Speech Language Pathologist Job Outlook
Faster than average
employment growth is projected. Job opportunities are expected to be
Employment change. Employment of
speech-language pathologists is expected to grow by 19 percent from 2008 to
2018, faster than the average for all occupations. As the members of the
baby-boom generation continue to age, the possibility of neurological disorders
and associated speech, language, and swallowing impairments increases. Medical
advances also are improving the survival rate of premature infants and trauma
and stroke victims, who then need assessment and sometimes treatment.
Employment in educational services will increase with the growth in
elementary and secondary school enrollments, including enrollment of special
education students. The 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a
Federal law that guarantees special education and related services to all
eligible children with disabilities. Greater awareness of the importance of
early identification and diagnosis of speech and language disorders in young
children will also increase employment.
In healthcare facilities, restrictions on reimbursement for therapy services
may limit the growth of speech-language pathologist jobs in the near term.
However, the long-run demand for therapists should continue to rise as growth in
the number of individuals with disabilities or limited function spurs demand for
The number of speech-language pathologists in private practice should
increase because hospitals, schools, and nursing care facilities will contain
costs by increasingly contracting out for these services.
Job prospects. In addition to job growth,
a number of job openings in speech-language pathology will be due to
retirements. Opportunities should be favorable, particularly for those with the
ability to speak a second language, such as Spanish. Demand for speech-language
pathologists can be regional so job prospects are expected to be favorable for
those who are willing to relocate, particularly to areas experiencing difficulty
in attracting and hiring speech-language pathologists.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition
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Pathologist Job Outlook