Speech-Language Pathologist Salary: How Much Can You Make?
Speech-Language Pathology recently ranked as #11 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 Best Healthcare Jobs list. Helping to improve patients’ communication skills – a critical component of the human experience – can be a hugely rewarding profession, but this field offers other perks, too.
There is flexibility in where speech-language pathologists (sometimes referred to as “speech therapists” or “speech pathologists”) can work. Check out these 7 SLP Career Settings to Explore, from schools to hospitals to private practice and more. There is also strong job demand for SLPs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for SLPs is expected to grow 21% through 2031, more than four times the current average for all U.S. occupations.
And, SLPs earn a good living. The rise of inflation makes salary more important than ever when choosing a career or considering a new one, especially one that requires a graduate degree, like Speech-Language Pathology.
In this article, we’ll dive into what speech-language pathologists can make, both regionally and depending on the various settings where SLPs can work.
Average Speech-Language Pathologist Salaries
How much do speech-language pathologists make? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage nationwide for speech-language pathologists in 2021 was $79,060. The lowest 10 percent of SLPs earned less than $51,310, with the top 10% of SLPs earning more than $125,560.
Factors Affecting Speech-Language Pathologist Salaries
Several factors can influence an SLP salary and make you a top earner in the field. They include:
- Where you live and work in the U.S.
- Your career setting
- Years of experience
Where you live and work in the U.S.
According to the BLS, these are the top-paying states for speech-language pathologists, and the average salary for each as of 2021*:
|District of Columbia||$98,240|
If you’re interested in this field, you will want to research what the average speech-language pathologist salary is in your area. For example, in the Philadelphia area, where Gwynedd Mercy University is located, the average SLP salary is $90,110, the BLS reports.*
Your Career Setting
As shared above, one of the benefits of this career is the ability to work in a broad spectrum of professional settings. According to the BLS*, here is what you can expect to make as an SLP in these specific career settings:
- Nursing and residential facilities: $99,340
- Hospitals (state, local, and private): $95,620
- Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists: $93,510
- Educational services (state, local, and private): $75,270
*May 2021 data
Years of Experience
As with any career, SLP advancement opportunities and increased earning potential can come with years of experience of working in the field.
An American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) 2021 SLP Health Care Survey: Annual Salary Report shares the median annual salaries for the following levels of experience:
- SLPs who were primarily clinical service providers: $78,000
- SLPs who were primarily administrators or supervisors but who did see some patients: $92,000
- SLPs who were exclusively administrators or supervisors: $105,000
According to the ASHA report, these were the 2021 salaries by SLP years of experience:
|Years of Experience||Average Salary|
|25 or more years||$95,000|
How to Increase Your Salary as a Speech-Language Pathologist
All SLPs have to complete continuing education hours to keep their certification current, though this doesn't necessarily increase salaries. However, an advanced degree such as a PhD or EdD (a doctorate degree) could help increase your salary, particularly as they can lead to jobs with higher salaries, such as administrators.
Specialized skills, such as being bilingual, can lead to a higher salary – or, specialization with a particular population, for example, clients with dysphagia, autism, etc.
Networking and Reputation
Making connections in your field and developing a reputation as an effective, compassionate SLP can lead to new career opportunities with potentially higher salaries, especially for SLPS working in private practices who need to maintain a base of clients.
As outlined above per the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), SLP salaries rise with years of experience.
Choose Gwynedd Mercy University to Begin Your Speech-Language Pathology Career
Competitive salary, in addition to the many other perks that come with this line of work, make Speech-Language Pathology an attractive career choice. To become an SLP, you must earn a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders and a master’s degree from a CAA accredited speech-language pathology graduate program.
Gwynedd Mercy University offers a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology Program that prepares students to prevent, assess, and treat all aspects of human communication and swallowing disorders. Graduates of GMercyU program are eligible to begin their Clinical Fellowship Experience and apply for an American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC), state licensure, and school certification, so you can launch a well-paid, in-demand SLP career and start making a difference in the field.
If you’re considering a career change but have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than communication disorders, GMercyU offers a one-year, online SLP Prerequisites Program that will prepare you to meet the admissions curriculum criteria for GMercyU’s MS in SLP program, as well as for other speech-language pathology graduate programs with similar requirements.
Explore our programs to get started today!