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.
As demand rises, so do salaries and employment opportunities. In fact, based on current and projected demand for speech-language pathologists, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the field to experience a job grow rate of 21 percent during the ten-year period leading up to 2024, a rate that is much faster than average.
This growing demand has helped drive salaries higher as independent clinics, hospitals and school systems compete for a limited number of qualified job candidates to fill a growing number of positions. Speech-language pathology has long been recognized as a dynamic and personally rewarding profession, and now it is increasingly being recognized as a field that can also be quite lucrative.
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
Highlights of the 2015 ASHA Salary Survey
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) 2015 annual SLP Healthcare Survey found that:
- 30 percent of survey respondents earned an annual salary
- 58 percent were paid hourly
- 13 percent were paid per visit
The survey also found that the majority (88 percent) worked full-time in 2015, with the remaining 12 percent working part-time.
According to the survey, the national annual, average salary for SLPs was $75,000 that year.
While full-time practice owners/co-owners earned slightly more than the average SLP, at $77,240, administrators and supervisors earned an even higher average salary of $93,534.
SLP Salary by Employment Setting
According to the 2015 ASHA survey, the highest earners worked in general medical/VA/long-term care hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, where they earned an average, annual salary of $90,000.
Annual, average salaries for speech-language pathologists in other employment settings during the same period included:
- Rehabilitation hospitals: $79,693
- Home healthcare settings: $75,000
- Pediatric hospitals: $74,000
- Clinics and offices: $68,000
SLP Salary by Geographic Region
Speech-language pathologists in the Western U.S. earned the highest salaries, according to the ASHA survey, followed closely by SLPs in the Midwest:
- West: $84,000
- Midwest: $80,000
- Northeast: $74,000
- South: $70,885
SLP Salary by Experience
As would be expected, SLPs earn more as their experience grows. While speech-language pathologists with between 1 and 12 years of experience earned between $63,000 and $68,000, salaries jumped significantly for those with 13 or more years of experience:
- 1-3 years: $63,603
- 4-6 years: $68,600
- 7-9 years: $65,428
- 10-12 years: $68,000
- 13-15 years: $85,000
- 16-18 years: $90,000
Speech-Language Pathologist Salaries as Reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015
Salary information collected through surveys conducted by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) help provide a better insight into what SLPs can expect to earn in specific employment settings, industries and areas throughout the country.
According to the BLS, as of May 2015, the annual, average salary for speech-language pathologists was $76,900, with the top 10 percent earning more than $114,840.
The top-paying industries for speech-language pathologists that year were:
- Medical and diagnostic laboratories: $105,680
- Home healthcare services: $97,410
- Skilled nursing facilities: $91,560
- Offices of physicians: $90,810
- Continuing care/retirement/assisted living facilities: $90,030
The top-paying states for speech-language pathologists were:
- Connecticut: $88,460
- California: $88,330
- Alaska: $88,300
- Washington D.C.: $88,070
- New York: $87,640
Among metropolitan areas, the top-earning speech-language pathologists were located in:
- Redding, CA: $122,660
- Watertown-Fort Drum, NY: $107,810
- Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA: $106,520
- Fairbanks, AK: $104,310
- Staunton-Waynesboro, VA: $102,540
- Salinas, CA: $100,200
- Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY: $99,540
- Waterbury, CT: $98,070
- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA: $96,040
- Fresno, CA: $95,880
The top-paying nonmetropolitan areas for speech-language pathologists during the same period were:
- Southside Virginia nonmetropolitan area: $97,730
- Northwest Florida nonmetropolitan area: $97,610
- Connecticut nonmetropolitan area: $92,340
- Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area: $90,410
- Western Central Illinois nonmetropolitan area: $83,540
A Guide to SLP Salaries and Hourly Rates of Pay in All 50 States
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a detailed analysis of salaries and hourly wages for SLPs throughout the nation. This data was collected through surveys conducted in 2014 and published in the Bureau’s 2015 report:
Speech-Language Pathologist Salary Trends, 2005-2015
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) salary report, SLP Health Care Survey Report: Annual Salary Trends 2005-2015, provides a decade-long look into the SLP profession.
