What is a speech therapist?

Not many people know what a speech therapist is.  A speech therapist can also be referred to as a speech-language pathologist (SLP), speech pathologist, or speech teacher – it depends on the setting in which you find them.  Speech therapists work in hospitals, home health, skilled nursing facilities, schools, private practice clinics, early intervention, colleges, and research labs, among many other places.

What do speech therapists do?

In a nutshell, speech therapists help empower people to communicate the things that matter most to them.  They help people recuperate, maintain, or improve cognitive, linguistic, speech, voice and swallowing function.  Wait, swallowing function?  That seems strange, right?  The muscles and body parts you use to chew and swallow are the same ones you use for speech and voice.  Speech therapists can treat people with autism, articulation difficulties, language disorders or delay, voice disorders, swallowing or feeding disorders, hearing impairment, stroke – this list is long!  Many speech therapists have a specialty – at our clinic in Lakewood, Colorado we specialize in bilingual children.

How do you become a speech therapist?

Speech therapists have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from a university accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.  They must complete 400 training hours while in graduate school and a clinical fellowship year after they graduate.  After they finish their clinical fellowship year they can apply for a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association and state licensure depending on where they practice.  In order to keep their Certificate of Clinical Competence they must complete at least 30 hours of continuing education every three years.

As always, the therapists at Speech & Health are up to date on their Certificates of Clinical Competence, state licensure, and always strive to learn more by enrolling in relevant continuing education courses.  We are always happy to answer questions and we offer free screenings!