Career as a Speech Therapist

Parent Q&A

  • Speech Pathology Career Help

    (2 replies)

    Hi fellow parents!

    I'm currently applying to a graduate program to become an SLP. The program begins in January 2018 so I'm looking to get some volunteer/observation hours under my belt before then. I previously worked as a Teachers Aide at a school for children with developmental differences in Marin but am hoping to find something in the East Bay in order to cut back on my commute time. 

    I just finished my Certificate to pursue advanced education in Speech and Language Pathology (coursework which is equivalent to an undergrad BS in Communicative Disorders). I'm currently staying at home with my two year old daughter so I have a very flexible schedule. Any recommendations or leads would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    RE: Speech Pathology Career Help ()

    Hello! I am a fellow SLP, and I would say get some volunteer hours through a school district or an organization that has some focus you are interested in. When I was applying for school, I volunteered 2x/week at a local school in Oakland for kids using AAC devices since that was what I was most interested in. I would talk to local schools or private speech paths for help on this instead of parents! Good luck!

    RE: Speech Pathology Career Help ()

    Depending on where you are at in the East Bay, you may want to contact Therapy At Play in San Ramon. They often have student/volunteers assisting their SLPs and OTs.  

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Going back to school for speech/pathologist cred

Nov 2011

I've been a teacher for many years and am wondering what it would take to become a speech pathologist. From what I gather, a speech therapist makes a bit more. From looking at programs, it seems like it would take at least 4-5 years to complete the program and classes are offered in the evenings. Are there any speech pathologists that could share their experience? Thank you... curious

Hello, I saw your post and felt compelled to answer. I can't recommend going into speech language pathology enough.

For someone without a B.A./B.S. in Communicative Disorders or Communicative Sciences, it is indeed a 3-4 year program (depending on number of classes you take and summer semesters). However, you come out of it with a truly recession-proof career. You are courted by the private companies and school districts before you even graduate. Children's IEPs require services, so it is not an area that districts can cut for lack of funds. There are also plenty of opportunities to work in hospitals and SNFs (elderly pop is ever growing). However, it seems likely you would want to continue in a school setting. As for pay, at the lowest end you get the max pay on the teacher scale; on the high end, you can earn double a beginning teacher. It's a fascinating field, and one in which you can constantly reinvent yourself as your interest and home needs change. You should speak to the SLP that works in the school you are at for more info. Future SLP

I went back to become a SLP about 4 years after completing my BS (psych). I had taken some classes which I was able to put towards my degree, but still had to go back for 3 1/4 years, including 2 summers. I have now been practicing for 4 years, really love my job, and appreciate the flexibility and job security that the field offers. I fall into the highest tier for pay due to the number of credits I have (depends on district if you work for a school) and get a small stipend which covers my continuing education units and ASHA dues, but not much more. It is a field that is worth looking into. Happy as an SLP

Music teacher considering career change

Jan 2010


I have been an music teacher in elementary schools, preschools, and special education classes for 7 years, and I am looking for something more stable but just as rewarding. I have been observing speech therapists for some time now, and I'm considering a career change. I have a couple of requests:

1. I would love to hear from speech therapists about their work and how they like it (any area of speech therapy would be helpful).

2. I would also be interested in hearing about programs to become certified in a relatively short period of time (2 years or so). I currently hold a CA k-8 teaching credential and a masters in music education.

Thank you! anon

i am currently in the speech language pathology program at cal state east bay. because my bachelor's degree is in an area outside the field (psychology), i am having to take many prerequisites before beginning the graduate level courses. the estimated time to complete the program for me is 3.5 to 4 years. the only 2 other programs that i know of in the area are at SF state and san jose state.

i also hold a teaching credential and have 15 years of classroom experience which will be beneficial when starting therapy but don't give me an advantage in the course work necessary toward certification and licensing. i am finding the program very interesting and rewarding. the scope of practice for a speech language pathologist is quite varied. SLPs are employed in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, school districts, early intervention programs, etc. they work with people at all age levels with many many types of disorders: articulation, language, autism, swallowing, traumatic brain injury, etc. it's a growing and promising field.

only problem: state budget cuts to education may change the panorama at the state universities soon. the future of these programs are undertermined at this time good luck!

University of the Pacific is by far the quickest program. It costs more than the State schools, but if time is your priority and you don't mind moving east then it may be a good fit. It took me 3 1/2 years to complete my program at a Cal State school (graduated 2 years ago) including undergraduate classed (was a psych major in college). Good luck! love speech

Speech Pathology and Audiology at Cal State East Bay

Sept 2007

I'm considering pursuing a degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology at Cal State East Bay, I'm hoping to get some advice about the job market and career opportunities. Anyone out there in the field who can share their experience and offer me some advice on this career path? Thanks...

I am a speech pathologist and trained at the same school, though then it was called ''Hayward State.'' I am responding from the state of Washington,where I now live, but I used to live in Berkeley. A friend forwarded me your post. I did wonderful exploration with career counselor Toni Littlestone many years ago and explored so many options it made my head spin. I was nothing if not thorough, but speech pathology won over all the others. Toni helped me really listen to my heart and my mind together. I have loved this career. I have worked for others, but now have a private practice working with children. I don't have children myself, but Toni helped me realize what a tender spot I have for kids and that this works fulfills that part of me very much. I am out of touch with the market in the Bay Area, but where I live, I am flooded with business and have a waiting list. I have never regretted my decision. I had also never been self-employed, and have continued to work with Toni over the phone to build confidence in my abilities as an entrepreneur. satisfied with career

I am not a professional in the field but as a parent of a child who receives speech therapy (and has for years) I can tell you there is a shortage of therapists. I think this would be an excellent career choice. best wishes laura

Hi. I'm an SLP and think it's a great career. It's challenging mentally and you can feel good about what you're contributing to people's lives. The pay depends on what you do. It can be low or 3 figures, but basically most people fall somewhere in the $60,000 to $80,000 range. The job market is unrivaled, with opportunities all over the U.S. and world, even in non-English-speaking countries. The demand is so high you can determine your schedule for the most part, so if you have children it's a big plus. The scope of practice is wide, which can be challenging in an education sense, but great in finding what works for you. I've worked in NICUs, ICUs, rehab facilities, universities, schools, clinics, you name it with all different populations and it's brought such a great perspective to my personal life. The profession has afforded me the opportunity to travel and live in different countries too. The down sides tend to be around wanting to give more, but being limited by budgets, whether it's a hospital or a school. You know what a mess our education and health care systems are and it can be frustrating as a provider to not give what you know is the best. There are ways to deal with that, though and experienced clinician's can help. Please feel free to contact me if your questions aren't answered here by the BPN community. Good luck. Christy

Being a speech-pathologist is a hot profession right now. I have been working in an early intervention center (birth to 5 years) for the past 8 years as an SLP and I got my degree at Cal State East Bay (formerly Cal State Hayward). I get head hunted all the time from school districts, private agengies and hostpitals from all over the country. The early intervention center I work at is part of West Constra Costa Unified so I get all the great vacations that teachers get. Hope this helps and good-luck! A-