So you've graduated with a bachelor's degree in speech pathology and you're ready to start your career - exciting, right?
Except suddenly you're not sure about which route to take. Perhaps the wealth of options out there is overwhelming you. How do you choose? Where do you apply?
It’s totally fine to feel a little lost - you'll be surprised at how many new grads feel the same way. Instead of stressing out about it, view this time in your life as an exciting opportunity. You have so many possibilities at your fingertips, and a degree in speech pathology is ideal to have for a wide range of jobs. You just need to find the right fit for you.
Your skillset is an asset
The skills you have learned in your degree will be an asset for so many career paths. As a speech pathologist, you'll have excellent communication skills, fantastic empathy and compassion, adaptability, and superb teaching capabilities.
With these skills, speech pathologists are in growing demand for a wide range of job roles, in workplaces, corporate offices, disability environments, aged care, and more.
So - what next?
Where can your speech pathology degree take you?
As a speech pathology grad, you understand how the voice works. You can hear when something is not quite right and when someone is using the wrong muscles. You can work as a voice coach in a variety of different settings, whether that be helping actors with their dialects or working with clients to heal their voices and teach them how to prevent other voice injuries by using their voices in the correct way.
Interpreter or translator
A professional interpreter's job is to break down communication barriers. This can be specifically in regards to language, or helping those with disabilities or language disorders. You could find yourself working in the education sector, healthcare industry, corporate and legal settings, and many others. Being able to communicate is important in maintaining a sense of self and independence, and you'll be working with adults and children to help them achieve this.
As a speech pathologist, your qualifications give you the opportunity to work in a range of different areas. If you’re looking to experience something new and delve into the rehabilitation space, your degree in speech pathology is a great stepping stone into consulting.
As a rehabilitation consultant, you’ll be helping people with injuries or illnesses return to work. You’ll be managing their case and coordinating their care to ensure they get on that road to wellness. While not specifically relating to speech, rehabilitation consulting is hugely rewarding and helps people recover and regain independence.
Speech education provides specialised speech and language support to students living with speech and language disorders. A foundation in speech pathology is a great basis in understanding the more complex needs of children experiencing difficulty in social communication. You will monitor and evaluate your students' progress and provide individualised treatment plans for their language development, providing early intervention and ensuring they're on track. You'll also be coordinating with teachers and other staff to ensure they are well-educated and can teach in the most efficient ways for those students who do have language impairments.
Working alongside audiology
Whilst speech pathologists focus specifically on speech and voice, audiologists focus on hearing. But the truth of the matter is that hearing and speech go hand in hand, and both ultimately are dedicated to helping patients communicate effectively.
So, whilst audiologists will diagnose hearing loss and help find ways to manage it, speech pathologists within this setting will help patients and their family members understand their hearing loss and how it will affect their communication, while also teaching parents how to help their child with communication. You’ll be helping children to listen with their hearing aid and speak correctly, as well as understand and use language in a way that adapts to their situation.
Working with children
We've covered a few jobs related to children already, but there really is an abundance of children-related roles out there for speech pathologists, especially considering that children are the most likely to experience severe communication disability in comparison to others. Kids are still learning how to communicate effectively and, for those who are dealing with communication disorders, early intervention is important.
This allows you to potentially work in a school setting, helping in a wide range of ways. You may be working with special needs children, such as those living with autism, in addition to helping those who struggle with disorders like dyslexia or stuttering with their reading and communication. A big part of this is also working with teachers to help them understand and help their students while educating.
Did you know that according to Speech Pathology Australia, 1.2 million Australians have a communication disability? It can be debilitating to not be able to understand or be understood by others, and speech pathologists play a huge role in helping patients find their voice and communicate effectively.
As such, you might find yourself in a range of different working environments, including hospitals, schools, rehabilitation facilities, healthcare organisations, or within people's homes.
This may be a surprising one, but speech pathologists are often utilised in a business setting to help train employees interact with colleagues or with clients. This includes presentation skills and interviewing skills, but also more generally in regards to social communication within the corporate world. As speech pathologists have an understanding of communicating with those who live with disorders and other speech issues, they can also provide training for employees so that they can communicate better with coworkers or clients who do have special language needs.
Where do you start?
Now that you have an idea of what roles are out there for you, you can start your ideal career journey. What are you passionate about? What are you skilled in? Have a think about it, do your research, and see what you need to do to start this next chapter of your life.
If you want to explore a diverse range of perspectives and work with a variety of people, check out our Allied Health Graduate Program. You’ll not only be working with people with all manner of physical, psychological, and disability conditions, but also with a range of other Allied Health professionals who will give you further insight into their disciplines.
If you want to stay up to date on the speech pathology industry and all the opportunities available to you, pop your details down below.