Medical Speech Language Pathologist Education and Career Pathway

By | July 14, 2023
Medical Speech Language Pathologist Education
The medical speech language pathologist education involves obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree. Image source: northeastern.

This post provides complete information on the medical speech language pathologist education and career pathway, including the training and certification you need to meet to become a medical speech-language pathologist.

Who is a Medical Speech Language Pathologist?

A Medical speech language pathologist is a professional who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the communication skills of individuals with language impairment.

Why Choose Medical Speech Language Pathologist Career?

Here are some of the reasons you should choose to become a medical speech language pathologist:

  1. You get to help people improve their communication skills.
  2. You can work at any age.
  3. You will have a wide variety of patients that you can treat.
  4. You will be able to make a difference in people’s lives.
  5. You will learn new things every day.
  6. You will have more job opportunities than other professions. 

Medical Speech Language Pathologist Education Requirements

Here are minimum education requirements for becoming a medical speech language therapist:

  1. A Bachelor of Science degree from a university or college that has been accredited.
  2. At least 2 years of postsecondary experience (i.e. graduate school).
  3. Completion of a residency program approved by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA).
  4. Successful completion of the ASHA Certification Examination.
  5. Licensure as a Registered Speech-Language Pathologist (RSLP) through the state board of registration.
  6. Membership in the American Academy of Audiology (AAU), which is required for certification as a hearing aid specialist.
  7. Membership in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), which is required for licensure as a speech-language pathologist.

Medical Speech Language Pathologist Continuing Education

Continuing education is important because it helps you stay up to date on the latest research and techniques.

It also allows you to keep your license current so that you can continue working.

Here are some ways to earn continuing education hours:

  1. Attend conferences and workshops.
  2. Read journals and books related to your field.
  3. Take online courses.
  4. Participate in clinical practicums.
  5. Work with clients under supervision.
  6. Write articles about your profession.
  7. Speak at local meetings.
  8. Teach others about your profession.
  9. Volunteer to teach children.
  10. Serve on committees.
  11. Become involved in community service activities.
  12. Apply for grants and awards.
  13. Attend seminars and lectures.
  14. Be active in professional organizations.
  15. Help plan events.
  16. Join professional associations.
  17. Present papers at scientific meetings.
  18. Consult with colleagues.

Medical Speech Language Pathologist Certification/License

Certification is the process whereby a person becomes licensed to practice medicine.

The following are examples of certifications/licenses available to medical speech language therapists:

  • Certified Clinical Specialist in Audiology (CCSA): This is the highest level of audiological training, and requires at least 5 years of audiological training after graduation.
  • Certified Audiologic Technologist (CAT): This is the second highest level of audiological technology training, and requires 3 years of audiological technology training after graduation.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): This is the lowest level of nursing training, and requires 1 year of nursing training after graduation.
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN): This is the next lower level of nursing training, requiring 2 years of nursing training after graduation, but does not require any additional licensing.
  • Licensed Independent Practitioner (LIP): This is the lowest form of health care provider who may prescribe medications without having to be supervised by another physician.
  • Licensed Acupuncturist (LAc): This is the lowest credential for an acupuncturist, and requires only 6 months of Chinese Medicine training after graduation.
  • Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT): This is the lowest degree of massage therapy, and requires no more than 8 weeks of massage therapy training after graduation.

Medical Speech Language Pathologist Career Pathways

Here are the career pathways available to medical speech language pathologists:

  • Speech Therapy Jobs: These jobs include assessment, evaluation, intervention, and management.
  • School Counselor Jobs: These jobs include counseling students, parents, teachers, and administrators.
  • Physician Assistant Jobs: These jobs include providing physical exams, administering immunizations, and ordering x-rays.
  • Physical Therapist Jobs: These jobs include performing occupational and physical therapy.
  • Occupational Therapist Jobs: These are jobs that provide occupational therapy services.
  • Registered Nurses Jobs: These jobs include working as nurses in hospitals or clinics.
  • Respiratory Care Workers Jobs: These jobs include helping people breathe better through breathing exercises, oxygen treatments, and respiratory equipment.

Others include:

  • Social Worker Jobs
  • Athletic Trainer Jobs
  • Dietitian Jobs

How to Advance your Medical Speech Language Pathologist Career

There are a number of ways to advance your career, they include:

  • Be Current

First, you want to keep up with current trends. You can do this by reading journals, attending conferences, and keeping abreast of new developments in the field.

There are many ways to get information about these things, including professional associations, newsletters, and websites.

  • Stay up to Date on your Licensure Requirements

You must maintain licensure in order to continue practicing. In addition to continuing education requirements, you will need to renew your license every two years.

If you have been licensed for less than five years, then you will need to take at least one renewal course each year.

  • Keep Learning New Skills

You should also learn new skills so that you stay ahead of the competition. It’s important to develop competencies in areas such as technology, research, leadership, and communication.

You can find out what skills are needed in your area by talking to colleagues, reading articles, and visiting websites.

  • Network with other Professionals

It is also important to network with other professionals in your field. You can meet others at conferences, seminars, and workshops.

Another way to build relationships is by joining professional organizations. By doing so, you will gain access to resources, information, and connections.

  • Work on Being More Personable

It is very important to be personable when you work with patients. You should be able to establish rapport with them and listen carefully to their concerns.

If you don’t know how to interact well with clients, then practice interacting with them until you feel comfortable.

