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What does a
Speech-Language Pathologist do?

Click here to view all Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) jobs on
Other common names for this position: Educational Speech-Language Pathologist, Speech Pathologist, Speech Therapist, Speech and Hearing Therapist, Dispensing Audiologist, Human Communication Disorders Specialist, Logopedist


Speech-Language Pathologists diagnose, assess, and treat the full range of communication (e.g. speech, fluency, language, and voice) and swallowing disorders (e.g. chewing, gulping, and eating).[1] They do so by providing advice and educational services to patients and their families. For instance, they teach patients to control or toughen their tongue so that the clarity of their voice increases. They also use and teach sign language, as well as lip-reading, as required.[2]

Speech-Language Pathologists usually work with children, but may also work with patients of all age groups, as speech-language disorders can arise due to strokes, neurological diseases, mouth/throat cancers, and head injuries.[3] They are employed in hospitals, community and public health centres, extended care facilities, day clinics, rehabilitation centres, and educational institutions. They may also work in private practice.[4]

Primary Responsibilities

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Speech-Language Pathologists are required to complete.

  • Providing education, counselling, and consultation to patients and their families.
  • Administering tests and examinations (also known as screening protocols) to diagnose and evaluate speech, voice, resonance, language, cognitive-linguistic, and swallowing disorders.
  • Developing, planning, implementing, and keeping track of remedial programs, based on test and examination results, to treat the aforementioned disorders:
  • Identifying clients’ needs and goals and ensuring they work towards achieving them;
  • providing individually tailored treatment in extended, semi-intensive, or intensive format, as required;
  • coordinating a treatment plan with the patient, family, and other team members;
  • maintaining records on the patient’s assessment and development, as well as the quality and appropriateness of the remedial program, in order to adjust treatment accordingly; and
  • referring patients to further medical or educational services if needed (e.g. Physicians, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Social Workers ).
  • Following up with patients as required, including materials and home activity preparation.
  • Following up with school personnel to arrange school assessments as required.
  • Reporting, completing, and filing referrals and consultations.
  • Conducting research on communication disorders and on the development and design of diagnostic procedures and devices:
  • Attending interdisciplinary rounds, meetings, and quality initiatives of Speech-Language pathology, allied health, and other clinical/health programs; and
  • making recommendations, completing analysis, and recording protocols.
  • Overseeing selected resources (e.g. equipment, waiting room, materials room, reference materials).

Daily Tasks

  • Administering tests and examinations to diagnose and evaluate communication and swallowing disorders.
  • Developing and planning individually tailored remedial programs, based on test and examination results.
  • Providing education, counselling, and consultation to patients and their families.
  • Keeping track of treatments, following up with patients and answering their questions as required.

The average salary for Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) related jobs is $72,374 per year or $37 per hour. This is around 2.2 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $51,000 while most experienced workers make up to $101,000. These results are based on 2 salaries extracted from job descriptions.

Gross Salary72,374.25 $
CPP- 2,479.95 $
EI- 930.60 $
Federal Tax- 10,410.86 $
Provincial Tax- 4,920.75 $
Total Tax- 18,742.15 $
Net Pay*53,632.10 $
In Ontario, Canada, if you make 72,374.25 $ a year, you will be taxed 18,742.15 $. That means that your take home pay will be 53,632.10 $ per year, or 4,469.34 $ per month. Your average tax rate is 25.90% and your marginal tax rate is 43.65%.
* Deductions are calculated based on the tables of Ontario, Canada income tax.
Required Skills and Qualifications
  • Strong interpersonal, communication, and assessment skills:
  • Communicating in an exceptionally clear way, both in writing and verbally, in order to effectively interact with children with disabilities, families, and team members;
  • being good at gaining people’s trust and at getting them to open up in order to identify additional symptoms or difficulties;
  • using tact, patience, and optimism when communicating with patients, parents, and staff to maintain effective and collaborative relationships; and
  • displaying an extensive knowledge of the language, as well as the ability to teach it to others.
  • Strong sense of empathy and compassion:
  • Demonstrating sensitivity to individual needs of patients;
  • being passionate about helping people reach their communication potential;
  • displaying an inherent ability to make others feel cared about; and
  • being able to work within a multicultural environment, showing consideration and respect to a diverse range of children and families of all backgrounds and abilities.
  • Optimistic, with a can-do attitude and a strong ability to motivate others.
  • Organizational and time management skills:
  • Strategically structuring and customizing treatment programs so that the tests can be taken on a regular basis;
  • prioritizing and planning work activities as to use time efficiently while handling a high volume, diverse workload;
  • being able to determine and deal effectively with urgent situations and changes in tasks with short notice; and
  • multitasking;
  • being able to work under pressure in a dynamic, fast-paced team environment while maintaining a professional demeanor.
  • Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills:
  • Being able to collect data, define problems, establish general facts, and generate valid conclusions;
  • being able to use initiative and intuition in decision making, as well as to exercise good professional judgment;
  • using creativity and imagination to develop new insights and to apply innovative solutions to problems; and
  • referring patients to other medical/educational professionals, as required.

Aside from the skills listed above, Speech-Language Pathologists must have completed a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology and successfully earned a valid SLP licence. Experience working in an early childhood development team environment and/or in an acute care hospital is sometimes preferred.

Speech-Language Pathologists also need to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the following: SLP equipment (e.g. audio and video recorders, models, mirrors, tongue depressors, reinforcers, mouth exercisers, and other oral motor tools), research processes, and methodology, as well as other healthcare disciplines and their role in client care; adult and children education principles, methods, and tools; alternate modes of communication (e.g. sign language and lip-reading); and related legislation, including departmental and hospital safety standards, as well as emergency and infection control procedures.

Most SLP positions require a minimum of 2 years of experience treating patients who have multiple disabilities and communication disorders. Experience with developmental disorders is a definite asset, as well as experience in developing, implementing, and monitoring quality indicators.

Speech-Language Pathologists are often required to schedule hours of work based on client convenience and might need to drive to various locations including homes, day cares, offices, and clinics.

Job Offers
There are currently 24 available job offers for the Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) position on Below is a list of available jobs, based on Canada's most populated metropolitan areas.