If you work as a speech therapist, you’re probably already aware of the benefits of working in the profession. Speech therapists play a vital role in helping people overcome various language, speech, and swallowing problems. But if you have only worked in hospitals, rehab centers, and nursing homes, you might not know about the advantages of working as a school-based speech therapist.
Pros and Cons of School Based SLPs
While this career path comes with its many rewards, there are certainly several pros and cons to consider when working as a school-based SLP. We’ve rounded up a list to summarize a few things to consider before perusing this as a career path.
- Flexibility: With a high demand for school-based SLPs, there are certainly several opportunities for you to choose from especially when you partner with an experienced staffing agency such as Sunbelt. With on our team on your side, we are able to provide you with a variety of school-based settings across the country to ensure you are placed the most suitable environment. Whether you’d prefer to focus on a specific age group or a specific area of speech therapy, you have the flexibility to work in a variety of settings.
- Diverse caseload: As a school-based SLP, you are presented with the unique opportunity to handle a variety of cases. In a work setting that changes from day to day, you are tasked with the unique challenge of providing services to students who need them in a creative and engaging way, using your ability to problem-solve.
- Collaboration opportunities: Another great benefit to working in a school-based setting is the opportunity to collaborate with other school leaders and professionals. This is certainly an advantage when working together on an IEP to determine how best to address students’ needs.
- Holidays: Time off for holidays is a benefit that most school professionals can appreciate. You work hard and deserve time to spend relaxing to prepare for another school year or semester. This also provides you with the opportunity to take on per diem assignments in other work environments, if desired.
- High caseload numbers: With a school setting comes several of cases. While you may work with a team of other school leaders to develop IEPs for students, there is a high chance that you may be one of the only SLPs in the school. This means that you will need to learn how to balance your time well in order to provide high quality services to each student who requires SLP services.
- Documentation and paperwork: While school-based SLPs may not have the same amount of paperwork as you would in a different setting, there are other documentations that you will need to consider. This can include IEPs, attendance logs, medical forms and progress reports.
There are several great reasons for making the switch and working as a school speech therapist including the following:
Treating children with a variety of communication disorders:When you work as a school speech therapist, you have the opportunity to work with children with a wide array of disorders that may impact hearing, speech and language. For example, you might have children on your caseload who have Down Syndrome, hearing loss, and autism spectrum disorder. It’s also common to work with students who have various expressive and receptive language delays.
Getting to know children and their families:In a hospital or rehab center, you often only work with patients for a short time, but school speech therapists often treat children over an extended time. You might work with the same child for several years in a row. Working with children long-term not only helps you get a better sense of their goals, but it allows you to see both immediate and long-term progress.
Working together as part of a team:In addition to teachers, counselor, and other professionals, speech therapists also work with parents to help children reach their IEP goals. Not only do you have support when you work as part of an interdisciplinary team, but you have the chance to learn from each other. You also have other team members to bounce ideas off of.
Helping disadvantaged children:It’s rewarding to help anyone improve their ability to communicate. But when you work with disadvantaged children who may otherwise not get the help they need reach their potential, it’s especially rewarding.
Making a difference in the day to day lives of children:
Effective communication helps improve a child’s overall quality of life. School-based speech therapists help improve a child’s ability communicate in a variety of ways. A therapist can help students learn how to use communication devices, talk without stuttering, and understand non-verbal social signs. The communication skills a child learns during speech therapy can improve their academic potential, assist in social interactions, and help them throughout their life.
Weekends and summers off:If you work as a hospital, nursing home, or rehab speech therapist, you probably work year-round including some weekends. School-based speech therapists typically work the same schedule as teachers, which usually means weekends off. Although academic calendars vary, many schools don’t hold classes during the summer, which means you also have summers off! A few months off in the summer every year is another awesome reason working as a school-based therapist might be a great career option.
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