How Much Do Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists Make?

Audiologists and speech-language pathologists have fairly different roles but often work together, tracking the progress of clients, making adjustments to any medical devices and providing the appropriate therapy.

Audiologists are concerned with diagnosing, managing, and treating a patient’s balance, hearing, and any other ear related problems. They use computers, audiometers, and related devices for testing patients’ balance and hearing ability. They determine the extent to which a patient’s hearing ability may be damaged and also investigate its cause. More specifically, they measure the volume at which a patient may begin to hear sounds as well as how well they can distinguish between different sounds.

Typical duties of an audiologist may include:

  • Examining patients who have balance, hearing, or ear problems
  • Assessing the results of the examination and diagnosing problems
  • Determining and administering treatment to meet the goals of patients
  • Treating patients for tinnitus, a condition that might cause ringing in the ear
  • Fitting and dispensing hearing aids
  • Teaching patients and families to communicate using different technology or lip reading
  • Recording patient progress
  • Researching the causes and treatment of balance and disorders
  • Educating patients about the ways through which hearing loss can be prevented.

Speech-language pathologists, also known as speech therapists, assess, diagnose, treat, and help prevent swallowing and communication disorders in adults and children. Language, swallowing, and speech disorders might result from a wide range of causes, such as brain injury, a stroke, hearing loss, Parkinson’s disease, developmental delay, autism, or a cleft palate. Speech therapists work with patients who may be experiencing difficulty understanding language, speech, or those who may have voice disorders such as a harsh voice or an inappropriate pitch.

Typical duties of speech-language pathologists may include:

  • Evaluating levels of language, swallowing, or speech difficulty
  • Identifying treatment options
  • Creating and carrying out individualized treatment plans, addressing specific functional needs
  • Teaching adults and children how to make sounds and improving their voices and maintaining fluency
  • Helping individuals in improving vocabulary
  • Working with adults and children to strengthen the muscles that are used to swallow
  • Counseling individuals and their families on how to cope with swallowing and communication disorders.

In general, here is a breakdown of the 154,360 speech-language pathologists’ and 13,590 audiologists’ salaries in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019):

Speech-Language PathologistsAudiologists
Number of Professionals Employed154,36013,590
10th Percentile$49,840$54,010
25th Percentile$61,940$66,030
50th Percentile (Median)$79,120$77,600
75th Percentile$99,380$96,610
90th Percentile$121,260$120,750

Some states do not require audiologists or speech-language pathologists to be certified. However, employers typically prefer hiring certified professionals. Certification can be obtained through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). This organization awards the Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) certification for audiologists and the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) for speech-language pathologists.

Speech-language pathologists also have the option of earning a speciality certification in swallowing, child language, or fluency. Three organizations offering specialty certifications are the American Board of Child Language and Language Disorders; the American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders; and the American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders. Audiologists may also be credentialed through the American Board of Audiology.

US News & World Report (2020) ranks speech-language pathologists at number six and audiologists at number 26 in its “Best Healthcare Jobs.” Those seeking careers as speech-language pathologists or audiologists also can look forward to bright job prospects, as demand for these professions in the United States is growing.

In fact, both these occupations are among the fastest-growing in the United States. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019) shows that the need for speech-language pathologists is growing at a rate of 27 percent (2018 to 2028), while the need for speech-language pathologists is growing at a rate of 27 percent (2018 to 2028). An estimated 41,900 new speech-language pathologist positions are expected to be added by the year 2028, while an estimated 2,200 new audiologist positions are expected to be added.

Read on to learn how much audiologists and speech-language pathologists make, where they are employed, the top-paying clinical specializations, and the top paying industries.

Top-Paying Cities for Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists

Below is a list of the top-paying cities and their corresponding metropolitan areas with the highest salaries for speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Also shown are the estimated number of employed professionals (not including self-employed workers), and the annual average salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2019).

Speech-language pathologists:

Metropolitan areaNumber of SLPs employedAnnual mean wage
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT8$117,710
Corvallis, OR40$105,380
Chico, CA60$104,640
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA13,240$104,180
Bakersfield, CA210$103,760
Jackson, MI50$103,750
Santa Rosa, CA100$102,640
Columbus, GA-AL50$101,800
Fresno, CA270$101,550
Danbury, CT90$101,540

Audiologists:

Metropolitan areaNumber of audiologists employedAnnual mean wage
Reno, NV8$146,950
Fresno, CA8$131,270
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR60$120,440
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA220$118,680
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA8$111,810
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA60$107,310
Tulsa, OK8$104,010
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA140$102,560
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA8$98,750
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC8$97,880

