Speech Language Pathologist Salary Guide

Speech language pathologists (SLP) help children and adults assess and correct critical problems with their speech sounds and language. Several patient types benefit from working
with SLPs, including language-delayed children, adults who lost their ability to speak after a brain injury or an illness and seniors who suffered a stroke or similar condition affecting their speech. These professionals also often help those with dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, as a side effect of cancer or another illness.

Education Requirements for Speech Language Pathologists

Most employers require SLPs to have a master’s degree at minimum. Enrolling in a master’s degree program requires a 4-year bachelor’s degree in a related field. Completing your
master’s program typically requires an additional 2 years of schooling. The time it takes to complete your education may vary based on your class schedule and the program. 

Once you’ve completed your master’s degree, you must complete a 2-year clinical fellowship with approximately 1,260 hours of mentored clinical experience.

Obtaining your education from an accredited institution within the United States and following the requirements for your degree and your state’s governing board helps you
secure high-pay speech language pathologist jobs.

Average Speech Language Pathologist Salary

$54.55/hour

The average salary for a Speech Language Pathologist is $54.55 per hour. This is 6% higher than the therapy US average of $51.47.

Last updated on April 24, 2024. Based on active jobs on Vivian.com.

Salaries for Speech Language Pathologist compared to Therapist National Averages

$54.55/hour

6% higher than the therapy US average.

$51.47/hour

United States

Where do Speech Language Pathologists get paid the most?
StateAverage Hourly SalaryMax Hourly Salary
California$61$79
Maryland$51$52
Georgia$46$58
Pennsylvania$46$46
Colorado$44$55
Texas$43$53
Illinois$37$54
What are the highest paying Employers and Agencies for Speech Language Pathologist jobs?

Last updated on April 24, 2024. Information based on active jobs on Vivian.com and pay data from BLS and around the web.

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Speech Language Pathologist Career Guide

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Ways to Increase Your Speech Language Pathologist Salary

Research Average Salaries in Your Area

Knowing what other SLPs earn, particularly in your geographic region, is one of the best tools to have when negotiating your salary. Compare the average salary to the education and experience of the typical speech pathologists in your area, then use that data to determine what your skills and experience may be worth to potential employers.

Choose a Sub-Specialty

Many employers seek speech language pathologists who specialize in a particular niche and may be willing to pay a higher salary for someone with the right background. Several specialties you might consider include:

  • Speech fluency

  • Dysphagia/swallowing disorders

  • Pediatric language delays

  • Geriatric speech-language

Obtain Specialty Certifications

Based on your specialty, you may obtain professional certifications or even board certification. Becoming a board-certified specialist helps you gain higher-paying positions and may put you in a position of authority over others in your field.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) offers the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech Language Pathology to set your expertise and dedication in the field apart from your peers. Earning this coveted certification requires you to graduate with a master’s degree from a program accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation, pass the Praxis Examination in Speech-Language Pathology and then submit an application.

Once ASHA receives your application, you may choose to join ASHA and select your mentor for completion of the required clinical fellowship. Clinical fellowship experience requires a minimum of 36 weeks and 1,260 hours. After uploading verification of completion, review of your application can take up to six weeks before ASHA grants certification.

National boards offering certification programs in SLP subspecialties include: 

  • American Audiology Board of Intraoperative Monitoring

  • American Board of Child Language and Language Disorders

  • American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders

  • American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders

Consider the Whole Package

Before turning down a speech language pathology position due to a salary below your desired amount, take any added benefits the employer offers you into account. Additional perks might include vacation days or other paid time off, investments such as a 401(k) plan, gym memberships, professional training reimbursements and medical or dental benefits. When totaled with your weekly salary, all these benefits count toward your total compensation package and may result in a better total salary than other employers offering higher wages.

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