Some speech teachers work on an individual basis with special needs students experiencing speech problems and some prepare students to give public speeches. Training for these careers can range from a bachelor's degree to a doctorate. Continue reading to learn about what these careers involve and how you can get started in them.
Two different types of speech teachers exist. The first are more commonly called speech-language pathologists or speech therapists; these special education teachers works with children just starting school or older kids to help them correctly pronounce words, start talking and lose lisps. They may also work with adults who've suffered a traumatic event, such as a stroke. The second is a teacher who prepares students to gives public speeches, usually at the high school or university level, a skill that many will use for the rest of their lives.
Undergraduate degree programs in speech or communication with an emphasis or a minor in speech-language pathology may introduce you to speech disorders, how fluency develops amongst children and methods for correcting incorrect speech. Courses include studies in phonetics, communication disorders, methods for managing a special education classroom, language acquisition and curriculum development. In a master's degree program in speech-language pathology or communication disorders, your courses could address issues in stuttering, language disorders, articulation development and strategies in intervention while providing the chance to complete clinical experiences. Education programs include opportunities to complete student teaching experiences and gain classroom experience.
Through a bachelor's degree program in communication or speech with teaching certification, your courses may cover topics in writing, public speaking and broadcasting. The programs tend to address issues in mass communication and the history of the media. They also include speech classes, such as oral communications, theories of reading aloud, phonetics, articulation, diction, persuasion and debate. The teaching aspect of the program covers educational psychology, classroom management, methods for assessing learning and using technology in the classroom in addition to a student teaching experience.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for speech therapists should increase by 19% between 2008 and 2018, partially because as the baby-boomers age and the number of special education students increase, they will need help overcoming speech, language and fluency issues (www.bls.gov). The BLS projects that the demand for high school teachers will increase by nine percent and that the demand for special education teachers will increase by 20% in elementary schools, 18% in middle schools and 13% in high schools. As of May 2010, the median annual salary for high schools was $53,230, elementary school special education teachers made $52,250, middle school special education teachers made $53,440, high school special education teachers made $54,810 and speech-language pathologists made $66,920.
The minimum requirement for a speech teacher of any kind is a bachelor's degree, according to the BLS. To teach at a public high school, you must have a teaching license, but not all private schools require one. If you want to teach methods for public speaking and communication, consider pursuing a bachelor's degree in speech or communication and teaching. Special education teachers, including those teaching speech and communication, must complete specific courses in special education training. All special education teachers must have a teaching license.
The BLS reports that some states require that special education teachers have a master's degree in special education. Most speech-language pathologists need to have a master's degree and a licensure and some states may have certification requirements. Licensure requirements include passing the national speech-language pathology exam, engaging in 300-375 hours of clinical experience while under supervision and engaging in an additional nine months of clinical experience following graduation. Speech therapists and special education speech teachers deal with voice disorders, pitch problems and fluency problems as opposed to training students to give speeches in front of others.
You can engage in additional training at the doctoral degree level. This can lead to additional opportunities as a speech therapist. It can also lead to opportunities teaching at the university level.