Top-Paying States for Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists

The list below shows the states with the highest average salaries for speech-language pathologists and audiologists and the estimated number of employed professionals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019):

Speech-language pathologists:

StateNumber of SLPs employedAnnual mean wage
Connecticut2,290$101,410
District of Columbia390$99,430
New York13,130$96,770
New Jersey5,750$95,710
California14,980$92,740

Audiologists

StateNumber of audiologists employedAnnual mean wage
North Dakota8$119,780
California950$101,540
District of Columbia110$96,400
Oklahoma110$94,900
Delaware90$94,290

Top-Paying Specializations for Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists

In order to earn higher salaries, speech-language pathologists and audiologists can specialize in a specific related area. The list below shows five speech-language pathologists and audiologists specializations and their correlating salaries, based on self-reported data from PayScale.com 2020:

Speech-language pathologists:

SpecializationAverage annual salary
Speech Pathology$60,985
Rehabilitation$67,301
Pediatrics$60,304
Geriatrics$70,234
Childhood Education$57,257

Audiologists:

SpecializationAverage annual salary
Diagnosis and Treatment Planning$67,916
Patient Counseling$66,553
Pediatrics$67,834
Geriatrics$67,726
Clinical Assessment$71,220

Top-Paying Industries for Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists

The list below shows the top paying industries for speech-language pathologists and audiologists, based on data from BLS (May 2019).

Speech-language pathologists:

IndustryEmployment of SLPsAnnual mean wage
Management of Companies and Enterprises770$110,240
Child Day Care Services1,640$100,690
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services70$97,700
Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly720$97,390
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)6,250$95,420

Audiologists:

IndustryEmployment of audiologistsAnnual mean wage
Outpatient Care Centers450$92,260
Offices of Other Health Practitioners3,340$90,650
Employment Services40$90,210
Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing130$88,000
Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals180$87,430
Farheen Gani

Farheen Gani

Writer

Farheen is a freelance writer, marketer, and researcher. She writes about technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).

Related Articles

  • 16 December 2019

    Speech-Language Pathologists in New York: The Fight for Universal Licensure

    There is currently a shortage of SLPs that is putting a strain on schools, hospitals, and healthcare organizations in certain areas of the U.S. The salaries among New York-based SPLs are attractive, ranking the fifth highest in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For students in speech pathology looking to begin their careers in New York, this is welcome news, but for the medical community and citizens of the state, the sharp projected increase in demand for SLPs presents a forthcoming challenge to fill new positions that needs to be addressed.

  • 13 July 2020

    Health Equity 101: When Access to Healthy Food is Physically (and Financially) Out of Reach

    There are some proposals to combat food deserts and poor nutrition, including talking with patients about how to secure nutritious food, supporting community-based initiatives such as farmers’ markets, and implementing public policy changes.

  • 18 June 2020

    Mentors in Health: An Interview with a Radiation Therapist

    Radiation is used to cure cancer, prevent recurrence, or slow cancer growth. It is also used palliatively to ease symptoms such as pain or breathing difficulties. Using evidence-based practice, radiation therapy is adjusted over the course of treatment based on side effects and outcomes.

  • 11 May 2020

    Health Careers on the Rise: The Doulas Coaching Patients through Life…and Death

    To support people and their families through what can be an emotionally difficult time, end-of-life doulas help individuals and families facilitate advanced care planning, settle logistical affairs, create legacy projects, prepare home funeral arrangements, and if requested, end-of-life doulas can be present for a dying person’s transition from life to death.

  • 5 May 2020

    Respiratory Health & Vaping: Interview with an Expert

    Replacing tobacco with vape liquid means there are numerous new substances being inhaled into the lungs, and they can be extremely detrimental to a user’s health. One major offender appears to be vitamin E acetate. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 48 out of 51 EVALI patients had vitamin E acetate in the fluid collected from their lungs.

  • 23 March 2020

    Exercise Physiologists in Michigan: Fighting for Access to Exercise in School

    “It’s an exciting time to be an exercise physiologist because there are so many ways and places to apply this knowledge to help people,” Paulson says. “Now is the time when it serves us all to know more about exercise, not less!”

  • 13 March 2020

    Mentors in Health: Interview with a Physical Therapist Assistant

    Britany Cunningham is a licensed physical therapist assistant (also known as a PTA) who works at several clinics in Nampa and Caldwell, Idaho. As a “PRN” (short for the Latin phrase pro re nata), she has a floating schedule and works with multiple clinics as needed.