Job Search

Teacher vs. Speech Pathologist: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Both teachers and speech pathologists work with individuals to help them improve their communication skills. If you’re interested in working with people and helping them overcome communication difficulties, either of these careers may be a good fit for you. In this article, we compare and contrast the job duties, education requirements and salaries of teachers and speech pathologists. We also provide information on other careers you may be interested in pursuing.

What is a Teacher?

Teachers typically work in schools, colleges or universities, where they are responsible for instructing students and preparing them for exams. They also develop and grade coursework, assign homework and assess student progress. Teachers typically specialize in a particular subject area, such as math, science or English. In some cases, they may also teach multiple subjects. Teachers often work with students one-on-one to help them improve their understanding of course material and prepare for exams. Some teachers also coach sports teams or advise extracurricular clubs.

What is a Speech Pathologist?

Speech Pathologists, also called Speech-Language Pathologists, work with patients who have trouble speaking or producing sounds correctly. They also work with patients who have trouble swallowing or who have voice disorders. Speech Pathologists assess patients to determine the root of the problem and create a treatment plan. They might work with patients one-on-one or in small groups. Speech Pathologists might also work with family members or caregivers to teach them how to best support the patient.

Teacher vs. Speech Pathologist

Here are the main differences between a teacher and a speech pathologist.

Job Duties

One of the biggest differences between speech pathologists and teachers is the type of duties they perform. Speech pathologists work with individuals to improve their communication skills. They do this by identifying a patient’s challenges, like stuttering or mispronouncing words, and creating treatment plans that help them overcome these issues.

In contrast, teachers have many different job responsibilities depending on the grade level and subject they teach. For example, elementary school teachers typically educate their students in core subjects like reading and math. In contrast, high school teachers often act as counselors, advising their students about post-secondary education options.

Job Requirements

To become a teacher, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field. You also need to complete a state-approved teacher preparation program and earn your teaching license. Some states require teachers to pass a basic skills test and a subject area exam as well.

To become a speech pathologist, you need at least a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from an accredited program. You also need to complete a clinical fellowship year and pass a national exam administered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Some states also have their own licensure requirements for speech pathologists.

Work Environment

Speech pathologists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, schools and private practices. They may also travel to different locations to provide services for clients. Teachers typically work in school classrooms, but they can also teach students in after-school programs or summer camps. Speech pathologists often work long hours during the week, while teachers usually have more regular schedules with fewer overtime hours.


Both teachers and speech pathologists need to have excellent communication skills. They both work with individuals or groups of people and need to be able to clearly explain concepts, give instructions and provide feedback.

Both teachers and speech pathologists also need to be patient as they work with students or clients who may not understand a concept immediately or who may need extra time to process information. In addition, both professions require the ability to be organized in order to create lesson plans or therapy goals and track progress over time.

However, there are some key differences in the skills needed for these jobs. Teachers typically need to have content knowledge in the subjects they teach, while speech pathologists need to have knowledge about human anatomy, physiology and linguistics. Speech pathologists also need to be able to use specialized equipment, such as computers and software programs, to help them assess and treat patients.


The average salary for a teacher is $54,715 per year, while the average salary for a speech pathologist is $84,821 per year. The salary for a teacher may vary depending on the grade level they teach, their location and their years of experience. A speech pathologist’s salary may vary depending on their location, the type of facility they work in and their years of experience.


Maintenance Mechanic vs. Maintenance Technician: What Are the Differences?

Back to Job Search

Compliance Officer vs. Lawyer: What Are the Differences?