More on How to Advance your Medical Speech Language Pathologist Career

  • Take Part in Research Studies

Another way to advance your career is to participate in research studies. This involves conducting studies on topics related to your profession.

For example, if you specialize in treating children with autism spectrum disorders, you could conduct a study on whether certain medications help treat symptoms associated with autism.

  • Get Involved with Government Agencies

Another way to advance your career would be to get involved with government agencies.

You could volunteer for a local agency or apply for a grant from an organization like the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

How to Find a Good Medical Speech Language Pathologist School

Here are some tips to finding a good school:

  • Visit Schools That Interest You

Before choosing a program, it is best to visit schools that interest you. You may want to talk with faculty members who teach there to see if they thought you’d enjoy working there.

Also, ask students who attended the school if they enjoyed it. If possible, attend classes at different times of day to see if you prefer morning, afternoon, or evening classes.

  • Look at The Program’s Accreditation Status

When looking at programs, make sure they are accredited by the Council on Academic Affairs of the American Speech Language Hearing Association (CAA/ASHA).

CAA/ASHA accredits more than 1,500 postsecondary institutions in the United States. Programs that are not accredited do not offer any degree or certificate programs.

  • Check out Reviews from Students Who Have Attended the School

If you plan to attend a school, check out its reviews online. There are many websites where people share their experiences about a particular school.

Some sites include and

These websites allow you to read student reviews of a school.

  • Ask your Faculty Members about their Experience Working in a Specific Field

You should also ask your professors if they have experience working in a specific field. They may be able to give you advice about the job market in that field.

  • Talk to Current Graduates of the School

Current graduates of the school can also provide insight into the program. They may be willing to answer questions about the program’s curriculum and what it was like to attend the school.

How to be Successful in your Medical Speech Language Pathologist Career

There are many ways to become successful in the medical speech-language pathologist career.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Become Certified

To be certified as a medical speech language pathologist, you must pass the ASHA exam.

The exam consists of two parts: listening and speaking. You must score 80% or higher on each part to receive certification.

  • Develop a Strong Curriculum

To develop a strong curriculum, you need to know how to diagnose problems and determine the cause of those problems.

You also need to learn how to create treatment plans for individuals with communication difficulties.

Finally, you need to understand how to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.

  • Learn more about Communication Disorders

Communication disorders are common among people with intellectual disabilities. It is important to learn more about these conditions so you can better treat them.

For example, you can learn about autism spectrum disorder, which affects social interaction skills.

  • Be Aware of New Technology

Technology has changed the way we communicate. For instance, video conferencing allows us to connect with others from all over the world.

This technology is especially useful when treating patients because they no longer have to travel long distances.

  • Keep Learning

The more knowledge you gain about communication disorders, the more valuable you will be as a medical speech language pathologist.

Therefore, keep learning new things and stay up-to-date with current research.

What Does a Medical Speech Language Pathologist Do?

A medical speech language pathologist helps people who have communication difficulties.

They work closely with other health care professionals such as physicians, nurses, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and audiologists.

Here are some examples of tasks performed by a medical speech language therapist:

  • Evaluate Patients’ Speech Sounds

When you evaluate someone’s speech sounds, you listen carefully to his or her voice and use your ears to identify any unusual patterns.

You then write down notes about what you hear.

  • Identify Problems with Voice Quality

When you examine someone’s voice quality, you look at the pitch, volume, loudness, speed, rhythm, and tone of his or her voice.

You also note whether he or she seems hoarse.

  • Help People Communicate Better

You help people communicate better through therapy. Therapy usually involves teaching techniques that increase the ability of an individual to produce clear speech.

  • Treat Children Who Have Communication Difficulties

Children with communication difficulties often have trouble communicating their thoughts.

As a result, they may not get the information they need. A medical speech language pathologist helps children learn how to speak clearly.

  • Teach Adults How to Speak Clearly

As adults, many people struggle to express themselves clearly. However, most people eventually master this skill.

If you teach adults how to speak clearly, you can improve their overall communication abilities.

Qualities of a Good Medical Speech Language Pathologist

A good medical speech language pathology student should possess the following qualities:

  • Knowledge

Students should have a thorough understanding of the field of speech language pathology. They should also be able to explain their findings clearly.

  • Ability

Students must be skilled in performing various tests and procedures used in evaluating patients.

In addition, students should have excellent listening skills and be able to accurately record patient data.

  • Interest

Students should enjoy working with individuals who have communication problems. They should also love helping others.

  • Professionalism

Students should maintain professional behavior while interacting with clients. They should always act respectfully toward them.

  • Integrity

Students must remain honest and ethical while conducting clinical trials. They should never take advantage of vulnerable populations.

Medical Speech Language Pathologist Salary

According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for a Speech Language Pathologist in the United States is $88,971.

Medical Speech Language Pathologist Job Outlook

According to the BLS, employment in the field of speech language pathology is expected to expand by 25% between 2019 and 2029.

This pace is roughly six times greater than the average level of predicted job growth for all occupations.


In conclusion, a medical speech-language pathologist is a healthcare provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders involving the vocal tract.

He or she evaluates voices and provides treatment for those who are unable to communicate effectively.

If you hope to work as a medical speech language pathologist, then you should pursue your education first.

Your studies will enable you to gain knowledge about the field. Afterwards, you can begin applying for jobs.