Online Bachelor of Communication Sciences and Disorders

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Four Rewarding Communication Sciences and Disorders Careers

If you’re motivated by a strong desire to help others, you might consider a career in communication sciences and disorders.

By earning your online Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders and meeting other necessary education and training requirements, you can seek a career as a certified assistant to an audiologist or speech-language pathologist (SLP), or you may choose to pursue further education to contribute in an even greater capacity.

A speech pathologist and a young client do a language exercise.

Because many Americans are living with some sort of speech or language disorder, professionals in the communication sciences and disorders field are in high demand. These careers are rewarding, providing an opportunity to work with people who may have difficulty communicating. This can require patience, particularly when working with children.

What are some notable employer industries for communication sciences and disorders graduates?

The primary industry hiring communication sciences and disorders graduates is healthcare. Schools and medical institutions recognize that speech-language pathologists and audiologists play an invaluable role in the educational and relational experience of a child struggling with a speech or language disorder.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association reports that more than 1 million children in U.S. public schools receive speech-language therapy for some form of speech or language impairment.

What are some typical careers for communication sciences graduates?

When you study communication sciences and disorders, you are selecting a unique path ideal for those who are passionate about the field. Through higher education, you can gain the skills to prepare for a variety of possible work environments and settings, including schools, private practices, and hospitals.

Below is a list of potential jobs you might pursue, and the skills they require. Across the board, those entering the communication sciences typically communicate well, as they often work with clients, physicians, teachers, and therapists.

It’s also important to note that many related career options may require advanced training and education.

Speech-Language Pathology Assistant

A speech-language pathology assistant, or SLPA, supplements the services provided by a licensed speech-language pathologist, sometimes providing support in administration, personnel issues, or general client care.

As such, they typically have strong organizational and written communication skills. SLPAs may only serve clients under the supervision of a licensed speech-language pathologist.

Growth and Salary

Yearly salaries average about $39,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The demand for SLPAs remains steady, as more speech-language pathologists find that having an assistant frees them up for more consultation time with clients. The requirements for SPLA certification vary from state to state.

Recommended skills to succeed:

  • Good rapport with others
  • Being detail-oriented
  • Strong communication
  • General office skills

Audiologist Assistant

When you earn your bachelor’s in communication sciences and disorders, you may find employment as an audiologist assistant. Audiologist assistants support audiologists as they serve clients who struggle with speech and language.

While each state has its own requirements for certification and job responsibilities, audiologist assistants typically perform routine tasks such as cleaning and preparing equipment, writing simple documentation, and providing general client care.

Growth and Salary

The demand for audiologist assistants remains steady as practitioners find that having an assistant reduces wait time, increases productivity, and reduces costs as the assistant takes on more general responsibilities that don’t require a licensed audiologist. The average salary is $66,000 according to data compiled by PayScale.com, although it can vary depending on location and experience.

Recommended skills to succeed:

  • Patience
  • Knowledge of audiology equipment and techniques
  • General office skills
  • Attention to detail

Speech-Language Pathologist

A licensed speech-language pathologist, also sometimes called a speech therapist, works with both children and adults with speech, language, and swallowing impairments. This position is generally only open to those with a master’s degree, but earning your bachelor’s can help position you for success if you choose to pursue graduate education.

With many possible causes of speech-language disorders (such as cleft palate, developmental delays, autism, brain injuries, etc.), a speech-language pathologist works to assess, diagnose, and treat communication and swallowing abnormalities.

While roughly half of all speech-language pathologists work in schools, others work in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, pediatric centers, and private practices. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association also reports possible careers for speech-language pathologists in research and education.

Growth and Salary

The BLS anticipates that available jobs in the SLP field will increase by 18% from 2016 to 2026 as the population ages, with increased demand for speech-language services stemming from age-related illnesses such as dementia and strokes. This increased demand allows for some flexibility in work environment, number of hours worked, and responsibilities.

As of 2017, the BLS reported the average salary for a speech-language pathologist was $59,000, while speech-language pathology director salaries ranged from $79,000 to $110,000.

Recommended skills to succeed:

  • Patience
  • Strong communication
  • Familiarity with current treatment technologies and equipment
  • Critical thinking
  • Research

Audiologist

Another option for those seeking communication science and disorders jobs is audiology. While audiologists have the same undergraduate training as speech-language pathologists, they will need to also earn a doctoral degree in audiology (Au.D.), a graduate program that teaches students to assess and diagnose auditory disorders and impairments. All states also have licensing requirements for audiologists.

Audiologists communicate with and counsel their patients, while also treating hearing problems, balance issues, and other concerns related to the ear.

Growth and Salary

Most audiologists work in hospitals or private practice, although some travel between locations, working with local schools and educational institutions. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for audiologists is over $75,000.

Recommended skills to succeed:

  • Problem-solving
  • Familiarity with current treatment technologies and equipment
  • Patience
  • Compassion

Pursue communication science and disorders jobs.

There’s a growing need for speech pathologists, audiologists, and other professionals who work in communication science careers who will play a key role in serving the nation’s aging and impaired population. Demand for these specialists is also rising due to advancements that have facilitated earlier diagnosis of speech-language impairments.

At Maryville University, you can earn your bachelor’s degree online in this discipline and prepare to enter the workforce or continue your education and seek employment as a licensed professional.

To begin your educational journey along one of these rewarding and promising career paths, learn more about our online Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Sources:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Audiology Assistants

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Career Pathway for Assistants

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, “Frequently Asked Questions: Speech-Language Pathology Assistants (SLPAs)”

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, “Learn About the CSD Professions: Speech-Language Pathology”

Houston Chronicle, “How Much Does a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Make an Hour?”

PayScale, Average Audiologist Assistant Salary

Reading Rockets, “Helping Children with Communication Disorders in the Schools”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Audiologists

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Speech Language Pathologists

ZipRecruiter, Average Salary of Audiologist Assistant Jobs