Speech pathologists, sometimes called speech therapists, help diagnose and treat patients who have conditions that affect their ability to speak and/or swallow. That includes patients who have suffered strokes, brain injuries, hearing loss, developmental delays, cerebral palsy, and even emotional problems. Speech pathologists can also work with people who are trying to learn a new language.
With an expected growth of 19% through 2022 – nearly double the average growth rate for all other occupations, 11% – the career of speech pathologist is growing more prevalent. Some reasons for that growth? Increasing lifespans and an increasingly older population mean more people are developing conditions that impact their ability to speak and communicate, while greater awareness has lead to earlier identification and diagnosis of speech-related disorders. Moreover, more people are starting to recognize the benefits of learning a second language, and many enlist the help of speech pathologists – according to the NCES, the number of students participating in English language learning programs has increased steadily year-over-year since 2002.
According to Dr. Raul Prezas, Assistant Professor of Communication Science and Disorders at Jacksonville University’s Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences, the career of a speech pathologist is both demanding and rewarding – and relying on the community can help.
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) face many challenges in the workplace, making the profession not only demanding but also rewarding. In order to meet the needs of all populations, practitioners must become life-long learners and take advantage of professional development opportunities in the local community, online, and at national and international proceedings. SLPs also should collaborate with peers, share resources, contact local and national organizations, and reach out to experts in the field.
With speech pathology booming, those interested in the career have their pick of where they want to live and work. But what places offer the best quality of life for aspiring speech pathologists? To find out, we evaluated all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) on the following criteria:
- Employment rank: Job density (speech pathologist jobs per 1,000 jobs) combined with available speech pathologist jobs and job competition (resumes per available job)
- Speech pathologist salary: Median annual salaries in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Density of foreign-born citizens: The percentage of citizens in a state who were born outside the U.S.
- Medicaid coverage: Whether a state’s Medicaid plan covers speech pathology
- Housing affordability: The average percentage of income spent on housing
- Amenities: The number of amenities per 1,000 housing units, including arts, entertainment and recreation
- CEIS funding: The amount of funding each state provides per eligible student in CEIS (Coordinated Early Intervening Services) programs
- Speech pathologists per public school: The number of speech pathologists in the state over the number of public schools in the state
- Speech pathologists per hospital: The number of speech pathologists in the state over the number of hospitals in the state
Read on to click through our top states for speech pathologists, see the top states in each category, and explore the data!
I. The Top States for Speech Pathologists
II. The Data
|Rank||State||GoodCall Score||Median Speech Pathologist Salary||Population||Housing Affordability Index||Amenities per 1,000 Housing Units||Employment Rank||CEIS Funding||% of Foreign-Born Citizens||Medicaid Coverage – Yes or No||Pathologists per Public School||Pathologists per Hospital|
|19||District of Columbia||22||$84,360||658,893||19.60%||2.30||51||$123||12.94%||No||1.68||32.73|
GoodCall evaluated the following metrics to come up with an overall score for all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia:
- The employment rank is based on a combination of job density (speech pathologist jobs per 1,000 jobs), which was taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, plus available speech pathologist jobs and job competition (resumes per available job), which were taken from Indeed.com. This metric, which shows how attractive an area is for job seekers, represents 30% of our overall score.
- Median speech pathologist salaries were taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics tool, and represent the annual median wage for speech pathologists in 2013. This represents 20% of our total score.
- Foreign-born density represents the percentage of citizens in a state who were born outside the U.S. This data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau and represents 10% of our overall score.
- Medicaid coverage evaluates whether or not a state’s Medicaid policy covers speech pathology (yes or no). This data comes from the Kaiser Family Foundation and represents 10% our overall score.
- Housing affordability was taken from the U.S. Census American Fact Finder. This is the average percentage of income spent on housing, and represents 10% of our overall score.
- Amenities represent the number of amenities per 1,000 housing units, and was calculated using data from the U.S. Census American Fact Finder. It includes arts, entertainment and recreation, and represents 5% of our overall score.
- CEIS funding represents the amount of funding each state provides per eligible student in CEIS (Coordinated Early Intervening Services) programs. This information was taken from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and represents 5% of our overall score.
- Pathologists per public school represents the number of speech pathologists in the state divided by the number of public schools in the state. This data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics and represents 5% of our overall score.
- Pathologists per hospital represents the number of speech pathologists in the state divided by the number of hospitals in the state. This data comes from the Kaiser Family Foundation and represents 5% of our overall score.
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Paul is a High Point University graduate with a B.S. in Business and a B.A. in Strategic Communication. GoodCall's resident numbers guy, Paul is a digital marketing expert who has been working in data analysis for more than 3 years. Paul contributes to GoodCall News with original data and reports.