Show Me the Money: SLP Salary Expectations

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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15 thoughts on “Show Me the Money: SLP Salary Expectations

  1. I contract speech services out to home health agencies on a per diem basis, and most agencies do not want to pay more than $75/visit. I have been able to work up from that number due to having so many requests for my services, however, the Speech Therapy referrals seem to be drying up lately and I’m curious if it’s b/c I’m charging too much? There was a time when I was having 4-6 visits/wk, but lately it’s more like a visit every couple of months.
    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy not having to finish my full time job and run off to my contract jobs, but the extra money is nice! Anyway, just my 2 cents as a fellow txspeechguy! Us speechguys should stick together!

    1. Hey, I am interested in a career in Speech Therapy, I am from England and was interested in coming over to the US to study, what university did you attend? is there one that you would recommend?

    2. I am interested in directly contracting speech do I go about doing that. I’ve been trying to figure out what I need but some direction would be nice (business name, business license? ) etc. Thank you in advance.

      1. Check the ASHA website as a start. You will find a lot of good info there. I started my own outpatient speech practice last June. My first steps were to establish a tax ID and set up my business (with business name) as a Limited Liability Corporation through an accountant. You’ll need to market yourself and I would recommend getting a unique logo using a graphic arts person versus a stock image.
        Check your local market to see how you can set yourself apart and compete. You will make the most money if you live in an affluent area and do not contract with insurance companies as a provider (ie., families pay out of pocket for services). My business is in an area where I rely almost entirely on insurance reimbursement for speech claims including Medicaid-based health plans so it’s harder to make a profit especially with those that pay low. Dealing with some insurance is time consuming and difficult so if you go that route, prepare yourself to spend a good portion of your time (or pay someone else) to do that.
        Owning and running my own business is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but worth it.

  2. I’m about as rural as it can get in the midwest and there’s no way I make anywhere close to the median salary even with over 3 years of experience. Maybe I need to negotiate better.
    That said, it’s still a fabulous career choice.

  3. i contract per diem through an agency in buffalo, ny – we get $37 for a preschool session(usually 30 minutes). $100 for an eval. but no taxes are taken out. we get hit with that later!

  4. katie
    what state are you currently located in? I’m having trouble getting medicaid credentialing due to the fact they keep telling me they dont credential in my state.

    please email me…I have some questions

  5. katie
    what state are you currently located in? I’m having trouble getting medicaid credentialing due to the fact they keep telling me they dont credential in my state.

    please email me…I have some questions


  6. I am sorry to report that this is not the case in Florida. Our salaries are very low. An Asha Certified Speech Language Pathologist with 15 years of experience makes less than $46K a year in Brevard County, Florida. Most counties in Florida have lowered their salaries. If one makes a comparison between the salary schedules eight years ago and now, one will be appalled at how much lower they are now; including higher paying counties like Palm Beach and Dade. Many counties do not offer stipends for ASHA Certification. Many SLP’s I know are going through financial problems because they cannot make ends meet. They would have liked to attend the ASHA conference in Orlando, but were not able to financial constraints. Daughters, consider your parent’s advice.

    1. I have been a speech pathologist for the last five years. Since I graduated, I have worked doing home health ST with kids at an hourly rate of $41 and hour and for the past three years have worked in snf setting and for home health with geriatrics making annual salary of $82,000- to now $84,000 (salary has increased with different competing settings as I am now considered a ‘seasoned’ clinician having been out of school for five years). Florida is a retirement state so you will find hourly wages may be a little higher with adults vs kids. I have friends making half my salary bc they work in the school system and have to do Prn work all summer and on weekends to make ends meet ( and let’s not forget to pay student loans).

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