The demand for speech and linguistic therapy has been trending upward as public school systems are now more than ever making SLP services available to students, as strides are being made to identify and diagnose disorders early, and as a greater number of elderly stroke survivors undergo therapy, among other factors.
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have landed, once again, on the U.S. News & World Report’s 100 Best Jobs list, holding down the #8 spot for 2020, and for good reason. A strong demand for SLPs has driven salaries up and unemployment down (just 0.8% as of 2020), and everyone from young children to seniors are benefitting from the services they provide related to speech, language, and swallowing disorders.
- Emerson College offers a Master's in Speech-Language Pathology online - Prepare to become an SLP in as few as 20 months. No GRE required. Scholarships available.
- Baylor’s Master of Communication Sciences and Disorders online - Bachelor's required. GRE scores not required. Complete full time in 20 months or part time in 28 months.
- NYU Steinhardt's Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders online - ASHA-accredited. GRE and bachelor's degree required. Graduate prepared to pursue licensure.
- Calvin University’s online Master of Speech-Language Pathology degree program - Prepares you to become a certified speech-language pathologist.
More kids in preschool than ever before…expanded services being made available in schools under Individualized Education Programs that address students’ specific needs…and increasing numbers of seniors living with age-related medical conditions like dementia and strokes are just a few of the factors contributing to the rising demand for SLPs. It’s a red-hot profession, and demand is far outpacing supply in many cases.
Earn the credentials it takes to become part of this profession and you just might end up with your pick of job offers, while definitely being in line for strong salary offers and fantastic perks like hiring and relocation bonuses.
Keep reading to learn how much SLPs are earning, how experience, setting, and geographic location can and do influence earning potential, and how to position yourself as one of the top earners in the profession.
Speech Pathology Graduate Salaries by State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
SLP Salaries and How Experience Influences Earning Potential
Strong salaries continue to dominate the SLP field and reaching a six-figure salary isn’t out of the question here.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), speech-language pathologists earned an average, annual salary of $77,510 as of May 2019. The top earners in the profession (top 25th percentile) earned an average salary of $97,770.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) 2019 annual SLP Healthcare Survey reported a similar annual average salary for speech-language pathologists of $78,000. Those in the top 25th percentile earned an average salary of $92,000.
Speech-language pathologists share similar qualifications, including a graduate education in speech-language pathology that’s been accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA), pre-licensure professional experiences, a state license and, in many cases, the through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (many states either require the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC-SLP) for licensure or recognize it as a path to licensure).
Because of these fairly standard license and practice requirements, you won’t find much difference in salaries here. However, where you practice (both setting and location) and how long you’ve been practicing does influence your earning power in the SLP field.
According to ASHA, SLPs with 1-3 years of experience earned an average salary of $66,000. Salaries continue to grow until reaching a peak at about 20 years of experience:
- 4-6 years: $72,000
- 7-9 years: $79,000
- 10-12 years: $78,000
- 13-15 years: $87,500
- 16-18 years: $82,000
- 19-21 years: $100,000
From Hospitals to In-Home Service: What SLPs Earn in Different Practice Settings
You’ll find significant salary differences depending on the setting in which SLPs work. According to the ASHA 2019 salary survey, the highest-paid SLPs worked in skilled nursing facilities, where they earned an annual average salary of $95,000. The BLS also reported a similar annual mean salary for SLPs in this setting, at $94,840.
SLPs in VA, long-term acute care, and general medical hospitals also earned an average salary that far exceeded the national average – $85,798, according to ASHA. BLS stats also mirrored ASHA, with SLPs in these settings earning a mean salary of $85,220.
According to ASHA, other average salaries according to setting include:
- Home Health: $76,000
- Outpatient clinics/offices: $73,500
- Pediatric hospitals: $78,000
- Rehabilitation hospitals: $79,000
The top earners in the field (top 25th percentile) earned the following average salaries, according to ASHA:
- General medical/VA/long-term acute care hospitals: $98,000
- Home health: $90,000
- Outpatient clinics: $86,200
- Pediatric hospitals: $90,000
- Rehabilitation hospitals: $90,000
- Skilled nursing facilities: $105,000
While ASHA didn’t reveal salaries for SLPs in elementary and secondary schools, the BLS reported an average mean salary of $72,480 for these professionals. SLPs in school settings remain among the lowest paid in the field and are often among the busiest due to high caseloads.
And the Top-Paying Cities and States for SLPs Are…
According to ASHA, the top earners in the field are in the western part of the U.S., with these SLPs earning an average salary of $85,000. This isn’t surprising, considering that the cost of living in this area of the country tends to be higher than in other parts of the country.
Other average salaries according to geographical location include:
- South: $79,000
- Northeast: $78,000
- Midwest: $73,520
The BLS provided even more insight into where SLPs earn the highest salaries by highlighting the top-paying states for these professionals (according to annual mean salary):
- New Jersey: $95,000
- Washington D.C.: $93,570
- California: $93,510
- Connecticut: $92,280
- Colorado: $90,980
And according to metro area:
- Napa, CA: $106,620
- Jackson, MI: $105,130
- San Francisco, CA (includes Oakland and Hayward): $103,890
- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $103,030
- Tulsa, OK: $102,680
- Wichita Falls, TX: $102,540
- Chico, CA: $101,990
- Battle Creek, MI: $101,810
- Gainesville, FL: $101,750
Hiring Bonuses and Other Salary Perks for Speech-Language Pathologists
Total compensation in the SLP field includes both salary and bonuses, often as a result of holding the CCC-SLP. It’s quite common for employers in states that don’t require the CCC-SLP for licensure to encourage SLPs to earn this national designation by offering hiring/annual bonuses and/or higher salaries. Also, many of the nation’s top employers of SLPs now require this designation as a condition of employment, so holding the CCC-SLP may be your ticket to more and higher-paying job opportunities.
