Today we are continuing our dialogue on the field of speech-language pathology. Is speech-language pathology right for you? For those of you considering this awesome profession, we want to provide real, honest feedback on what we do and how we feel as speech-language pathologists. Check out our initial post about whether speech-language pathology is right for you. Let’s get down to more of the nitty-gritty.
How Stressful Is Your Job?
Is my job stressful? At times. Is it challenging? Always and I love it. Is it meaningful? Every single second. As a school-based SLP, I am able to spend my time working with students and collaborating with teachers to provide specialized skills that could potentially impact the 1200+ hours a student spends in school during the year. As a SLP in the clinic, I am able to work alongside parents to help support client’s budding communication skills through some fun and awesome play therapy.
Personally, I do not feel that you can go wrong in this field. You can work in the schools, private sector, home health, rehabilitation centers or open your own business. There will always be meaningful work available to you.
I am considering a career in speech-language pathology. After reading negative comments in various SLP forums, I am reconsidering. The negative comments included complaints about paperwork, hard to deal with parents, boredom with the job, and other such pessimistic attitudes. I am curious if these are true for you?
Let’s dig a little deeper about the negative comments you are reading:
1. There is paperwork, and paperwork is not fun. All of us got into the profession to help people, and paper is not a living entity. Keep in mind that this paperwork helps us to document our goals and progress. This is an important (though not thrilling) part of our job. Over time and with creativity, there are ways to efficiently complete the paperwork.
2. I have worked in the schools for almost a decade, and I love it with every cell in my body. Parents are challenging. To be very honest, I do not expect anything less. Parents are advocating for their children. Whether or not we agree with their comments and suggestions 100% of the time, there are good and important reasons why it was conveyed. And, we are the ones who get to build trust and work collaboratively with families to move forward. My most “challenging” parents made me rethink why I was doing something in the manner I chose. It made me reevaluate and do better. I learned a great deal, and I became a better speech-language pathologist because of their passions. I am grateful for all of my parents.
3. Truth be told, I have not yet been bored in my profession. I have worked in the schools, private clinic and trained SLPs and educators—this job is dynamic and evolving. There are always paths that need improvement, strategies that need to be shared and communication passions that need to ignite students, clients and fellow SLPs. If boredom does exist in one’s job, then I would reconsider another professional route. This job is not for everyone, and that’s okay.
4. I am honored to have the opportunity to support SLPs and educators in the state of Texas. They all work hard, and the work is getting harder. I live the life, and I empathize. So, I understand the pessimism. I am also confident about macro-level strategies that could alleviate what we are doing in our profession. We have a job to do, and there are smarter ways of doing it. Specifically, I have information on working with those living in poverty, service delivery models for school-based SLPs and strategies for building collaborative, interdisciplinary teams. I feel for all of my SLPs, and I am confident there are ways to make our jobs more efficient and effective.
As you can see, I am passionate about this field. I do not discount the challenges, and I have embraced them as opportunities to make our profession better.
Here is a (positive and honest!) video of why school-based SLPs love their job:
For good measure, here’s another video of a few of my awesome colleagues!