A Speech pathologist needs:
- a good background in English, Mathematics and Science
- excellent communication, listening and interpersonal skills
- an ability to deal with complex and unusual situations
- to be able to communicate with a variety of different people and enjoy working with people
- to be able to inspire confidence and cooperation
- to be able to work with a variety of other health professionals as part of a team
A Speech pathologist's normal workday would be 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. However, in some cases evening or weekend work may also be required. Most Speech pathologists work in an office in the public sector This could be in a school, hospital, nursing home or community centre. Some Speech pathologists go into private practice.
On average, speech pathologists, classified under speech professionals and audiologists, can expect to earn between $1 250 and $1 499 per week ($65 000 and $77 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a speech pathologist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Speech pathologists may be involved with technologies associated with the acoustic analysis of voice and speech, and the control of movement for swallowing and speech. They may also use new technologies for speech recognition or electronic communication.
To become a speech pathologist you need to study speech pathology at university.
Curtin University offers a four year Bachelor of Science (Speech Pathology). Edith Cowan University offers a four year Bachelor of Speech Pathology. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
Graduates are eligible for membership with Speech Pathology Australia. To work with children in Western Australia, you must obtain a Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Community Services.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.