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Considerations When Negotiating an SLP Job Salary

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Speech-Language Pathologists have a significant and rewarding position, providing a higher quality of life to their patients. As specialists in communication, they offer therapy and treatment for many disorders and difficulties, including speech, communication, fluency, swallowing, and many more. An SLP may work with a wide range of ages, making a difference in the lives of babies through adults. Those who are just entering the field or who are looking for a new position as an SLP want to be sure that they are earning the money that their hard work is worth. Here are some tips that will help you negotiate a fair salary for your new position as a Speech-Language Pathologist.

What Influences an SLP Job Salary

Several factors come into play when an SLP job salary is decided. Each of these items should be taken into consideration as you go into salary negotiation.

Location – First, the area in which you will work sets the base salary range for any position. Areas with a high cost of living will naturally have a higher base starting salary than an area that has lower home values and retail economy.

Facility – The type of facility or organization that is hiring for the position has a direct impact on the salary being offered. For example, school-based therapists may make less than those who are in private practice.

Education and Training – The level of education completed, certifications held, and additional training is an important piece of the salary puzzle, as well. Those who have invested more in their career training can expect a higher salary and benefits package.

Experience – Previous experience in the field and related fields also play a role in being able to negotiate a higher salary for those in the industry. Those who have already established themselves in their career are more likely to draw a higher salary.

Other Benefits to Consider During Negotiation

Pay scale isn’t the only thing to consider when going into salary negotiations. Leave, including paid vacation time, sick leave, maternity or family leave, and generous personal time off may be things that you want to discuss. Medical and dental insurance, as well as other health benefits,  may be necessary for you. You also might want to consider your work environment, how much control you have over your position, and whether a flexible schedule is a possibility.

Salary and Benefits Negotiation Tips and Tricks

Before you sit down at the negotiation table, here are a few tips and tricks that will help you to feel confident and advocate for the salary that you deserve.

  • Do your homework ahead of time. Try to find out about the salary ranges previously offered for a specific position, as well as standard salaries for your area. Use this as a guide to set your negotiation point.
  • Also, know a bit about the company and their values before your discussion. Be creative in tying your own strengths and education back to their goals to help demonstrate your worth in the positions.
  • Have a counteroffer prepared that is in a range that is comfortable for you, but don’t haggle and nitpick. State your need confidently and don’t undersell your education and experience.
  • Be honest about your current salary, even if it is significantly lower than your asking salary. Explain why you feel you should be making a higher wage, again maintaining confidence in your skills.
  • Turn on your best poker face, even when your negotiation is successful. Overexcitement can come across as desperation, and that can come across as worrisome to some hiring managers. Don’t leave them wondering if you’ve presented yourself truthfully or if you’ve oversold yourself for a higher salary and benefits.

Have any other tips to negotiating your salary for an SLP job? Share with us in the comments section below.

Contributor Lesley Slaughter

Lesley is currently a senior vice president with Soliant and oversees the schools' division. Her 20 years of staffing experience has helped grow our schools' therapy division at Soliant from 3 recruiters to over 400. Lesley is skilled in permanent placement, technical recruiting, and staffing services within public and private schools. She has a passion for helping school districts across the country and those who serve our special needs students. She’s originally from Northwest Georgia, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcasting from Georgia Southern University, and loves spending time with her husband and 2 daughters. Make sure to check out the rest of her blogs on working in schools.