On average, speech therapists earn about $96,000 per year in the United States in 2022. This number is affected by where you work and how many years of experience you have. Entry-level speech therapist salaries average around $66,000, while speech therapists with 20 years of experience report average earnings of $100,000 or more.
Data collected by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association shows that speech therapists working in health care positions typically earn more than speech therapists working in education. Likewise, administrative and supervisor roles pay more than clinical service provider positions.
Speech therapists are also likely to earn more if they work in large cities and in certain states. Top-paying areas for speech therapists in 2020 included California, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois.
Careers in Speech Therapy
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are graduate-level professionals who have earned a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP). In order to earn the CCC-SLP, speech therapists must first complete graduate coursework, a clinical practicum, and pass a national exam.
SLPs work with clients struggling with speech, language, voice, or fluency problems.
Once speech therapists are certified, they can work in a variety of settings, including education, health care, and research. They can also work in private practice but will most likely always be part of an interdisciplinary team established to help their clients. Speech therapists frequently collaborate with teachers, parents, doctors, audiologists, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, and rehabilitation counselors to ensure that their clients are receiving the comprehensive care they need.
Average Speech Therapy Salary
While the average speech therapy salary in the United States is about $96,000 per year, or $51 per hour, exact salary numbers vary based on a number of factors, such as employment setting, job position, geographic location, and years of experience. Speech therapists working in health care settings, for example, tend to earn more than speech therapists working in educational settings.
According to 2021 data collected by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the annual salaries of SLPs working in health care positions were as follows:
- $97,616 for administrators or supervisors
- $77,000 in outpatient clinics or offices
- $91,000 in skilled nursing facilities
- $78,000 for SLPs who were primarily clinicians
- $64,000 for SLPs with one to three years of experience
- $95,000 for SLPs with 31 or more years of experience
According to 2020 data on speech-language pathologists working in school settings, the average speech therapist salaries were as follows:
- $66,000 for SLPs working 9 or 10 months
- $80,000 for SLPs working 11 or 12 months
- $63,000 for clinical service providers in preschools
- $75,000 for clinical service providers in secondary schools
Speech Therapy Salary by State
Data collected by ASHA shows that speech therapists earn higher average salaries in some states than in others. California, for example, reported the highest average salary for SLPs in school settings, at $95,000 per year in 2020. North Carolina, on the other hand, reported the lowest average salary at $54,060. Overall, average academic salaries are higher in Pacific states, at about $90,000 per year.
Speech therapist salaries in health care settings tend to be higher in the western U.S. According to ASHA, the average salary for an SLP in 2021 in the West was $90,000, up 5K from 2019. Salaries were lower in the Northwest at $79,830.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these are the top-paying states for SLPs:
- California: $102,650 per year
- Hawaii: $100,120 per year
- New York: $98,850 per year
- New Jersey: $98,270 per year
- District of Columbia: $98,240 per year
These are the states with the highest concentration of speech therapy jobs and their respective salaries as of 2019:
- New York: $98,850 per year
- Colorado: $93,460 per year
- New Jersey: $98,270 per year
- Illinois: $82,590 per year
- Vermont: $84,290 per year
Top Cities for Speech Therapists
In general, speech therapists who work in urban settings earn higher average salaries than speech-language pathologists in more remote work settings. Just as some states offer more lucrative opportunities for speech therapists, so do some cities.
According to June 2022 data provided by Indeed, these are the highest paying cities for speech therapists:
- Los Angeles, CA: $104,745 per year
- Chicago, IL: $103,612 per year
- Denver, CO: $101,561 per year
- Queens, NY: $100,049 per year
- Houston, TX: $97,591 per year
- Bronx, NY: $95,225 per year
- Las Vegas, NV: $94,017 per year
- Easton, PA: $84,999 per year
Popular Companies for Speech Therapists
Companies that employ speech therapists include large corporations, nonprofit organizations, and community clinics. Selecting the right company for you depends on your personal goals, such as working full-time, part-time, as a direct care provider, or as an administrator or supervisor.
Here is a selection of top-rated companies on Indeed for speech therapists in the U.S.:
- First Choice Home Care
- JayCare Therapy
- Dynamicare Health, Inc.
Therapists report that they enjoy working at the above companies because of the excellent work environments, outside-of-the box thinking, professional work etiquette, and care for both clients and employees.
In many positions, SLPs are able to set their own schedules, and companies are supportive of their employees receiving further education and training.
Job Growth & Future Expectations
The BLS predicts that the field of speech-language pathology will see 27% job growth from 2018 to 2028, which is much higher than the national average job growth rate.
An increased number of SLPs will be needed across the country to work with the aging baby boomer population and young children with speech disorders who are becoming more widely identified.
Rising rates of autism around the country also contribute to the increased need for speech therapists. Often, SLPs work with children on the spectrum to improve their communication and social skills.
- 2020 Schools Survey: SLP Annual Salaries and Hourly Wages. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
- Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2019: Speech-Language Pathologists. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- SLP Health Care 2021 Survey: Annual Salary Report. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
- Speech-Language Pathologists. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
- Speech-Language Pathologists: Job Outlook. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Speech Therapist. Indeed.