What does a medical speech-language pathologist do?

A medical speech-language pathologist works in health care and diagnoses and treats a wide range of speech, language, cognitive and swallowing disorders. Medical speech-language pathologists work with patients affected by a variety of neurological events, such as brain damage, stroke, seizure or cancer. They may also work with patients who suffer from chronic diseases or who have experienced a trauma.

Speech pathologists examine patients and create treatment plans tailored to their needs. These patients may have speech articulation issues, voice quality problems or language disorders. Treatment could be modifying a patient’s diet or prescribing a speech-generating device.

People they work with: Doctors, audiologists, patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly and their families

Where they work: Hospitals, outpatient clinics, and rehabilitation facilities  

Career outlook for a medical speech-language pathologist

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment of speech-language pathologists to grow much faster than average. This is due to the large baby-boom population ages, there will be more instances of health conditions that cause speech or language impairments, such as strokes and hearing loss. Secondly, medical advances are improving the survival rate of premature infants and trauma victims, who may benefit from speech therapy.

With further education, some speech-language pathologists can become educators or researchers. Others can advance into management or administrative positions with greater responsibilities.

Medical speech-language pathologist programs at Mayo Clinic

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