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connieg's Message:

I am a former SLP who turned into an elem ed teacher. I agree with much of the previous posters' advice, but a very important consideration is that the degree is much more intense and difficult compared to most education degrees. You need hundreds of clinical hours and then must pass a difficult exam. The coursework is quite technical and scientific. This all explains why SLPs are in demand.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
connieg 10-12-2018 03:11 AM

I am a former SLP who turned into an elem ed teacher. I agree with much of the previous posters' advice, but a very important consideration is that the degree is much more intense and difficult compared to most education degrees. You need hundreds of clinical hours and then must pass a difficult exam. The coursework is quite technical and scientific. This all explains why SLPs are in demand.

twingrlsinCA 05-29-2018 08:55 PM

So I thought I wanted to do this too, but after getting a second degree (BS) in communication disorders and deaf education, I went back to teaching instead. Since then, I've worked closely with SLPs during IEP meetings etc. Yes, you will need a second masters degree AFTER you complete all the prerequisite coursework. I have a PhD in another field and I am a good student, and it was challenging to get all the prerequisites done and maintain a 4.0 - when I was looking into a masters degree in speech about 5 years ago it was VERY competitive trying to get into graduate school and grad school is intense (lots of hard classes and clinics - you will be on campus for 10 hour days and that was not compatible with our family life because I had young kids at the time). If you are interested, Utah State University has a great online program to get your undergraduate degree/prereqs done online (COMDDE). It's the one I did to get all of my prerequisites done. I decided that even though teaching and prepping and grading is a ton of work, SLPs work just as hard - and spend a lot more time on paperwork and at IEP meetings. I couldn't see myself spending all my time writing goals for students, trying to schedule group and individual therapy, getting all the paperwork done and doing IEP meetings, and I did not want to work with anyone older than middle school students and I did not want to work with adults in a Skilled Nursing Facility. Shadow an SLP if you are truly interested - it was not really what I expected it to be. Maybe switch grade levels or districts instead. The grass is always greener...

Guest374859 05-19-2018 09:34 PM

I think there are some good SLP positions but I work in a metro area and it turns out to be 50 to 60 hour work weeks. My loved ones have gotten frustrated that they dont get to see me much on weekends due to paperwork. I used to work for a small contract company with a low stress small caseload and it was wonderful but didnt have benefits so I had to switch jobs. The nursing home setting was very stressful with typical SLPs only lasting a year. I think if you get into a good school with caseloads 40 or less it would be good. I havent tried the private or autism clinic route.

broomrider 05-16-2018 12:00 PM

I moved from speech-language to a classroom position when the first grade ratio went to l6 to 1 after doing 60 to one for six years as a public school "speechie." I worked as a SLP in a state hospital program for autistics for six years before that.

I was always the only one at my schools, but had monthly meetings with others to share information, encouragement, etc.

There were lots of IEP meetings, many in association with the sped teacher, others for speech only were solo--sometimes there were hassles getting admin to come to those to say nothing of parents.

In schools, I have vivid memories of standing in the hallway going "I have to assess this referral" "No, I have to meet the IEP therapy time" and trying to figure out how to incorporate everything to do in the time available. About 40% of my time was assessment for new referrals and yearly re-assessments, about 80% of my time was for therapy. You do the math. I also traveled among two to three schools, sometimes on the same day.

It's true that speech problems were generally resolvable, articulation (th for s, w for r) was the most amenable. Difficulties such as stuttering, cleft palate, cerebral palsy, vocal abuse (yellers keep yelling) were more difficult. Language disabilities such as processing incoming messages, organizing thoughts, and expressing ideas are far more resistant to therapy and services can be ongoing for years. Many times, I shared students with the sped teacher.

Time spent creating therapy materials can be long, writing IEPs is usually done outside of class and can be quite time consuming, IEP meetings are often held before or after school taking more time.

There is no perfect job, but I rather prefer the classroom with the chance to know a smaller group of children more deeply and to do a variety of activities and teach more topics. That's just me.

Speech-Language people are in high demand both in education and in medical settings which gives more options for your work setting. You can work in your own private practice, as part of a private clinic, or in public settings.

You might want to shadow a few SLPs in various places to see what is involved and to ask questions of someone who is current in the field.

Haley23 05-08-2018 05:54 PM

I would definitely talk to the SLP in your building and see how it is in your area. I'm a sped teacher, so I've worked really closely with the SLPs who I've worked with.

In one district, the SLP had about 80 kids on her caseload and had to work in 3 different schools, which meant she wasn't really "part of" any staff. She didn't get a planning period. We ended up becoming friends outside of school and I helped make sure she was connected in our building, but she said our building was the only one she felt like that in.

In my state, SLPs also have to do testing, evaluation reports, and write IEPs, and be case managers for kids who have speech-language disabilities (I know in some states, just being a "case manager" or "diagnostician" is a completely separate job, which is crazy to me!) I was in a gen ed teacher in the school I worked in after that, but our SLP appeared to have a similar schedule and caseload, and was only in our building 2x per week.

Our current SLP has it really good. I'm not sure why the staffing ratio is so different in my current school; she's full time just at our school. She only sees about 30 students and she only has to see each child 30 minutes per week (sometimes 60 minutes for the most severe kiddos). This means she doesn't have a full instructional schedule and has hours of student-free time every day. As an SLP, she's also not really "on the radar" for dealing with things like severe behavior or other issues that students with disabilities might have. I could be wrong, but I would bet her situation is pretty rare.

Based on our discussions, I also know:
-Since you spend so little time with your kids, if you have a really difficult student or a student you don't click with, you only have to see them 30 minutes per week
-She's able to do mostly games and fun activities- kids generally really like going to her group
-No pressure for state testing/data etc.
-At least for the mild/moderate kids at our school, speech/language difficulties are often actually "cured," not like a learning disability that the child has to deal with for life
-Easy to find a job (at least in my area)
-Can do outside therapies and make a lot of extra money on the side

-Due to the time spent with students, you don't build the same relationship as a classroom teacher would
-Even being in one building, ours often feels out of the loop because her job/focus is just so different than everyone else's
-Sort of related to above, pretty much every PD/staff mtg. will have nothing to do with you and your job
-Can be isolating- even if you're in one building, you will most likely be the only SLP
-Some teachers/admin may not respect you as much as a classroom teacher
-Paperwork can be a lot

eeza 05-08-2018 12:33 PM

I am sure that SLPs will chime in, but I'm a school psych and work closely with SLPs. They seem to like it and have the option of working outside of the schools which is nice. But they do have a HEAVY caseload and often parents don't want to stop speech services even it the kid doesn't qualify any more.

megann831 05-08-2018 05:33 AM

Has anyone left the classroom to do this? I'm completely burnt out and totally over being disrespected by children and adults on a daily basis. I have had no luck changing districts and I'm looking for more variety in my day. I have my reading specialist cert but haven't had much luck finding positions I can use that certification with.

If you've become a speech and language pathologist how do you enjoy it vs being in the classroom?

Can you recommend an online program? I have a BA in English and masters in reading, would I need another masters?

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