I know you have long made your decision by now, but as a SLP I can give you some information. Pay varies by state, but you can be well compensated as a beginning SLP. My first job out of grad school I made 52/hr working in a school setting and haven't made less than 50/hr in about 5 or so years of working. I won't lie, working in the school setting is dreadful. However, as an SLP you can pretty much move to any area of the country and land a job within a week, especially in a school setting. Federal law mandates that school districts provide all students with communication disorders speech services at no cost to the parent. This creates insane demand for SLPs.
I also won't lie about working in the nursing homes. It's even more dreadful than working in the school setting, although that is the highest paying setting. Outpatient is the only setting I've truly enjoyed, though I did like inpatient as well. In patient gets a little dicey when nurses don't even attempt oral care on comatose patients. So when you do a bedside swallow eval on the person who has just woken up after being in a coma for 2 weeks, try not to heave when you have to observe velar function and the smell of death waffs into your face and you try to dodge the dried saliva that had collected in the patients mouth and has turned brown.
The Masters programs are competitive, at least in CA. The program I went to accepted 15 out of 250+ applicants per semester. If you don't have an undergrad degree in SLP, then it would take 4 years to complete the program as you would have to complete all of the undergrad courses,and you would in most likely have to apply again to get into the graduate program again after you complete your post bacc. Perequisites. The grad program is intense. I didn't find the actual concepts and info difficult to grasp, but the sheer volume of info and the amount of work that is put on your plate as a master clinician is tremendous. My jobs have been cake compared to grad school. I did enjoy the aspect of being around a group of highly intelligent people for every waking hour for those two years. Working in the school setting has been a major letdown in that regard. The medical setting definately has a lot of smart people and is much more intellectually stimulating, which is sad since the school setting supposedly is all about education.
You really wouldn't believe how many incompetent people work in the schools that our nation's children are sent to. Not just teachers (there are some really smart and exceptional teachers) but especially administrators and department heads.
If you do enter in to the school setting, be prepared for no one knowing what it is that you actually do, even though these services have been provided in the schools for at least the last 40 years, and be prepared to be referred to as "speech teacher" or "speech person" or even "hey speech girl/guy."
Quote from MBAnursearizona
Hi there! I am trying to make a decision between Nursing and Speech Pathology. I already have an MBA as you can tell from my user id, and 10 years of sales experience, including 5 in pharma. I don't want to do sales anymore as it is unpredictable...I want a real career.
I feel that a Bachelor's in Nursing will be a good fit with my MBA, but I don't like the idea of working crazy shifts, being on your feet all day, and the relatively low pay. With the Nursing degree I don't really have to be a nurse....I could go into medical sales or something else. But again, that's sales. Overall though the nursing degree is broader than speech pathology and could be applicable to many areas. The Bachelor's degree is a 16 month program and costs $16,000. I could eventually get a Master's but the thought of another 2 years is exhausting!
A Master's in Speech Pathology will pay better, and I would still be helping people. However I want to work with adults, stroke victims, etc, so the idea of working with kids, playing with dolls, to get them to pronounce words etc is dreadful to me! That eliminates half of the patient population! I also would not work in the school as the pay is totally ridiculous/low. So I would want to work in a Nursing Home, Home Care, or Hospital, (although I hear it's hard to get on with a hospital). They pay is btter as an SLP, starting at $60k in a medical setting. With my MBA, I think I could get a management position overseeing the therapists in the nursing homes, etc. This program is 24 months long and costs $40,000.
The final piece is that I would be starting a program next year, when I turn 35. Time is important to me now as I am still single and would like to get married, have a family, etc. I want to start a new career as soon as possible.
If anyone has suggestions for another route, please let me know! People tell me that I should be able to get a job with my MBA, but all I have ever done and am qualified for is sales. I don't even know what else there is! I am at a crossroads in my life and appreciate any advice you have to offer! I'm afraid to make a wrong decision!