Upon entering the field of speech-language pathology, I certainly didn’t expect to become the next millionaire, but I did expect to be able to live very comfortably.

In a recent post on an SLP Facebook page, a young lady inquired about the average annual salary for speech therapists. She was inquiring because her parents were discouraging her from entering the field as they didn’t think she would make ‘good’ money once she graduated. Having spoken to a number of SLPs from around the country at the 2011 annual meeting for the Association of Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA), the average salary seems to vary greatly from region to region and per setting.

So let’s prove those parents wrong and take a look at salaries. National surveys by ASHA break down salary information between two settings: healthcare settings and schools. Both reports look at salary expectations by region, setting and experience.

Key findings from the 2011 ASHA Health Care Survey:

  • Median annual salary was $65,000 for clinical service providers and $90,000 for administrators.
  • Median salaries varied by region; for example, $65,000 in the Midwest and $80,000 in the West.
  • Experience pays. The median salary with one to three years of experience was $58,048; $88,750 with 31 or more years of experience.
  • Median annual salary for private practice owners or independent contractors was $65,000.
  • Rural positions pay more than those in suburban areas.

Key findings from the 2010 ASHA School Survey:

  • Salaries for working a nine or 10-month school year averaged $58,000 in elementary schools; salaries for working an 11- or 12-month school year averaged $65,000.
  • Median academic year salaries for clinical service providers ranged from $55,934 in special day/residential schools to $61,000 in secondary schools.
  • Salaries increased with years of experience. The highest median academic year salary was $78,304 and was achieved by SLPs who worked in secondary schools and had 28 or more years of experience in the profession.
  • New Jersey reported the highest median academic year salary ($80,000); Missouri the lowest ($44,000).
  • Rural salaries tended to be lower than suburban or urban salaries.
  • The median hourly wage was $50.00.
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