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Canada’s Best Jobs 2014: Audiologist & Speech-Language Pathologist

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An audiologist, left, tests a patient’s hearing (Harry Lynch/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT/Getty)

Median Salary: $79,040
Change in salary (2007–2013): +14%
Total employees: 9,300

If you’ve thought of working in the healthcare field but aren’t particularly interested in seven years of medical school, a career in audiology or speech-language pathology might be of interest to you. Individuals in these professions help to improve their clients’ lives through communication, often in a clinical or hospital setting. Better yet, both are in-demand jobs and will continue to be so in the coming years.

How to qualify: Careers in audiology and speech-language pathology require an undergraduate degree, as well as a master’s degree in either field. The type of degree varies depending on which university you attend. In audiology, for example, UBC offers a Master of Science in Audiology degree, while completing the University of Ottawa’s program will lead you to a Master of Health Sciences degree. Volunteering or job-shadowing are often required as part of either the application process or the completion process for these programs. Several provinces also require practitioners to be members of professional institutions, such as Ontario’s College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists.

Money: According to UBC’s Faculty of Medicine, speech-language pathologists are in high demand and paid well—on average about $72,000 per year. Audiologist job postings in Canada noted starting salaries of about $65,000-$70,000 for applicants with a couple years of experience.

Outlook: According to Employment and Social Development Canada, audiologists and speech-language pathologists (part of the “therapy and assessment professionals” occupation class) should find a fairly balanced job market into 2020, with the number of job seekers nearly matching the number of available positions over the next few years.

What it’s Like: Despite being grouped together in their educational pursuits, London, Ont. audiologist Margaret Brac (of London Audiology Consultants) says that her job doesn’t overlap with the work of speech-language pathologists (although the two professions may interact in a hospital setting). Audiologists, in particular, do everything from hearing tests to rehabilitation, and work with clients either for short-term hearing problems or, for the hearing impaired, throughout their lives. “One of my greatest rewards is watching some of my little young hearing-impaired children clients grow up,” says Brac. “It’s almost like a second family to me, watching the kids grow up and being a part of their lives.”

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