When you decided to go into this profession, you probably didn’t do so with dreams of one day touring Robin Leach around your mega-yacht. For you, becoming a speech-language pathologist wasn’t about the money—it was about helping people overcome communication challenges, gain self-confidence, and improve the quality of their lives. And while your heart is definitely in the right place, you still deserve to earn a salary commensurate with the quality of therapy you provide. So, what amounts to a “good” salary? The truth is, SLP salaries depend on a variety of factors, ranging from facility type to geographic location. Here are a few important variables to consider as you contemplate compensation:

Physical Therapist Salary Guide - Regular BannerPhysical Therapist Salary Guide - Small Banner

1. Setting matters.

In the SLP industry, wages vary drastically based on facility type. According to a May 2012 national salary report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, SLPs working in skilled nursing facilities and home health services earned average annual salaries of $85,610 and $91,220, respectively—well above the overall national average of $72,730. On the other end of the spectrum, SLPs working in elementary and secondary schools—despite making up the vast majority (69%) of all practicing SLPs—received by far the lowest average salary: $66,440. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) 2012 Schools Survey breaks that down even further, reporting that SLPs working in secondary schools had the highest average salary at $63,749, followed by elementary schools at $59,000 and preschools at $56,825.

2. Location plays a leading role.

Regional factors such as cost of living, reimbursement rates, and educational funding levels give way to substantial differences in SLP salary from one area of the country to another. According to the ASHA's 2011 SLP salary report, SLPs practicing in the Midwest earned the lowest average salary—around $65,000—of all US geographic regions. Those working in the West, on the other hand, earned an average of $80,000. According to the previously cited BLS survey, average salaries in the top five highest-paying states ranged from $81,180 in Maryland to $86,220 in the District of Columbia (other states in the top five were New Jersey, Colorado, and California). That report also shows a slight disparity in average SLP earnings between metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas, with the top-paying metro area—Sherman-Denison, Texas—coming in at $101,530 and the top-paying nonmetro area—Central Indiana—coming in at $92,020.

3. Education is a factor—sort of.

Of those surveyed as part of the ASHA salary report linked above, 97% of respondents listed a master’s as their highest academic degree. Those SLPs reported an average salary of $69,674. By contrast, the average salary for the small percentage of doctoral degree holders included in the survey was $88,022. However, it is important to note that professionals holding more advanced degrees are more likely to work in administrative positions (e.g., directors or supervisors), which typically come with higher salaries. In fact, the survey went on to report that those working as clinical service providers earned about $65,000 a year, whereas those with administrative job titles made an average salary of around $90,000. Also, according to the ASHA schools survey, many SLPs earn salary supplements or bonuses for having their Certificate of Clinical Competence.

4. More experience equals more money.

In general, the more years you spend in a particular field, the more valuable you are (in monetary terms). Speech-language pathology is no different. Case in point: according to the ASHA salary survey mentioned earlier, SLPs with one to three years of experience earned around $58,000 a year. Those with 31 or more years of experience, on the other hand, averaged about $88,750. 

Download your SLP Salary Guide now.

Enter your email address below, and we’ll send you a free breakdown of national SLP salary data, including averages for each state and lists of the top-paying regions and clinical settings.

Please enable JavaScript to submit form.

These items are just a sampling of things to consider when it comes to salary in the speech-language pathology industry. What factors do you think are most important when it comes to determining a reasonable SLP salary? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

  • Are You Paying Your Rehab Therapy Clinic Staff Enough? Image

    articleAug 30, 2018 | 4 min. read

    Are You Paying Your Rehab Therapy Clinic Staff Enough?

