % Growth (2016-2026)
Texas $75,270 14,660 27.1%

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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).

State Average Salary Employment Level % Growth (2016-2026)
California $92,810 11,550 16.4%

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.

State Average Salary Employment Level % Growth (2016-2026)
New York $75,270 12,090 21.6%

Explore a Featured New York Speech Pathology Program

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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.

State Average Salary Employment Level % Growth (2016-2026)
Massachusetts $83,610 4,230 13.4%

Explore a Featured Massachusetts Speech Pathology Program

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