Despite there being so many workplace options, why is it that over 50% of ASHA certified SLPs choose to work in a school? Well, not only is there a plethora of school-based jobs, but there are so many benefits that keep SLPs coming back for more. We’ve narrowed down the top four reasons SLPs love working in schools.
1.) The Best Work/Life Balance on the Planet
Being a school-based SLP means that you only work 9-10 months a year. That means that you have 2-3 months of the year to invest in yourself and your work life balance. Whether it be traveling to a faraway land over summer vacation or spending all the winter holidays with your loved ones, you can’t go wrong with the school schedule! Not to mention, the average school workday ends at about 3-4pm! That means that you can skip rush hour, go to a fun workout class or indulge in a hobby, and still get home in time to cook dinner.
2.) Developing Strong Transferrable Skills
Another benefit of working in a school is the wide variety of populations you can serve. Under the IDEA law, each child has the right to a free and appropriate education. This means that you can encounter a wide spectrum of diagnosis within one school district. Imagine that you can be working in a classroom with anything from medically fragile children to general education students with articulation goals. With the wide variety of speech and language disorders you can treat in a school, it promotes strong transferable skills across different clinical settings. When interviewing for school-based jobs, you can seek out programs that suit your clinical interests.
3.) Collaboration with Other Service Providers
Along with the continuum of special education, comes an interdisciplinary team of service providers. Depending on the makeup of your caseload, you may be co-treating with Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Social Workers, Psychologists, Applied Behavior Analysts, Reading Specialists, and more! Often times, special education teams meet a few times a month to discuss the treatment and assessment of shared students. This allows for holistic treatment, collaboration, and opportunities for transdisciplinary professional growth.
4.) Enhancing Children’s Lives Firsthand
Through working with diverse caseloads and interdisciplinary teams, you have a lot of room to be creative and level-up as a professional. Children do not learn in a one-size fits all technique, and school-based speech language pathologists get to be the advocate for students’ strengths and unique learning styles. You will not only be developing and educating the students, but you also are in a special position to help teachers and parents understand the child’s needs, and how to help them reach their fullest potential.
School-based Speech-Language Pathologists help shape the future of our workforce. They bring hope to children struggling in school and teach tolerance to peers. They wear many hats, utilize high-level clinical skills, and fulfill an irreplaceable spot on a multi-disciplinary team. If you haven’t considered a school SLP job, we urge you to consider this amazing setting.