Many people take the ability to communicate for granted until we experience problems with it. If you’d like to help others deal with speech-language issues such as stuttering or difficulty swallowing, becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist may be the right job for you. This blog will help you understand the requirements to become a Speech-Language Pathologist in Ontario.
What is Speech-Language Pathology?
Speech-language pathology, sometimes referred to as speech therapy, or speech-language therapy, is the assessment and management of communication and swallowing disorders. Speech-language pathology (SLP) is a field of expertise practiced by Speech-Language Pathologists—professionals equipped with knowledge, skills, and clinical experience to help patients with congenital and/or acquired communication and swallowing disorders.
What Services do Speech-Language Pathologists Provide?
The job of a Speech-Language Pathologist includes preventing, identifying, evaluating and treating communication and swallowing disorders. Speech-Language Pathologist can practice in different settings including schools, hospitals, clinics, research centres, rehabilitation centres, private practices, or through in-home visits.
Generally, a Speech-Language Pathologist provides assessments, treatments and consultations of:
- Language disorders
- Cognitive communication disorders
- Voice disorders
- Swallowing disorders
Speech-Language Pathologists can also work with other professionals, such as audiologists, dietitians, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and more, to provide clients with the best treatment possible.
Requirements to Become a Speech-Language Pathologist in Ontario
In order to become a Speech-Language Pathologist, you will need to earn a 4-year Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university and then spend another two or three years studying to earn a Master’s degree in SLP. Any undergraduate programs would suffice as long as they offer the prerequisite courses that a Master’s program commonly requires.
Admission requirements for a Master program in SLP may vary among universities, but they do share some common criteria, including:
- 4-year Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.
- A minimum mid-B (3.0 GPA) average in the final 1-2 years of full-time study or throughout the whole four years.
- Completing 4-6 prerequisites in areas such as child development, linguistics, phonetics, statistics/research design, human physiology, life science, social science, and psychology.
- Proficiency in English and/or French.
Sometimes clinical volunteer or paid experience working with a registered Speech-Language Pathologist can be an admission requirement. Applications must be submitted through the Ontario Rehabilitation Sciences Programs Application Service (ORPAS).
There are currently 4 universities in Ontario that offer speech-language pathology programs for graduates:
Programs offered by the University of Toronto, Western University, and Université d’Ottawa are accredited according to the Council for Accreditation of Canadian University Programs in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. The program offered by McMaster University is new and hasn’t been accredited yet.
Once you’ve gotten a Master’s degree in SLP, you’ll need to register with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO) in order to become a regulated Speech-Language Pathologist and legally practice SLP.
Average Salary for a Speech-Language Pathologist
Job Bank Canada reported that the hourly wage for a Speech-Language Pathologist in Ontario ranges from $28.06 to $51.72, with a median of $42.56. Annually, a Speech-Language Pathologist in Ontario earns between $58k and $107k, with a median salary of $88k.
Where to Find Speech-Language Pathologist Jobs
If you’re looking for Speech-Language Pathologist jobs and don’t have a specific organization that you want to work for, looking through career sites like Job Bank, Indeed and Workopolis would be a great start. You can also go to the Speech-Language & Audiology of Canada or the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists websites to see their career postings.
At Closing the Gap Healthcare, we’re frequently hiring Speech-Language Pathologists throughout Ontario. To see if there are any open positions near you, visit our Careers page.