About Speech, Language, and Hearing Scientist Careers

What is a speech, language, and hearing scientist, and what do they do?

Speech, language, and hearing scientists are professionals who investigate the biological, physical, and psychological processes of communication and develop evidence-based methods for diagnosing and treating individuals with speech, language, and hearing problems. Many people may already know that speech, language, and hearing scientists work as researchers in laboratories and institutes. But they do a lot more than that! Speech, language, and hearing scientists also do the following jobs:

  • Prepare future generations of audiologists and speech-language pathologists as faculty-researchers at colleges and universities
  • Develop strategies for expanding and disseminating the knowledge base in the discipline through state and federal government agencies
  • Collaborate with related professionals—including engineers, physicians, and dentists—for product research development in private industry
  • Explore evidence-based assessment and intervention strategies in hospitals or clinics where research is a part of the institute’s mission

What is the job outlook for speech, language, and hearing scientists?

Data from the CSD Education Survey Reports support the need for more PhD-trained graduates to fill faculty-researcher positions at colleges and universities. In 2013, ASHA documented the ongoing need for PhD-trained researchers [PDF] and faculty-researchers in the discipline.

The salaries of speech, language, and hearing scientists vary widely depending on education, experience, work setting, and geographical location. According to the 2018 CAPCSD Salary Survey, mean salaries for faculty-researchers range from $70,408 for assistant professors to $108,376 for full professors.

What education do I need to become a speech, language, and hearing scientist or faculty-researcher?

A research doctoral degree (e.g., PhD) is generally required to work as a speech, language, and hearing scientist.

  • A PhD degree generally requires approximately 4–6 years of study after a bachelor’s degree.
  • Students may pursue research degrees in communication sciences and disorders or in a related discipline, such as psychology or linguistics.

A bachelor’s degree is required for admission to graduate school. Earning a PhD may take less time for clinicians with graduate degrees, depending on the type of coursework that they have already completed. Students can use EdFind, ASHA’s online search tool, to identify PhD programs in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) and their requirements.

Getting Started

The majority of people who earn a PhD in CSD pursue faculty-researcher careers within a college or university. CSD programs often prefer to hire faculty with PhDs because of their research expertise in a specific area and their ability to teach and mentor students. The job market is excellent for individuals with PhDs. Findings from the annual CSD Education Survey consistently demonstrate strong demand for new academic faculty.

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