The Profession of Speech-Language Pathology
Speech-language pathology is a unique profession with roots in both education and
health. Speech-language pathologists evaluate and treat speech, language, cognitive,
voice, swallowing, fluency, and related disorders of communication. They may also
work with individuals who are hearing impaired or those who have oral-motor problems
that cause speech, eating, and swallowing difficulties resulting from neurological
compromise. The Department of Speech-Language Pathology at ULM offers both a B.S.
and an M.S. degree. The undergraduate program prepares students for a graduate program
in Speech-Language Pathology or Audiology. The graduate program prepares students
to provide direct clinical services in hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers,
and private practice.
Health Care in the United States is changing rapidly which has a direct impact on the employment outlook for speech-language pathologists. Several issues that contribute to this impact are the increase in the population of individuals over 65 years of age, medical advances in survival rates for premature infants, and other medical advances that have improved the outcome for persons affected by stroke. These factors all contribute to an employment outlook for speech-language pathologists that demonstrates faster growth than average. Employment in educational facilities is also expected to increase as a result of an increase in numbers of students with special education needs. Contract services with private practitioners is also expected to increase as many hospitals, schools, nursing care facilities, and rehabilitation centers often opt to contract with speech-language pathologists in private practice.