Careers in Communication Disorders

The personnel who work in the field of communication disorders are speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. These professionals evaluate, treat and conduct research into human communication and its disorders. The practice and work of these individuals may take place in many types of settings: hospitals, schools, universities, private practice, research laboratories and industry. These individuals may collaborate with medical specialists, educators, engineers, scientists and other allied health professionals and technicians.

Speech-Language Pathologists

  • Evaluate and treat children and adults who are having difficulty speaking, understanding, reading or writing. This may include problems with thinking of the correct word, slurred speech, difficulties with voice, or dysfluent speech (stuttering). These problems may be developmental or they may be the result of another injury, like a stroke. 
  • Evaluate the cognitive skills of adults or children to determine their ability to remember, concentrate, and solve problems. Provide therapy when indicated. These problems may also be developmental or they may be the result of a brain injury. 
  • Evaluate swallowing problems in both children and adults. Provide therapy programs and recommend strategies to help improve swallow function. 
  • Evaluate and treat children and adults with social communication difficulties.
  • Provide assistance with communication using alternative and augmentative communication devices. 
  • Advocate for people with communication disorders and differences.
  • Educate others on the prevention of communication disorders.


  • Evaluate hearing and/or balance ability of children and adults
  • Provide aural rehabilitation, including counseling, to reduce the effects of hearing loss on communication
  • Assess hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other hearing assistive technology and instruct in their use and care
  • Initiate public and private hearing conservation programs
  • Administer and interpret advanced diagnostic tests such as auditory electrophysiology,electronystagmography, and vestibular evoked myogenic potentials
  • Initiate clinical and basic research related to hearing loss and its effects
  • Serve as consultants to industry on environmental and noise-induced hearing loss 

Speech – Language Pathology Assistants

  • Provide speech and language treatment following a plan developed by the supervising SLP and document treatment progress
  • Assist the SLP with speech, language, and hearing screenings without clinical interpretation
  • Assist the SLP during assessment of children and adults without clinical administration and/or interpretation
  • Program and provide instruction in the use of augmentative and alternative communication devices
  • Provide services under SLP supervision in another language for individuals who do not speak English and English-language learners
  • Advocate for people with communication disorders and differences
  • Educate others on the prevention of communication disorders
  • Speech, Language, and Hearing Scientists
  • Investigate processes underlying human communication
  • Explore psychological, social, and psychophysiological aspects of communication
  • Collaborate with physicians, dentists, engineers, and educators to develop new treatment approaches
  • Apply newly discovered basic knowledge and emerging technology to issues of clinical practice