people consulting

Profession: Speech Pathologist

Qualification and registration requirements

Speech Pathologists complete a degree at university which encompasses all aspects of communication including speech, writing, reading, signs, symbols and gestures as well as all aspects of swallowing food and drink and the supporting science and social science aspects required. In Australia, this equates to an under-graduate Degree in Speech Pathology or Masters entry in Speech Pathology as accepted for eligibility for practising membership of Speech Pathology Australia.  Overseas qualified Speech Pathologists need to have their qualification verified by Speech Pathology Australia.

What is a Speech Pathologist?

A Speech Pathologist is an important member of the multidisciplinary team covering all speciality areas within health and development. Speech Pathologists in NSW Health will predominantly be found working within acute care facilities, rehabilitation centres, community health centres, multifunction centres, mental health facilities. They may be managed through departmental or multidisciplinary teams. They will also work closely with services within the private, non-Government, government departments (such as Education and Disability and Local Government) sectors.

Speech Pathologists provide speech, language and augmentative communication and swallowing assessment, therapy, management, consultation and support across the lifespan. The role of Speech Pathologists also includes advocacy for appropriate care and services for people with communication and/or swallowing/feeding disabilities.

What does a Speech Pathologist do?

Speech Pathologists work in a variety of ways including providing individual therapy, working in small groups, working within a classroom, becoming involved in home-based programs, providing resources and information, as well giving advice and direction to clients, their carers and other professionals. They coordinate the management of clients, work as part of a multi disciplinary team, consult with other agencies, provide workshops and support family members and other caregivers.  A Speech Pathologist’s workload might include:

  • Giving advice to a caregiver who has a baby with feeding/ swallowing difficulties
  • Working with a child and their family when the child has language, comprehension or speech difficulties
  • Working with a child or adult who stutters
  • Training someone who has a voice disorder to use their voice more effectively
  • Rehabilitating the communication and swallowing of someone who has sustained a brain injury
  • Educating and supporting and treating people with progressive neurological disorders
  • Helping someone who has had a stroke to regain their communication and/or swallowing skills, educating and supporting their family
  • Providing education for teachers, doctors, nurses, other health professionals or parents
  • Providing communication strategies for a person with intellectual disability
  • Mental health
  • Progressive disease
  • Palliative care

Related links

For information on how to gain recognition of allied health qualifications obtained overseas please contact the relevant professional association as per the weblinks above.