Essential Abilities for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists

Listed below are the essential abilities that someone who enters the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology must possess and therefore are required of undergraduate students majoring in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. 

Physical Abilities

  • Participate in classroom or clinical activities for 2-4 hour blocks of time with one or two breaks
  • Move independently to, from and within academic/clinical facilities
  • Provide for or direct one’s own personal hygiene
  • Manipulate screening/diagnostic/therapeutic/educational materials
  • Respond to emergency situations including fire, choking and in the application of universal precautions
  • Visually monitor client responses and use of materials
  • Auditorily monitor and orally model correct speech and language production


Interpersonal Abilities

  • Work effectively with people
  • Make appropriate decisions, including the ability to evaluate and generalize appropriately without immediate supervision
  • Understand and respect authority
  • Maintain appropriate work place behavior, including punctuality and regular attendance
  • Maintain composure in demanding situations
  • Complete responsibilities promptly and according to instructions
  • Maintain appropriate relationships with clients, students, instructors/supervisors, and colleagues
  • Communicate effectively with people in person, by telephone, and in written form by considering the communication needs and cultural values of the listener


Speech/Language and Cognitive Abilities

  • Comprehend and read professional literature/reports
  • Write university level papers and clinical/educational reports in Standard American English
  • Speak Standard American English intelligibly, including the ability to model English phonemes, grammatical features, or other aspects of speech and language   
  • Independently analyze, synthesize, interpret ideas and concepts in academic and clinical settings
  • Maintain attention and concentration for sufficient time to complete academic/clinical activities: typically 2-4 hours with 1-2 breaks
  • Schedule and prioritize activities, and provide documentation in a timely manner
  • Comply with administrative, legal and regulatory policies as well as rules and instructions of faculty/staff within the Speech, language and Hearing Sciences program and in off-campus practicum and externship sites at the graduate level.