Speech pathology services

What is a speech pathologist?

Speech pathologists study, diagnose and treat communication disorders, including difficulties with speech, language, social communication, swallowing, fluency and voice. They work with people who have difficulty communicating because of developmental delays, stroke, brain injuries, learning disability, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, dementia and hearing loss, as well as other problems that can affect speech and language. People who experience difficulties swallowing food and drink safely can also be helped by a speech pathologist

More information about the role of a speech pathologist and specific difficulties can be found through SPA's Fact Sheets.

What training do speech pathologists need?

All speech pathologist complete a university qualification. Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) is recognised by the Department of Education, Employment and workplace relations as the assessing authority for speech pathologists in Australia. SPA also accredits university program that offer speech pathology training. Currently, speech pathologists are able to gain a recognised qualification at either an undergraduate or Masters level. Both courses are equally recognised by SPA and employers.

Speech pathology is a self-regulated profession . From the start of 2016, all members of Speech Pathology Australia will need to be certified practising speech pathologists. This will ensure that all members will have met SPA’s standards in regards to continuing professional development.

What is the difference between public and private speech pathologists?

Speech pathologists can work in public and private settings.

Public services are provided by government or not for profit organisations. The service is usually free of charge though sometimes a small fee may be charge. There is often a waiting list for public services.

Private services are provided by speech pathologists working in a sole practice, with other speech pathologists or in multi-disciplinary practices. There is a fee for these services though rebates through Medicare and private health insurance may be available. Usually, you do not need a referral to see a speech pathologist. You will need to visit a GP if you need to be assessed for eligibility for Medicare rebates through the Chronic Disease Management program. For more information see SPA’s information on Medicare Items for Complex and Chronic Conditions.

How do I find a speech pathologist?

Speech Pathology Australia provides a directory of speech pathologist who are members of SPA and who wish to have their contact details made available to members of the general public.

The Find a speech pathologist search allows you to search for speech pathologists in your area. You can narrow the search by selecting functions such as practice type, clinical population etc.

Please call Speech Pathology Australia on 03 9642 4899 or 1300 368 835 if you need assistance finding a provider.

Please note: SPA staff are unable to recommend an individual speech pathologist, answer specific questions to assist with diagnosis or treatment or recommend specific treatments. Please direct these types of questions directly to a speech pathologist and in particular to a SPA member listed in the directory.

How do I choose a speech pathologist?

See the attached information about how to choose a speech pathologist and about fees