Employers across the country continue to struggle with recruitment and retention of SLPs, so it’s quite common to find employers offering sign-on bonuses, relocation bonuses, and more. A quick search of current SLP jobs throughout the country revealed signing bonuses reaching $2,500, relocation assistance, and even student loan repayment.
A Guide to SLP Salaries in All 50 States
Learn more about the earning power of SLPs in your state by checking out the following BLS salary stats for SLPs in the 50th-90th percentiles:
- Alabama: $65,510 – $102,470 (approximately 1,700 licensed SLPs)
- Alaska: $88,250 – $122,110 (approximately 250 licensed SLPs)
- Arizona: $74,540 – $108,920 (approximately 2,730 licensed SLPs)
- Arkansas: $67,930 – $118,470 (approximately 1,990 licensed SLPs)
- California: $93,060 – $126,000 (approximately 14,980 licensed SLPs)
- Colorado: $87,910 – $132,740 (approximately 3,980 licensed SLPs)
- Connecticut: $94,460 – $156,350 (approximately 2,290 licensed SLPs)
- Delaware: $82,270 – $120,250 (approximately 630 licensed SLPs)
- District of Columbia: $99,160 – $138,470 (approximately 390 licensed SLPs)
- Florida: $82,560 – $112,360 (approximately 9,120 licensed SLPs)
- Georgia: $76,170 – $115,350 (approximately 3,440 licensed SLPs)
- Hawaii: $78,540 – $101,560
- Idaho: $72,150 – $104,700 (approximately 820 licensed SLPs)
- Illinois: $76,010 – $116,720 (approximately 7,510 licensed SLPs)
- Indiana: $75,940 – $107,760 (approximately 2,610 licensed SLPs)
- Iowa: $74,470 – $107,770 (approximately 1,230 licensed SLPs)
- Kansas: $70,670 – $111,830 (approximately 1,490 licensed SLPs)
- Kentucky: $68,900 – $108,110 (approximately 2,130 licensed SLPs)
- Louisiana: $80,770 – $120,550 (approximately 1,260 licensed SLPs)
- Maine: $65,130 – $88,700 (approximately 790 licensed SLPs)
- Maryland: $85,160 – $123,930 (approximately 3,020 licensed SLPs)
- Massachusetts: $86,310 – $122,690 (approximately 3,990 licensed SLPs)
- Michigan: $76,860 – $118,190 (approximately 4,300 licensed SLPs)
- Minnesota: $75,300 – $106,150 (approximately 3,240 licensed SLPs)
- Mississippi: $64,880 – $98,230 (approximately 1,460 licensed SLPs)
- Missouri: $78,360 – $120,450 (approximately 3,410 licensed SLPs)
- Montana: $71,270 – $109,950 (approximately 380 licensed SLPs)
- Nebraska: $73,150 – $101,110 (approximately 1,020 licensed SLPs)
- Nevada: $76,870 – $118,990 (approximately 1,070 licensed SLPs)
- New Hampshire: $75,800 – $101,480 (approximately 750 licensed SLPs)
- New Jersey: $89,510 – $154,210 (approximately 5,750 licensed SLPs)
- New Mexico: $71,760 – $111,820 (approximately 880 licensed SLPs)
- New York: $88,910 – $149,470 (approximately 13,130 licensed SLPs)
- North Carolina: $70,680 – $112,420 (approximately 4,450 licensed SLPs)
- North Dakota: $67,940 – $90,940 (approximately 560 licensed SLPs)
- Ohio: $74,280 – $113,570 (approximately 6,200 licensed SLPs)
- Oklahoma: $70,260 – $113,980 (approximately 1,700 licensed SLPs)
- Oregon: $83,240 – $115,800 (approximately 1,650 licensed SLPs)
- Pennsylvania: $76,570 – $121,250 (approximately 5,700 licensed SLPs)
- Rhode Island: $85,710 – $119,050 (approximately 600 licensed SLPs)
- South Carolina: $71,700 – $102,070 (approximately 1,830 licensed SLPs)
- South Dakota: $59,180 – $83,760 (approximately 360 licensed SLPs)
- Tennessee $78,080 – $102,580 (approximately 3,150 licensed SLPs)
- Texas: $71,280 – $110,960 (approximately 14,820 licensed SLPs)
- Utah: $79,100 – $106,940 (approximately 1,360 licensed SLPs)
- Vermont: $73,140 – $101,630 (approximately 280 licensed SLPs)
- Virginia: $86,350 – $124,600 (approximately 3,090 licensed SLPs)
- Washington: $77,340 – $106,900 (approximately 3,110 licensed SLPs)
- West Virginia: $59,000 – $102,910 (approximately 800 licensed SLPs)
- Wisconsin: $72,090 – $99,450 (approximately 2,360 licensed SLPs)
- Wyoming: $75,820 – $121,270 (approximately 300 licensed SLPs)
Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2019. Figures represent accumulated data for all employment sectors in which speech-language pathologists work. BLS salary data represents average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries.
Salary and employment data compiled by ASHA’s 2020 SLP Healthcare Survey. Figures represent accumulated data for all employment sectors in which speech-language pathologists work. This data does not represent starting salaries.
All salary and employment data accessed September 2020.