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Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists prevent, assess, diagnose, and provide counselling and rehabilitation for speech, language, voice, fluency, 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: Speech-Language Pathologists (3141.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Audiologists and SpeechLanguage Pathologists (D041) 
  • 2011 NOC: Audiologists and speech-language pathologists (3141) 
  • 2016 NOC: Audiologists and speech-language pathologists (3141) 
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

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Speech-language pathologists work with people of all ages. They help clients restore or improve their ability to speak or swallow.

In general, speech-language pathologists:

  • assess, identify and diagnose language, speech, voice, resonance, fluency and swallowing disorders
  • develop and carry out treatment plans
  • find the right diagnostic instrument and treatment for each client
  • design and use augmentative and alternative communication strategies and devices
  • work with multidisciplinary teams to assess and treat clients
  • consult with and advise others (including caregivers, educators, and health care providers) on speech and language development, communication, and difficulties
  • provide intervention treatment services
  • counsel clients and families on speech and swallowing disorders
  • work with clients on oral rest posture and tongue-thrust swallow problems
  • 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 intervene in developmental or medical 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) or age group (such as preschool children). They often work in teams. These can include:

  • audiologists
  • physicians and nurses
  • psychologists and social workers
  • teachers and educational assistants
  • occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and recreational therapists
  • speech-language assistants.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018
  • 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 (such as to community health centres, day care centres, hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centres, schools, or clients’ homes).

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Speech-language pathologists need to possess:

  • empathy
  • speaking and listening skills
  • people skills
  • the ability to find creative solutions to problems
  • the ability to work well on a team.

They should enjoy working with people and their families. They should also enjoy exploring problems in depth.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary

To practice, speech-language pathologists need a master of science (M.Sc.) 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, 2018
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists assess, diagnose, rehabilitate and prevent communication and oral motor and pharyngeal dysfunctions and disorders, and teach, manage and conduct research in the science and practice of speech language pathology.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Health Professions Act and Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists Profession Regulation, registration with the Alberta College of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (ACSLPA) is mandatory if you meet identified competency requirements and provide professional services directly to the public, teach the practice of speech-language pathology to others or supervise speech-language pathologists who provide professional services to the public. Only registered members of ACSLPA may use the protected titles and designations of speech-language pathologist, speech therapist, speech pathologist, SLP and R.SLP in Alberta.

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Most speech-language pathologists work at:

  • hospitals or health centres
  • school boards
  • private practices.

Some work as researchers at hospitals, universities or government agencies (candidates most often need a doctorate). Others manage speech and hearing programs.

Speech-language pathologists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3141: Audiologists and speech-language pathologists. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the 3141: Audiologists and speech-language pathologists occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.4% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 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: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

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
$52.37
Per Hour
Average Salary
$82,941.00
Per Year
Average Hours
30.7
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.9
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 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
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $31.26 $53.50 $42.23 $41.58
Overall $45.26 $64.15 $52.37 $52.29
Top $55.25 $76.09 $60.15 $59.66

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
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES
Educational Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

85%
85%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

86%
86%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

42%
42%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

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

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

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

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

Updated Mar 31, 2018. 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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