How to Make a Career Change from Teaching to Speech Pathology
Why Would Teachers Switch to a Speech Therapy Career?
The Role of Speech Language Pathologists in Schools
School-Based SLP Jobs
School-Based Speech Pathologist Salary Outlook
Do Speech Pathologists Make More than Teachers?
Making the Transition to Speech Language Pathologist
The path from teacher to speech language pathologist will take some time. Here are five key steps to consider taking throughout your journey.
- Talk to speech-language pathologists
Before enrolling in any coursework, take the time to talk to local speech language pathologists. Schedule a meeting with the SLP in your district or from a neighboring school. Before you meet, make a list of questions to ask.
The goal of this meeting is to gain insight. Try to determine some pros and cons of this potential new field. Ask about hours worked, the number of students on the caseload, and favorite parts of the job. Also ask about the challenges faced. You want a clearer picture of the good and the bad that come with this career change.
- Find an SLP program that fits your needs
Speech and language pathologists come from a variety of backgrounds, but they all need a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. You need this degree to legally practice as an SLP. There are plenty of SLP programs for working adults, so find the one that best meets your needs. You can attend on-campus classes or earn an online master’s in speech pathology.
While you can enroll in SLP school while working full-time, it will take longer to complete the degree compared to someone who is in a program full-time. Melisa Yar, an SLP who works at Bound Brook School District in New Jersey, taught full-time and took evening courses to complete her degree. It took her six years to complete the requirements, participating in part-time speech pathology programs.
- Complete prerequisites for graduate school
Once you choose a school, you must complete any SLP graduate school requirements. You may need to complete prerequisite courses before getting accepted.
- Earn a master’s in speech pathology
To complete your online speech pathology master’s program, you will likely need to complete a clinical practicum. This will provide you the opportunity to put your new knowledge into practice. Typically, online SLP programs will help you find local placements for these practicums.
- Complete SLP licensure requirements
Your path from being a teacher to an SLP will not be complete until you earn your SLP license. This process varies by state, so take the time to look into the requirements where you live. Typically, you will need field experience, an active teacher certification, and completion of the SLP licensing requirements.