Career as Speech Therapist

Early Salary

1 - 2 L

Mid Salary

5 - 6 L

Senior Salary

7 - 8 L

Academic Pressure

Medium

Job Pressure

High

	Speech Therapist

Speech therapists diagnose and provide treatment/counselling to people with speech, voice and language (and hearing) problems due to various causes, such as intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy, strokes, accidents and cancer. They may work with children, adults or the elderly. Institutes offer degrees in speech-language pathology, or speech therapy coupled with the audiology course at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. However, some conduct PG programmes either in speech-language pathology or audiology.

 

What do they do?

Speech therapists provide treatment and counselling to people with problems related to voice, speech and language disorders, including problems like stuttering, articulation, difficulties due to a cleft palate, laryngectomy (removal of the larynx), as well as neurological speech disorders, stroke etc.

The services of speech therapists are available in community-based rehabilitative programmes, special schools for persons with disabilities, old age homes, training institutes and research institutes.

Vijay Aggarwal, a speech pathologist at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), help people overcome problems related to one of the most basic functions of the human body  — speech. Aggarwal  diagnoses and provides therapy for different speech, voice and language disorders, including stuttering, articulation, difficulties due to a cleft palate, laryngectomy (removal of the larynx), as well as neurological speech disorders, stroke etc.

The numbers are big. In India, thousands suffer from speech-language disorders, many of them unaware of the treatments existing for them. “The estimated of number of persons having speech-language disorders of one kind or the other varies,” says Dr Ashok Kumar Sinha, recipient of the National Award for the welfare of persons with disabilities (2002), and reader in audiology and speech pathology and assistant director, Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Eastern Regional Centre (Kolkata), “but generally it can be accepted that at least six per cent of our country’s population need the services of speech therapists. The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in its 48th round of survey in 2001 estimated that one million people in India suffer from one or the other kind of speech-language disorders. However, these numbers will be far more as only severe and obvious forms of speech disorders were identified by the grass root survey staff almost a decade ago.”

And the number of affected cases is soaring. At AIIMS, on average, one clinician gets to see 15 new cases every day,  says a graduate in audiology and speech pathology from the hospital (the study programme is no longer offered). “The employment prospects are good in India.” Speech therapists can work in government as well as private hospitals, special schools, non-governmental organisations focusing on the speech and hearing disabled. They are much in demand in several developed countries.

In India, you can study both speech therapy and audiology together at the Bachelor’s as well as Master’s level. Postgraduate programmes with specialisation either in speech-language pathology or audiology are also offered. Says Sinha, “The demand for undergraduate and postgraduate studies in speech language pathology and audiology has been increasing. More and more colleges are being set up in different parts of the country. However, not many choose this as a career option due to lack of awareness about speech-language disorders.”
And that untouched populace makes it a high-potential area.

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Skills Needed

The eligibility criterion for the Bachelor’s in hearing and speech and language pathology varies. Even the different centres of Mumbai-based Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped ask for varying subject combinations (including physics, chemistry, biology, maths, English, computer science, amongst others). Check the details with individual institutions.

How do I get there?

The eligibility criterion for the Bachelor’s in hearing and speech and language pathology varies. Even the different centres of Mumbai-based Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped ask for varying subject combinations (including physics, chemistry, biology, maths, English, computer science, amongst others). Check the details with individual institutions.

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