Speech Language Pathologist Salary: Your 2023 Salary Guide

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Speech pathology is a career focused on helping others. Find out more about this rewarding career and how much speech pathologists can earn.

[Featured Image] A blonde, female speech pathologist works with a young male student using flashcards.

Speech language pathologists diagnose and treat both children and adults who struggle with speech impediments, processing language, pronouncing words or sounds, or swallowing and eating. These issues may result from a development delay, injury, illness, or aging.

Speech language pathology is an in-demand field, offering many opportunities for growth and flexibility within the profession. In addition to providing flexible arrangements like working part-time, full-time, remotely from home, or in an office, speech language pathologists are also well-compensated for their expertise.

In this article, you'll learn more about what speech language pathologists earn, how different factors impact their salaries, and the job outlook for the field. At the end, you'll also explore cost-effective, online courses that can help you gain job-relevant skills today.

What is the average salary for a speech language pathologist?

The average salary for a speech language pathologists ranges between $62,340 and $117,706 a year, according to various salary listing sites.

While official statistics provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that speech language pathologists can expect a median annual salary of $79,060 a year, other salary aggregation sites suggest both higher and lower annual salaries. Here's what each says [1,2,3,4]:

US BLSGlassdoorZippiaIndeed

The exact amount that you can expect to earn, though, will likely be impacted by such common factors as your work experience, the industry in which you work, and your geographic location.

Speech language pathologist salary by experience 

The more experiences you gain and the longer you work in the field of speech pathology, the more you will likely earn. If you’re new to the profession, try to gain as much experience as possible to highlight your skills and capabilities as a speech pathologist.

Here's the annual base salary you can expect to earn as a speech language pathologist based on your work experience, according to Glassdoor [2]:

  • 0-1 years: $67,631

  • 1-3 years: $68,214

  • 4-6 years: $73,492

  • 7-9 years: $79,776

  • 10-14 years: $94,233

  • 15+ years: $108,067

Speech language pathologist salary by industry 

As with most other professions, the industry in which you work has a great impact on your earning potential as a speech language pathologist. While some industries will pay more for your services due to demand, others may pay a bit less due to a less competitive market and fewer available resources.

If you're motivated to make the most money possible, here are the top-paying employers for speech language pathologists along with the median annual salary for each one, according to the US BLS [1]:

  • Nursing and residential care facilities - $99,340 

  • Hospitals; state, local, and private - $95,620

  • Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists - $93,510

  • Educational services; state, local, and private - $75,270

Speech language pathologist salary by location  

Your location can be a significant factor in your earning potential as a speech pathologist. According to the US BLS, for example, the highest-paying states for speech language pathologists are California, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia [5]. Working in a metropolitan area may also afford you more opportunities for higher-paying positions, depending on the state where you work. 

To help you get a better idea of what you can expect to earn, here's the average base salary for speech pathologists in ten different cities, according to Glassdoor.

LocationAverage annual base pay
New York, NY$98,069
Los Angeles, CA$94,597
Washington, DC$82,389
Philadelphia, PA$97,047
Chicago, IL$106,091
Houston, TX$91,859
Iowa City, IA$93,667
St. Louis, MO$90,922
Miami, FL$87,501
Cincinnati, OH$88,033

Earning Board Certified Specialists (BCS)

Specializing in an area of speech pathology can affect your income as you may earn more with additional credentials. You may also be able to work in higher-paying industries with a specialization. 

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national organization that certifies speech pathologists. Many employers require ASHA’s Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) and some states use this certification to award licensure, but the ASHA also offers optional board-certified specialists (BLS) certifications.

These certifications are intended for anyone who wants to work with a specific population or with a specific disorder. A few BCS options to consider: 

  • Child Language and Language Disorders (BCS-CL)

  • Fluency and Fluency Disorders (BCS-F)

  • Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (BCS-S)

Outside of the ASHA, you can earn specialized certifications through organizations that advocate for and provide research for certain conditions or through colleges and universities that offer courses and certifications. For example, the Lee Silverman Treatment Certification (LSVT-LOUD) certification for speech language pathologists prepares you to work with patients with Parkinson’s or other neurological disorders.

Speech language pathologist job outlook

The job outlook for speech language pathologists is very positive over the coming years.

According to the US BLS, the number of speech language pathologists positions is expected to grow by 21-percent between 2021 and 2031, resulting in approximately 14,000 new jobs every year throughout the decade [6]. This is significantly faster job growth than is projected for all occupations in the United States, which the US BLS pegs at just five percent during the same time period.

An aging baby boomer population, advancements in life-saving medical technology, and a growing awareness of speech and language disorders all contribute to the increasing demand for professionals in the field. Read more: Is Health Care a Good Career Path? Outlook, Jobs, and More

Next steps

Speech language pathologists can help people learn to communicate better or overcome oral motor challenges, which is a life-changing skill.

If you’re interested in becoming a speech language pathologist, research accredited graduate programs and think about which population you’d like to work with and what type of therapy you’d like to offer. You might also consider taking a cost-effective, online course to help you gain job-relevant skills and knowledge.

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Article sources


US BLS. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Speech-Language Pathologists, Pay, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/speech-language-pathologists.htm#tab-5." Accessed January 18, 2023.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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