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What are the pros and cons of using your Speech and Language Pathology degree in a school setting compared to a clinical setting?

I'm trying to figure out if I want to be a Speech Therapist in a school or work with patients in a Doctor's Office / Therapy Clinic.

#speech-language-pathology #speech-language-pathologist #speech-therapy #speech-therapist #audiology

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Felicia’s Answer

PROs:

  1. School Settings always need SLPs, as students with speech and language disorders are constantly being identified throughout the school year.
  2. School settings have set workinghours with weekends, holidays and summer months off.
  3. School settings generally have collaborative teams consisting of classroom teaches, reading room teachers, guidance counselors, school nurses and/or school audiologists.
  4. School settings have semester or year long periods over which to treat and re-assess students.

CONs:

  1. Sometimes there are very high caseloads .
  2. Salary may vary across different cities and states , private and public schools
  3. Not all students evaluated and recommended for speech services are approved to receive speech services .
  4. There are many forms to fill out, a lot of paperwork associated with Individual Education Plans.



Felicia recommends the following next steps:

Talk to your clinical externship supervisor about being assigned to a school setting .
Talk to your clinical fellowship supervisor about being assigned to a school setting .
Ask your local school principal if you can ask the school speech therapist if you may shadow them for a feasible length of time.
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Jennifer’s Answer

I would add that school SLPs salary is much more reliable and consistent than a clinical setting. While some clinical settings do offer salary, many if not most pay on a per client basis, so if the client does not show or cancels, the SLP is not paid. This can be an added stress, especially for new SLPs just starting out and having to pay off student loans, etc. Having done both settings (school first, then clinic for 5 years, then school again), what I missed most about the schools when I was in the clinic was the collaboration with other school professionals. I will say that I feel that clinic or hospital based SLPs are more respected across other fields. School SLPs are not always appreciated for their unique skill set and areas of expertise. Many times were are considered "speech teachers" rather than therapists. There is often a lack of understanding of our role, even with lots of information given to school staff. :) Good luck in your decision!
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