Speech-Language Pathology or Education?

Hi all! I am a current college junior studying English and Communications exploring potential careers. I have also taken 3-4 Education courses and Psych as well, and felt a real connection to the material. I really want to work with either children or adolescents and have narrowed my options down to Speech-Language Pathology and English Education. I am completing shadowing for a Speech private practice right now and absolutely love it, but the number of prerequisites and the heavy science-based curriculum is intimidating me as someone who is not so strong in STEM. I saw an SLP as a child so I hold a true passion for helping others learn how to communicate. However, I absolutely love literature, writing, and English and have loved every English teacher I’ve ever had so I am not sure if I should pass it up. Income wise, I know SLPs bring much more money home, but I am nervous about not having an undergraduate background in the field. Would love to hear from any students considering or pursuing either one of these fields or from anyone currently working in the field in general about what graduate school and the career is like/if there is anything I should know. Thanks so much!

I know there is at least one Speech Language Pathologist here- it might help if you change your title to include that term because your title sounds more like you’re interested in daycare or early childhood education.


You’re so right, thanks so much!

I, too, was a little confused by the original title of your thread.

You are weighing speech pathologist against what, exactly? Teaching English at middle school or high school? Or teaching elementary students or younger ( which would involve teaching more than English)?

You could also be a reading specialist or teach English as a second language at the elementary level, although that would not involve teaching English literature or writing at a very sophisticated level.

You could pursue a career as a school librarian, although those positions are harder to find.

My friend ended up using her elementary education background to establish and run her own daycare business (helpful when she had kids of her own), and also worked as a trainer/coach for others seeking to get licensed for daycare.

Do you have a lot of experience working with kids of different ages? If not, I think finding a job or internship with kids could be helpful. (For example, I love English classes, but would find it frustrating teaching kids who hated my subject and refused to participate meaningfully— others feel they can make a difference in that situation. All I am saying is that enjoying a subject and enjoying teaching it are two different things.)

I’m a career SLP.

Yes, there are science related courses, but unless things have changed, they will relate to your study of communication disorders.

Re: money…your ability to bring home more money than teachers will depend on where you actually work. Some…read that SOME folks in private practice do make more money, but they also have the overhead of running a business. And if you own the business, you will be paying both the employer and employee share of social security contributions.

If you work in a school setting, you likely will be earning the same or very close to the same as the teaching folks in the same district. There is sometimes (not the majority) a differential or stipend for SLP, but that is not universal. BUT you will get great benefits, hopefully work with a strong team, and your overhead expenses will mostly be paid by the district (we all do buy things ourselves, but not things like furniture, rent, assessments, etc).

You could also work in a clinical setting as an employee. This is sort of in the middle. You don’t assume the overhead and are usually either salaried or per diem or hourly.

Since you mentioned also liking education, I would urge you to at least talk to a school based SLP or two. This could be a good “marriage” of your two “likes”….being a school based SLP. I love my work….am mostly retired now but do a teeny bit of private work.

@twogirls @aunt_bea


I agree with thumper. I currently work in a school, but did hospital work early in my career, worked in a private practice, and spent 15 years working for Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education.

I have the same contract as the teachers- salary scale, benefits etc.

I was on salary when I did hospital work, and worked as an independent contractor for EI/Preschool Special Ed.

I agree that the undergrad (and grad) science classes are related to speech pathology and audiology. I believe that some (all?) undergrad schools now require a science class such as chemistry etc, but you need to check.

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The grad “science courses” are also mostly related to communication disorders.


“ n November 2017, the CFCC announced changes to the SLP certification standards, including a modification to Standard IV-A, in which the physical science requirement must be met by completing coursework in the areas of either chemistry or physics.”

Keep in mind also that admissions to SLP grad programs are highly competitive. So…your undergrad GPA is going to be important….plus any work you do with the population SLPS serve.

I would strongly suggest you go to the American Speech Language Hearing Association website and look in the area for the public. There is a LOT of information there about grad programs, requirements, etc.

SLP’s work on Speech, Language, and Hearing deficits which impact an individual’s ability to communicate effectively. So my question to you is, why do you think this field is devoid of teaching literature, writing and English?
An SLP’s work includes using any and all means to get the client/patient to convey and receive thoughts to/from another individual or group. Learning the “science” part of speech, language and hearing pathologies is crucial to teaching language. You have to understand why multiple ear infections/otitis media can adversely affect a child’s hearing and language. You have to understand where the stroke impacted language. If it hasn’t developed in that area of the brain, because of an injury, or trauma, your therapy might be effective. It requires a masters degree because you have to understand all of the pathologies that affect language and to be able to explain these issues to the families.

I am a retired speech pathologist and have worked in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, and schools. I have always used my strong background in English to teach or introduce communication concepts. I’ve used “The Gingerbread Man” to teach everything in predictions, morals of the story, etc.to every age I’ve worked with from ages 0 to 99. You would be amazed how many relevant, present-day “sayings”/idioms have come from Shakespeare (wear my heart upon my sleeve, good riddance, love is blind, break the ice) that I’ve taught to 6th graders.

It is a very tough discipline to learn and to continue to learn. I loved working with my patients and clients but I hated working with their lawyers.

Edited to add: My program required physics. You may not think it is needed to teach language, speaking, hearing, but it helped me to really understand the physics of sound and movement, especially the way things move in the ear and the brain, and the mouth.


SLP and English Ed are great career paths but require different skill sets.