Speech-Language Pathology Data Indicate Professional Trends More than three-quarters (77%) of speech-language pathologists surveyed last year as part of ASHA’s Omnibus Survey reported that they served students with autism/pervasive developmental disorder, while 72% reported serving students with learning disabilities, and 71% served students with mental retardation/developmental disability. These results and more were gathered as part of ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   April 01, 2004
Speech-Language Pathology Data Indicate Professional Trends
Author Notes
  • Jeanette Janota, is ASHA’s senior research associate and statistician. Contact her by e-mail at jjanota@asha.org.
    Jeanette Janota, is ASHA’s senior research associate and statistician. Contact her by e-mail at jjanota@asha.org.×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / School-Based Settings / Practice Management / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   April 01, 2004
Speech-Language Pathology Data Indicate Professional Trends
The ASHA Leader, April 2004, Vol. 9, 3. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.09082004.3
The ASHA Leader, April 2004, Vol. 9, 3. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.09082004.3
More than three-quarters (77%) of speech-language pathologists surveyed last year as part of ASHA’s Omnibus Survey reported that they served students with autism/pervasive developmental disorder, while 72% reported serving students with learning disabilities, and 71% served students with mental retardation/developmental disability.
These results and more were gathered as part of the annual survey. For more than 20 years, SLPs have provided information to ASHA on topics of interest through the Omnibus Survey. In 2003 the survey was sent to a sample of 7,500 constituents in the United States with proportionate representation by area of certification. Of those surveyed, 58%-or 4,387-responded.
According to the year-end member count for 2003, the number of ASHA-certified SLPs stands at 97,953. The demographic data, updated twice a year and gathered from the annual dues invoice, shows that 60% of certified SLPs work in an educational facility (schools or universities); 35% in health care (14% in hospitals, 13% in nonresidential health care settings, and 8% in residential health care facilities); with the rest in other types of facilities. Nearly 83% are employed as clinical service providers, with the remainder working in other roles including as administrators, teachers, and consultants. Approximately 12% work in private practice part time and 7% full time.
Caseload Size/Productivity Requirement
Among certified SLPs who work in the schools and have at least one individual in their caseloads, the average (mean and median) number of clients they served in a typical month was 50. (To calculate the mean, add the total of all the values and divide by the number of items. To determine the median, arrange the values in order, from lowest to highest, and select the one in the middle position. Medians are more stable and less susceptible to extreme values than are means.)
When asked about productivity requirements, more SLPs in health care settings reported productivity in terms of required percentages than hours per day. The median value across health care settings was 73% or six hours (in an eight-hour day). Percent productivity was lower in nonresidential health care settings than in hospitals or residential health care facilities.
Internet Access
Individuals who work in hospitals were more likely than those in other settings to be able to access the Internet while using the telephone at work (70%). Those in residential health care settings were least likely to be able to do this (37%).
School Services
Nearly all SLPs in the schools (92%) reported that they served individuals with articulation or phonological disorders, and the average number they served was 23.
School-based SLPs were asked the number of weekly hours they spent in each of six models of service delivery. More hours were spent on traditional pull-out service than any other model (20 hours). The least amount of time was spent in a resource room environment (less than 1 hour). More than half of their work week was taken up with direct intervention. Record keeping/paperwork/report writing was a distant second.
Current information about the function, facility, age, gender, and other demographic information about SLPs can be found on the Member Counts page of the ASHA Web site.
Additional Information
Survey Is Valuable Career Tool

ASHA’s Omnibus reports present valid, reliable data that you, as a speech-language pathologist can use to compare your work environments with others in the United States. This is helpful in identifying types of facilities where you might like to work and can help you plan your career. It’s useful, too, for developing private practice business plans and for recruiting students into the professions.

The “2003 Omnibus Survey Caseload Report: SLP” can be found on ASHA’s Web site. In addition to material included in this article, the report addresses reimbursement, volunteerism, usefulness of tools for culturally and linguistically diverse populations, knowledge of second-language acquisition, and use of the Web.

Looking Ahead: the 2004 Surveys

ASHA’s Omnibus Survey has been the source of practice trend data for the Association for more than two decades, but that is changing. Beginning this year, the questions typically asked on the Omnibus will be combined with questions from other surveys, resulting in specialized surveys focused by profession and facility. A series of four such surveys will rotate, two each year in the spring and fall. Surveys to a sample of school-based speech-language pathologists are in the mail.

As an SLP, you are the most vital link in gathering data. The reports are compiled from data that members provide, so the most important thing you can do is to complete ASHA surveys if you receive one. Answers reported on surveys are confidential. For more information about ASHA research, visit www.asha.org or contact Sarah Slater at sslater@asha.org or through the Action Center at 800-498-2071, ext. 4149.

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April 2004
Volume 9, Issue 8