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Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists prevent, assess, diagnose, and provide counselling and rehabilitation for communication and swallowing disorders.

Also Known As

Communication Consultant, Language Therapist, Rehabilitation Services Practitioner, Speech Pathologist, Speech Therapist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 3141.2: Speech-Language Pathologists

2006 NOC-S

  • D041: Audiologists and SpeechLanguage Pathologists

2011 NOC

  • 3141: Audiologists and speech-language pathologists

2016 NOC

  • 3141: Audiologists and speech-language pathologists

2021 NOC

  • 31112: Audiologists and speech-language pathologists

2023 OaSIS

  • 31112.02: Speech language pathologists
Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) help clients restore or improve their ability to communicate or swallow. They assess, identify, diagnose, and provide intervention for communication and swallowing disorders. Communication disorders include issues related to speech, language, voice, and fluency. SLPs also help with cognitive communication disorders caused by injuries to parts of the brain that control a person’s ability to think.

Speech-language pathologists:

  • Develop and carry out treatment plans
  • Find the right diagnostic instrument and treatment for each client
  • Counsel clients and families on communications and swallowing disorders
  • Consult with and advise others, such as caregivers, educators, and other health-care providers, on communication and swallowing
  • Design and use augmentive and alternative communication strategies and devices
  • Refer clients to other health-care professionals as needed
  • Provide accent-reduction training
  • Provide gender-affirming voice and communication training
  • Take part in research and public education
  • Develop and monitor service delivery and public education
  • Educate and supervise students, professionals, and support staff
  • Keep and manage client records

Speech-language pathologists may provide services for developmental or acquired conditions. This can include one-to-one therapy, group therapy, or consulting with parents and others. Goals vary depending on the situation and family needs. For instance, one client might need to learn to speak clearly enough to be understood. Another might need to relearn how to swallow after a stroke.

Speech-language pathologists may specialize in a specific disorder, such as stuttering. They may also specialize in a certain age group, such as preschool children. They often work in teams with other professionals. These can include:

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Speech-language pathologists generally work standard weekday office hours. Some may work weekends or evenings.

They may have to travel to different settings such as:

  • Community health centres
  • Daycare centres
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Rehab centres
  • Schools
  • Clients’ homes

Speech-language pathologists may provide virtual services when appropriate.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Speech-Language Pathologists

2006 NOC: 3141.2

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
METHODICAL

Interest in administering tests and examinations and observing patients to diagnose and evaluate speech, voice, resonance, language, cognitive-linguistic and swallowing disorders

INNOVATIVE

Interest in co-ordinating research programs; in conducting research on speech and other communication disorders and on the development and design of diagnostic procedures and devices; and in establishing group and personalized care plans working as a member of an interdisciplinary team

SOCIAL

Interest in instructing patients by planning and implementing remedial programs to correct speech, language and voice disorders

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Speech-language pathologists need:

  • Compassion and empathy
  • Humility
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Writing, speaking, and listening skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Analytical and critical-thinking skills
  • Relationship-building skills
  • The ability to manage and priorize multiple tasks
  • The ability to work in a fast-paced environment or with high caseloads
  • Creative problem-solving skills
  • The ability to work well independently and on a team
  • The ability to work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Audiologists and speech-language pathologists

2016 NOC: 3141

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 36 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Mar 10, 2022 and Jun 12, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Health benefits: Health care plan
Construction Specialization: Effective interpersonal skills
Construction Specialization: Team player
Construction Specialization: Excellent written communication
Security and Safety: Criminal record check
Construction Specialization: Values and ethics
Construction Specialization: Excellent oral communication
Construction Specialization: Dependability
Construction Specialization: Flexibility
Construction Specialization: Reliability
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary

Speech-language pathologists need a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. Universities and colleges throughout Alberta offer 4-year bachelor’s degree programs that provide suitable preparation for this program.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Other universities in Canada and the United States also offer masters’ programs in speech-language pathology.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists prevent, assess, diagnose, and provide counselling and rehabilitation for communication and swallowing disorders. They also teach, manage, and conduct research in the science and practice of speech-language pathology.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf], Health Professions Restricted Activity Regulation [pdf], and Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists Profession Regulation [pdf], registration with the Alberta College of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (ACSLPA) is mandatory. Only registered members may provide restricted activities specified in the Regulations. This includes those who:

  • Meet identified competency requirements and provide professional services directly to the public
  • Teach the practice of the profession to others
  • Supervise registered members
  • Use the titles and designations: speech-language pathologist, speech therapist, speech pathologist, SLP, and RSLP

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Speech-Language Pathologist.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Most speech-language pathologists work at:

  • Hospitals or health centres
  • Daycares and preschools
  • School boards
  • Private practices

Many speech-language pathologists work in programs that are publicly funded, such as:

  • Early childhood programs in schools and not-for-profit organizations with program unit funding (PUF) grants
  • Specialized services provided by agencies in client homes through the Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) program

Those who specialize in older age groups or neurological conditions may work in continuing-care facilities. Some work as researchers at hospitals, universities, or government agencies. Others manage speech and hearing programs.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 3141: Audiologists and speech-language pathologists occupational group, 96.7% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 3141: Audiologists and speech-language pathologists occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 2.2% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 36 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2024

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Audiologists and speech-language pathologists

2016 NOC: 3141
Average Wage
$52.47
Per Hour
Average Salary
$85,629.00
Per Year
Average Hours
31.8
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.9
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3141 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $36.74 $50.18 $42.68 $41.58
Overall $42.10 $59.07 $52.47 $53.35
Top $50.00 $66.63 $56.39 $55.25

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

ALL INDUSTRIES
Educational Services
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
56%
56%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
18%
18%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
4%
4%
Vacancy Rate
1%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Alberta College of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (ACSLPA) website: www.acslpa.ca

Alberta Speech-Language Association of Private Practitioners (ASAPP) website: asapp.ca

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: hsaa.ca

Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC) website: www.sac-oac.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2024. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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