In 2005, speech-language pathologists earned an average, annual salary of just $60,000. In 2009, average salaries were shown to have increased to $70,000, and by 2015, they had increased again to $75,000.
SLPs in administrative and supervisory positions also experienced sizable salary increases between 2005 and 2015. In 2005, these SLPs earned an average, annual salary of $72,985. In 2011, their average salary had increased to $90,000, and by 2015, they earned an average, annual salary of $93,534.
SLP Salary Trends by Employment Setting
One of the most considerable increases was among SLPs working in general medical/VA/long-term acute care hospitals. In 2005, their average, annual salary was $61,250. By 2015, it had increased to $90,000.
Other salary increases between 2005 and 2015, according to employment setting, were seen in:
- Rehabilitation hospitals: $58,920 (2005) – $79,693 (2015)
- Pediatric hospitals: $60,000 (2005) – $74,000 (2015)
- Skilled nursing facilities: $68,200 (2005) – $90,000 (2015)
- Home health agencies/client homes: $53,000 (2005) – $75,000 (2015)
- Outpatient clinics/offices: $60,000 (2005) – $68,000 (2015)
SLP Salary Trends by Geographic Region
Speech-language pathologists in all regions of the U.S. saw significant increases between 2005 and 2015:
- West: $68,000 (2005) – $84,000 (2015)
- Midwest: $60,000 (2005) – $80,000 (2015)
- Northeast: $60,000 (2005) – $74,000 (2015)
- South: $58,000 (2005) – $70,885 (2015)
SLP Salary Trends by Experience
Likewise, speech-language pathologists, regardless of experience, saw their average salaries steadily increase between 2005 and 2015:
- 1-3 years: $52,694 (2005) – $63,603 (2015)
- 4-6 years: $51,805 (2005) – $68,600 (2015)
- 7-9 years: $53,730 (2005) – $65,428 (2015)
- 10-12 years: $58,000 (2005) – $68,000 (2015)
- 13-15 years: $62,000 (2005) – $85,000 (2015)
- 16-18 years: $67,000 (2005) – $90,000 (2015)
Salary Statistics for School-Based Speech-Language Pathologists
In 2014, ASHA conducted a salary survey for school-based speech-language pathologists. The majority of respondents in this survey worked for elementary schools (60 percent), followed by secondary schools and preschools (12 percent each), combined-grade schools (7 percent), day/residential facilities (4 percent), and private homes (1 percent).
The overall average salary for SLPs in school settings was $61,000 in 2014. The highest earners during this time worked in day/residential facilities, where they earned an average of $71,339.
Average salaries in other types of school settings during this time included:
- Secondary schools: $67,000
- Preschools: $60,000
- Elementary: $60,000
- Combined-grade schools: $60,000
School-based speech-language pathologists in the Northeast earned the highest average salary, at $72,000. More specifically, SLPs working in secondary schools located in the Northeast earned the highest average salary at $76,000.
Overall, SLPs in school settings earned the highest average salaries in California ($77,000), followed by New Jersey ($76,750), New York and Maryland ($74,000), and Massachusetts ($70,500).
Speech-Language Pathology Salaries: Factors to Consider
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (AHSA), a number of factors influence speech-language pathologist salaries, including:
- Geographic region
- Employment setting
- Business/organization size and profitability
- Employee tenure and performance
For many speech-language pathologists, salary is just one part of a total compensation package that includes benefits, such as:
- Medical insurance
- Life and disability insurance
- Leave benefits
- Retirement benefits
According to ASHA, a benefits package is often a valuable part of a total compensation package and should be considered when evaluating an employment offer.
Additional compensation factors worth considering include:
- Paid leave time for holidays, vacation, sick, and personal days
- Health insurance: Choices, deductible, copays, prescription drug coverage, flexible spending, COBRA, preventive care, family planning, dental and vision coverage
- Childcare/elder care benefits
- Relocation benefits
- Cellphone, transportation benefits
- Tuition reimbursement