Speech pathologists and audiologists help clients identify what problems exist and how best to help them hear better and speak more clearly. Clients may have problems due to strokes, developmental delay, syndromes, physical impairments, etc. The audiologist can diagnose hearing problems by using a series of hearing tests and determine if their client would benefit from a hearing aid or other assistive listening device. The speech pathologist can complete evaluations and treatment for a wide variety of disorders of speech and language, including things like stuttering, lisping, and voice problems. They may also determine the factors contributing to the problem and suggest treatment options. They can work in a wide range of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, geriatric facilities, etc.
Students interested in speech pathology and audiology should be good communicators and problem solvers. They should have the desire to help others and be able to communicate well with the client as well as family members. A background or interest in science, psychology, art, music, education, linguistics and languages is helpful. They should have patience for working with patients as progress in treatment can vary across individuals. Students will need to have a Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology or Audiology and pass a licensing exam in order to practice in the state of Minnesota.
There are many options for people with a bachelor's degree in Speech and Hearing Science. There are opportunities in social service careers such as case management, careers in business focusing on communication skills, hearing aid sales, as well as graduate research and educational opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment outlook for this profession is expected to increase faster than average.