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How to Become a Speech-Language Pathologist in Ontario

Many people take the ability to communicate for granted until we experience problems with it. If you’d like to help others deal with speech-language issues such as stuttering or difficulty swallowing, becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist may be the right job for you. This blog will help you understand the requirements to become a Speech-Language Pathologist in Ontario.

Speech language pathologist with little girl pointing at picture book.

What is Speech-Language Pathology?

Speech-language pathology, sometimes referred to as speech therapy, or speech-language therapy, is the assessment and management of communication and swallowing disorders. Speech-language pathology (SLP) is a field of expertise practiced by Speech-Language Pathologists—professionals equipped with knowledge, skills, and clinical experience to help patients with congenital and/or acquired communication and swallowing disorders.

What Services do Speech-Language Pathologists Provide?

The job of a Speech-Language Pathologist includes preventing, identifying, evaluating and treating communication and swallowing disorders. Speech-Language Pathologist can practice in different settings including schools, hospitals, clinics, research centres, rehabilitation centres, private practices, or through in-home visits.

Generally, a Speech-Language Pathologist provides assessments, treatments and consultations of:

  • Language disorders
  • Cognitive communication disorders
  • Voice disorders
  • Swallowing disorders

Speech-Language Pathologists can also work with other professionals, such as audiologists, dietitians, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and more, to provide clients with the best treatment possible.

Speech language pathologist helping little girl using toys.

Requirements to Become a Speech-Language Pathologist in Ontario

In order to become a Speech-Language Pathologist, you will need to earn a 4-year Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university and then spend another two or three years studying to earn a Master’s degree in SLP. Any undergraduate programs would suffice as long as they offer the prerequisite courses that a Master’s program commonly requires.

Admission requirements for a Master program in SLP may vary among universities, but they do share some common criteria, including:

  • 4-year Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.
  • A minimum mid-B (3.0 GPA) average in the final 1-2 years of full-time study or throughout the whole four years.
  • Completing 4-6 prerequisites in areas such as child development, linguistics, phonetics, statistics/research design, human physiology, life science, social science, and psychology.
  • Proficiency in English and/or French.

Sometimes clinical volunteer or paid experience working with a registered Speech-Language Pathologist can be an admission requirement. Applications must be submitted through the Ontario Rehabilitation Sciences Programs Application Service (ORPAS).

Students in the SLP master program studying together in classroom.

There are currently 4 universities in Ontario that offer speech-language pathology programs for graduates:

Programs offered by the University of Toronto, Western University, and Université d’Ottawa are accredited according to the Council for Accreditation of Canadian University Programs in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. The program offered by McMaster University is new and hasn’t been accredited yet.

Once you’ve gotten a Master’s degree in SLP, you’ll need to register with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO) in order to become a regulated Speech-Language Pathologist and legally practice SLP.

Girl in red shirt trying to speak to mom. Mom making open mouth gesture.

Average Salary for a Speech-Language Pathologist

Job Bank Canada reported that the hourly wage for a Speech-Language Pathologist in Ontario ranges from $28.06 to $51.72, with a median of $42.56. Annually, a Speech-Language Pathologist in Ontario earns between $58k and $107k, with a median salary of $88k.

Where to Find Speech-Language Pathologist Jobs

If you’re looking to gain experience through volunteering, organizations like Toronto Rehab Intitute/UHN or Aphasia Institute can be a good place to find volunteer positions.

If you’re looking for Speech-Language Pathologist jobs and don’t have a specific organization that you want to work for, looking through career sites like Job Bank, Indeed and Workopolis would be a great start. You can also go to the Speech-Language & Audiology of Canada or the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists websites to see their career postings.

At Closing the Gap Healthcare, we’re frequently hiring Speech-Language Pathologists throughout Ontario. To see if there are any open positions near you, visit our Careers page.

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