What Are the Job Duties of Speech Therapists Working in School Districts?

Speech therapists working in school districts have a variety of job duties associated with testing, assessing, and treating students for speech problems. Specific job duties for speech therapists working in school districts may include identifying speech difficulties, devising treatment plans, and working with teachers and parents as well as the student. Schools offering Bilingual and Multicultural Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Speech therapists, otherwise known as speech-language pathologists, work to assess, identify, and develop treatment plans for speech disorders in children and adults. Disorders can include stuttering, speech rhythm and fluency problems, or the inability to produce certain sounds. Job duties can include helping with language and/or swallowing problems, or helping improve language and communication skills.

Important Facts about this Occupation

Average Salary (2014)$66,910 (for speech therapists in elementary or secondary schools)
Job Outlook (2012-2022)19% growth in employment (faster than average)
Entry-Level EducationMaster's degree; bachelor's degree sometimes accepted
TrainingMost degree programs include supervised clinical experience
Licensing/CertificationLicense required in most states; certification available but voluntary
Similar OccupationsAudiologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Psychologists

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Duties and Responsibilities

The role of speech therapists in schools is to assess the individual needs of students and design programs to best aid students with language and speech problems. Treatment plans often involve working with students and their families and teachers. Speech therapists will work with students who have difficulty swallowing, refining students' enunciation skills, providing vocal instruction, and helping students who have suffered the loss of their voices. In addition to devising treatment programs and assisting students in school, speech therapists will additionally work with parents and teachers, instructing them on how to implement treatment elements for patients.

Speech therapists must keep accurate records and reports, and they're responsible for writing evaluations and education plans. Similar to the teachers with whom they work, speech therapists must attend all required meetings such as parent conferences. Often, therapists are expected to keep up-to-date in the field by attending conferences and reading literature related to the field. Additional job duties may include:

  • Evaluating student progress and determining if treatment should end
  • Selecting appropriate technology and material for the student
  • Monitoring communication skills of a student in a number of settings
  • Referring student to appropriate agency or special services, if needed
  • Ordering equipment and supplies and requesting physical facilities
  • Scheduling treatment sessions for each student
  • Screening students for speech problems

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