What is the Salary of a Speech and Language Pathologist?

Written by Grad School Center Team We are a passionate team of experienced educators and advisors at GradSchoolCenter.com, dedicated to guiding students through their graduate education journey. Our experts, with advanced degrees across various disciplines, offer personalized advice, up-to-date program information, and practical insights into application processes.

Reviewed by David Krug David Krug is a seasoned expert with 20 years in educational technology (EdTech). His career spans the pivotal years of technology integration in education, where he has played a key role in advancing student-centric learning solutions. David's expertise lies in marrying technological innovation with pedagogical effectiveness, making him a valuable asset in transforming educational experiences. As an advisor for enrollment startups, David provides strategic guidance, helping these companies navigate the complexities of the education sector. His insights are crucial in developing impactful and sustainable enrollment strategies.

Updated: February 8, 2024, Reading time: 7 minutes

Salary of a Speech and Language Pathologist - featured image

Speech-language pathologists treat speech and swallowing difficulties. They help adults, children, and babies develop their communication skills. Due to neurological disorders, developmental disabilities, or injuries, they can assist you in consuming food and beverages or communicating effectively.

Medical professionals who treat disorders affecting swallowing, communication, and language are known as speech-language pathologists. 

SLPs serve people of all ages. Since these professionals are communication experts, they evaluate, diagnose, treat, and prevent speech, language, voice, and swallowing difficulties. Speech-language pathologists are better known as speech therapists.

The Work Responsibilities of a Speech Language Pathologist

The Work Responsibilities of A Speech Language Pathologist - Image

For children and adults who struggle with eating, drinking, swallowing, or communicating, speech-language pathologists offer therapy, care, and support that may change lives! These professionals assist those who have difficulty speaking and interacting due to medical or psychological issues.

In particular, SLPs are expected to:

Where Do Speech-Language Pathologists Work?

Private Practice

One common pathway for speech-language pathologists is to practice privately. They can serve patients without being connected to any one hospital, clinic, school, or other healthcare organization.

While some private practitioners may focus on treating a certain patient demographic, others may not have any specializations. SLPs who manage their private practice must be skilled in a variety of business domains, including marketing, bookkeeping, and more, in addition to delivering treatment. 

Educational Institutions

Many speech-language pathologists are designated in educational institutions. Here, they offer assistance to kids with speech and language impairments. Some of their tasks include assisting kids to understand language, communicate better, or articulate certain sounds.

SLPs may also provide consultations to educators and other staff for better understanding and supporting children with communication difficulties. 

Healthcare Facilities

SPLs can be found assisting patients in healthcare facilities. A number of illnesses, including strokes, will be treated by them in residential care settings. Some facilities may also focus on treating children or older adults. 


SLPs who work in hospitals assist in diagnosing speech, language, or swallowing difficulties in patients who have experienced disorders, injuries, accidents, and other emergencies that resulted in this situation. They could also come up with treatment programs in addition to offering direct care.

In hospital settings, SLPs are crucial in providing education on communication, language, and swallowing issues to patients, their families, and other members of the medical team. 

Research Institutes

Research on the characteristics and etiology of communication problems, as well as novel approaches to diagnosis and treatment, is carried out by certain SLPs. They could also provide fresh approaches to helping those who struggle with communication issues recover.

They could also research how various environmental factors impact communication abilities. 

How Much Does A Speech-Language Pathologist Get Paid?

SLP salaries vary depending on their level of education, level of experience, place of employment, and geographic area.


The average hourly salary for speech-language pathologists is $40.45. But the range for this hourly salary starts from $20.19 to $53.61.


Speech Pathologists in the United States earned an average monthly salary of $7,162 in 2023. But the lowest salary they receive is $3,458 per month, and the highest is $9,958. 


SLPs who worked in outpatient clinics or offices received an average salary of $93,600, while those working in nursing homes received an average salary of $101,320.

Do Salaries Differ Depending on Which State Speech Language Pathologists Practice?

Do Salaries Differ Depending on Which State Speech Language Pathologists Practice - Image

The region in which an SLP works has a significant impact on speech pathology salary, in addition to their experience and position. Urban workplaces pay more for this profession than rural and isolated locations. The most profitable speech pathologist employment is found in coastal northeastern and west coast US cities.

States and Metropolitan Areas that Pay the Most for Speech Pathologists

The cost of living is greater than normal in all of the states that pay speech pathologists the highest wages in the United States, particularly in Hawaii, California, and the District of Columbia. These states pay higher than the national average for speech pathologists and have a large need for them. Such rates may compensate for the high expense of living.

One of the most expensive regions to reside in the United States, Northern California is the highest-paying metropolitan area for individuals with degrees in Speech-Language Pathology. The high pay rates for SLPs in these locations make it ideal for such professionals.

The top 10% of speech-language pathologists, or roughly 10% of the entire speech pathology workforce, make median incomes of above $126,600.

Top-paying Industry for Speech-Language Pathologists

SLPs involved in company or enterprise management make the most money as professionals, according to the official Labor Statistics data. Similarly, those in outpatient care centers and home health care services are paid handsomely, too. 

These jobs are also becoming more prevalent as people become more conscious of the requirements of children living in residential care facilities. Speech pathology services are also beneficial to young people with autism, which is another factor behind the industry’s ongoing and steady job development.

Similarly, the need for SLPs rises as the baby boomer demographic expands.

How Can a Speech Pathologist Raise Their Salary?

How Can a Speech Pathologist Raise Their Salary - Image


While working as speech pathologists, they can test for multiple certifications after obtaining their certification of clinical competence in speech-language pathology. It is a requirement for most state licensures.

You can apply for certification as a board-certified specialist in fluency and fluency disorders, choose to concentrate on child language and language disorders or specialize in swallowing and swallowing disorders. Make sure to pass and be a certified board specialist.

Many consider the field of occupational therapy, as well when reviewing job options in this category.

Consider relocating or moving.

As mentioned, there are states or areas where salaries for speech-language pathologists could be higher. If you want to increase your pay, though, you should look into central Louisiana, some rural areas of California, western Washington, and rural Massachusetts.

Choose which industry to take part in.

The highest-paid speech pathologists are those employed by skilled care institutions. Hospital workers come in second, followed by those working in the educational services sector. A focus on Special Education can also offer rich rewards in this field for both you and your students.

Strive to continuously improve your skills.

The highest-paying professions for speech pathologists are in administration and management, so developing leadership skills can help you earn more money. This can be accomplished while pursuing continuing education, which is also necessary to preserve clinical competence for those seeking certification in speech-language pathology.

A master’s degree in the field is required to become a licensed speech-language pathologist. 

Salary of a Speech and Language Pathologist - fact

Is It Worth Becoming a Speech Pathologist?

Becoming a speech pathologist is absolutely worth it, especially considering the higher-than-average compensation. However, obtaining a degree in Speech Pathology requires investment in graduate school, clinical hours, and continuous education. Wages in this industry also rise with experience. 

Besides making good money, speech-language pathologists—particularly those who love the challenge of a special-needs or emotionally intense environment—keep fulfilling jobs. All types of therapy offer rewarding career paths!

Other therapy-related careers involve ABA therapy, working with Autistic children, or a variety of high-paying options in Counseling.

Additional Resources:

We’re certain of one thing—your search for more information on picking the best graduate degree or school landed you here. Let our experts help guide your through the decision making process with thoughtful content written by experts.