Salary of a Speech-Language Pathologist

Salary of a Speech-Language Pathologist

Salary of a Speech-Language Pathologist: How much can you expect to earn?

How much money can you expect to make as a Speech-Language Pathologist? Is that pricey masters degree actually worth it? What exactly is the salary of a Speech-Language Pathologist?

There are several factors that play into how much an individual makes in any field. As you are probably aware, the salary of a Speech-Language Pathologist can vary based on factors such as 

  1. Educational background, 
  2. Years of work experience in the field, and
  3. Geographical location. 

If you are trying to determine whether obtaining your Speech-Language Pathology degree is a financially worthwhile investment, or where in the country you can make the best living earning the highest Speech-Language Pathologist salary, this article is for you.

Salary of a Speech-Language Pathologist
Money, money, money, money, monAY. Muuuuuuh-NAY.

Speech-Language Pathologist Salary: A Survey of Several States

There are, of course, a variety of reasons why people consider pursuing a career in the field of Speech-Language Pathology. This field is a helping profession and many aspiring Speech-Language Pathologists have a strong desire to support others and make a huge impact in their lives and the lives of those close to them by assisting in their communication skills. Other aspiring Speech-Language Pathologists may also be interested in using their knowledge and skills for research or teaching purposes. Hopefully, if someone decides to pursue a career in this field, she or he simply enjoys conducting speech therapy sessions or treatment with children or adults who have communication and/or swallowing challenges. Still, most of us need to earn a salary to make a living, which is probably why you are reading this article; to determine what is the salary of a Speech-Language Pathologist in varying geographical areas and across the industries that hire these professionals. 

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Speech-Language Pathologists earned an average salary of $79,120 in 2019. 

For the sake of comparison, the average Speech-Language Pathologist salary is higher than that earned by special education teachers ($61,030) and lower than physical therapists ($89,440). 

Salary of a Speech-Language Pathologist
California Luuuuve??

In different states or regions across the country Speech-Language Pathologist salary varies greatly. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled data for Speech-Language Pathologist salary in the following states for the year 2019:

StateEmploymentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
New York12,750$43.66$90,820
New Jersey6,340$45.67$95,000
District of Columbia310$44.99$93,570
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Additionally, the Speech-Language Pathologist salary often varies according to industry (e.g., school-based vs various medical positions). 

The following table with the highest levels of employment of Speech-Language Pathologists per industry, along with Speech-Language Pathologist salary, was compiled by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics as well:

IndustryEmployment Hourly mean wageAnnual mean wage 
Elementary and Secondary Schools58,790$34.85$72,480
Offices of Other Health Practitioners35,800$41.76$86,870
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals16,090$40.97$85,220
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)6,400$45.60$94,840
Home Health Care Services6,340$40.74$84,740
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Top-Paying Speech-Language Pathologist Salary by Industry

And, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data from 2019, top paying industries for this occupation are the following:

IndustryEmployment Hourly mean wageAnnual mean wage 
Management of Companies and Enterprises570$50.22$104,450
Offices of Physicians1,060$48.25$100,360
Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly720$47.02$97,790
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services70$46.91$97,580
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)6,400$45.60$94,840
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Salary of a Speech-Language Pathologist
School’s out for summer.

Considerations for the Initial Speech-Language Pathologist Salary Offer: Negotiate!

It is important to remember that the average salaries include individuals that have worked many years in the profession, and that starting salaries in a given location are likely significantly lower.

Indeed, during a Speech-Language Pathologist’s first year or so after graduating, known as the Clinical Fellowship year, the Speech-Language Pathologist salary is often much lower.

To that end, it is worth it to develop your negotiation skills before accepting the first Speech-Language Pathologist salary offered to you by any given employer. Speech-Language Pathology is a female-dominated industry and it is no secret that, while strides and improvement on closing the pay gap have been made in the past generation, women tend to earn less than men, on average. And, since a rising tide lifts all boats, by negotiating for a higher Speech-Language Pathologist salary, you contribute to the added bonus of helping to raise the standard of pay for the profession.

As a Speech-Language Pathologist, you are a highly educated and skilled professional.You deserve to be well-compensated for your time, effort, knowledge and expertise! Realize this!

To recap, in order to achieve Speech-Language Pathologist salary you deserve, not the first salary you were offered, it may help to remember the following:

  1. Women are more likely than men to underestimate their professional value. Banish any thoughts that you are not worthy of a higher Speech-Language Pathology salary! You are a highly-educated, highly-skilled professional. Know your worth. (Source: N.Y. Times
  1. Do your research. Many sites in addition to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics collect salary data. You can check out Glassdoor,, and Payscale, to name a few. (Source: N.Y. Times)
  1. You have the greatest negotiating power once you have been offered a position and have not yet accepted; the hiring team has invested time and resources and have come to an agreement that they want to hire you (Source: U.S. News).
Salary of a Speech-Language Pathologist
All the mommas who profit dollas . . . throw your hands up at me!

In addition to considering the salary for Speech-Language Pathology, determine whether or not the profession is a great fit for you.

Speech-Language Pathology is a specialized field that can be rewarding, challenging and exciting. If you are interested in the possibility of becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist, it is important to consider the cost of your degree, how much money you could make versus expected school loans, as well as the potential career paths you are interested in as a Speech-Language Pathologist.

Most importantly, decide whether or not this is the right line of work for you:

  • Do you actually enjoy the everyday practice of Speech-Language Pathology?
  • Reach out to several different Speech-Language Pathologists in different settings and ask if you can shadow them before you commit your time, money and energy to a program. 
  • Ask questions, such as, “If you had the ability to do anything different career-wise, would you?”
  • Speak to recent graduates to learn about what the job market is like, now, for someone a few years out of school. 

After all, life is short but the days are (can be) long.

Of course, we’re always here at Speech Therapist Tools to support the Speech-Language Pathology community. Please reach out to us if you have any questions about the profession that we might be able to help with.

We would like to extend a special thanks to Element5 Digital, Clker-Free-Vector-Images, sallyjermain, and Alexander Schimmeck for the use of their photos.

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