    Every good boss wants to ensure that he or she is paying his or her employees enough—in most cases, more than enough—to cover the cost of living and prevent financial worry from getting in the way of job satisfaction. But with many rehab therapy students graduating with massive debt —and fee schedules on the decline—it can be difficult for a rehab therapy practice to properly pay staff and keep enough money in the practice to remain in …

  • Speech-Language Pathologist Salary Guide Image

    downloadMay 27, 2016

    Speech-Language Pathologist Salary Guide

    Talking salary is tough enough as it is—and without solid numbers, it’s pretty much impossible. So, whether you’re negotiating a raise or exploring new job opportunities, it pays to know the facts. And while money probably isn’t your main motivator—you chose this profession because you love helping people live better, richer, more fulfilling lives, after all—the dollar amount on your paycheck should match the value you deliver. But with so many angles to the salary story—location, career …

  • The 2018 Rehab Therapy Salary Report Image

    downloadAug 24, 2018

    The 2018 Rehab Therapy Salary Report

    While all the information we obtained in our 2018 annual industry survey was incredibly useful, the information regarding salary has been—as you might imagine—highly sought-after. After all, who doesn’t want to ensure they’re maximizing their earning potential? Thus, we decided to take all the data we collected about individual provider earnings and compile it into this stand-alone rehab therapy salary report. Enter your email below, and we’ll send you The 2018 Rehab Therapy Salary Report today, so …

  • 4 Keys to Keeping a Steady Cash Flow Image

    articleMay 18, 2016 | 5 min. read

    4 Keys to Keeping a Steady Cash Flow

    As a private practice clinic owner, you’re probably familiar with the cold sweat-inducing struggle to keep a steady cash flow. Claims management muck-ups, inefficient processes, staff issues, and lack of insight into your clinic’s financial health can leave you feeling like you’re riding a revenue rollercoaster. So, whether you’re trying to maximize reimbursements , combat employee theft , or optimize patient payments , these four keys to maintaining a steady cash flow will help you even out …

  • The True Cost of a Bad Hire in Your PT, OT, or SLP Clinic Image

    articleJun 19, 2017 | 5 min. read

    The True Cost of a Bad Hire in Your PT, OT, or SLP Clinic

    If you’ve ever made a bad hire, you know what a harrowing experience it can be. Not only do you need to have at least one difficult conversation with that employee—or many, if you’re adhering to a documented coaching plan —but you also may have to repeat all the hiring and training steps you already completed to replace that bad hire with a good one. That’s expensive from both a resource and time perspective. But how much …

  • articleJun 10, 2013 | 5 min. read

    4 Steps to Attracting Top-Tier Therapy Talent

    It’s no secret that physical therapists (PTs), occupational therapists (OTs), and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are are in high demand. In fact, between 2010 and 2020, industry experts expect employment rates for physical therapists to increase by 39%  ( tweet this stat! ) —that’s significantly higher than almost all other occupations. In other words, if you’re looking to hire the best in class from the next generation of rehab therapists, you’re bound to have some seriously steep competition. …

  • Common Questions from Our 2018 State of Rehab Therapy Webinar Image

    articleJul 13, 2018 | 21 min. read

    Common Questions from Our 2018 State of Rehab Therapy Webinar

    Earlier this year, we surveyed nearly 7,000 PT, OT, and SLP professionals on the current state of the rehab therapy industry, asking questions on everything from salary and student loan debt to payer mix and patient dropout. We then compiled their responses into our comprehensive State of Rehab Therapy in 2018 report and hosted webinar during which Dr. Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, president and co-founder of WebPT, and Nancy Ham, WebPT CEO, offered their take on …

  • How to Attract Top Talent to Your Practice Image

    articleJan 22, 2016 | 2 min. read

    How to Attract Top Talent to Your Practice

    Every practice owner wants to hire the crème de la crème. Here’s how to get quality job candidates knocking on your door. Wouldn’t it be great to get the highest-quality job candidates lining up to work at your practice? Well, with a few tweaks to your strategy, that dream might not be that far from reality. It all has to do with curb appeal—that is, how you present your practice to potential candidates. Most companies offer competitive …

  • The Private Practice Owner's Guide to Fair Compensation Image

    articleJul 22, 2016 | 12 min. read

    The Private Practice Owner's Guide to Fair Compensation

    As a business owner, your life would be a whole lot easier if there were set-in-stone rules for determining what’s fair when it comes to employee compensation. Unfortunately, there are not—which is why it’s so important to create compensation packages that not only fall within or exceed local averages, but also feel good for your practice and your employees. After all, everyone in your practice is working toward the same goals: a thriving business and satisfied patients. …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.