Thoughts on future demand for speech language pathologists?
I just got really excited about speech language pathology after learning that tuition isn’t as expensive as I originally thought—even though I’d have to take a year of prerequisites. It’s a very interesting career to me and I think I’d be good at it; the question is, whether by the time I finish the prerequisites and the master’s program there will still be a similar demand level as there is right now. Right now the demand is skyrocketing and the salaries are in the $50–90k range, which just seems too good to be true. The Bureau of Labor Services’ Occupational Outlook Handbook states there will be 19% growth in this field and that job opportunities are going to be favorable. But is this another “here comes everyone” type career, like occupational therapy and nursing, where eventually the labor market will get oversaturated and salaries will plummet? Or perhaps government funding will dry up, or a new technology will negate the need for speech language pathologists? SLP’s seem to be in a better position than occupational therapists, as Medicare and Medicaid are cutting back in favor of physical therapy (they don’t wanst to pay for two simultaneous therapies), in addition to the fact that occupational therapists and physical therapists have assistants that actually perform the therapy and the OT/PT’s just do the diagnostics and therapy “plan”, whereas a speech language pathologist will carry out both the planning and the therapy. But what are the potential pitfalls of going into this particular field and investing time and money into the education and certification process?
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