Help some really interesting people talk.


There are a lot of things that most of us take for granted: walking, talking, breathing, not opening the door and finding a ravenous shark waiting for us. There are people who don't get to take these things for granted. They don't get to do them at all.

Except the shark thing. That has not happened to anyone ever. Except that one time.

For many handicapped individuals, talking simply is not possible without some kind of help. The problem could be physical; it could be mental. The point is, they need help from trained, compassionate people. People like you. Potentially. You're not locked into this thing yet, and it does take a pretty special kind of person.

If you're looking for a major that will make a concrete difference in someone's life, this is it. You're going to be giving the gift of speech to people who, without you, never would get to express themselves orally. Sure, they might end up being super mean, but they should get the opportunity to cut people down with really incisive insults. We all should.

You will be working with disabled people, and that's not for everyone. There's no shame in that. It's a difficult job, and it should only attract people that can handle it.

Also, you'll be working with disabled people. Yes, it's the same point, but from the other side. If you know you can handle doing that—if you can be as patient and compassionate as such a job requires—you will likely find some of the most fulfilling work out there. Like we said, you're making a difference you can see. And hear.

While a lot of the students who are attracted to this major will have some kind of gritty origin story— a relative with a cognitive disorder, a speech-impaired friend—not everyone will. Maybe you're just a really good teacher. Maybe you just love words. Doesn't matter in the end, so long as this is something you can do, and do well.

You're going to be learning about every aspect of this field. As we said before, there are a lot of different potential causes for not being able to speak. So many causes, in fact, that it can get a little terrifying. That's where you come in.

You're going to be learning the roles of biology, cognition, language, and culture. Biology so you know how the machinery works, cognition so you can learn about all the various ways the brain can trip up, language to address specific clients and certain language-specific problems, and culture to help interact and heal.

This is a long and hard road, but if you're cut out for it, you're doing a lot of good.

Famous People who majored in Communication Disorders Sciences and Services

  • Lionel Logue, the amateur speech therapist who treated King George VI's stammer

  • Dr. Glen Tellis, speech-language pathologist at Misericordia University

  • Dr. Charlotte Ducote, co-founder of Operation Smile Speech Therapy Vietnam

  • Giang Pham, assistant professor of Communication Disorders at the University of Massachusetts—Amherst

  • Dr. Robert E. Hillman, Co-Director and Research Director for the Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School

Percentage of US students who major in Communication Disorders Sciences and Services:

N/A (figure not available)

Stats obtained from this source.