What is the difference between speech and occupational therapy?

Most SLPs (speech-language pathologists) are familiar with the occupational therapy field even before they enter their profession. So, speech-language pathologists often consider themselves to go into OT (occupational therapy) before deciding on pursuing SLPs and vice versa. Though there are many differences between speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists, one thing is common between them i.e. they both have the same desire of helping patients that are in need and also in improving their lives.

Let’s go a little deeper to know more about speech and occupational therapy and what similarities and differences they both have between the two professions.

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs)

SLPs are experts in communication. They work with different individuals to help in providing solutions to the communication barrier. The goal of speech-language pathologists is to help in improving the ability of individuals to communicate using therapeutic practices.

They focus on issues relating to speech. This can include the followings:

  • Fluency
  • Voice
  • Feeding and swallowing
  • Language
  • Speech sounds
  • Social communication

So, it is a specialized career to become SLPs because they are dedicated to helping others. However, to become a speech-language pathologist you need specialized education which can be gain from either online or in person.

Occupational therapist (OT)

OTs are experts in helping individuals with the things they want to do and need to do through the use of therapeutic daily activities. They work with a different individual of all ages fulfilling their lives by preventing illness and injury, promoting health, and by bettering disability. 

OTs focus on providing job training for the job of living. They also help in training many individuals with a disability, illness, and injury on how to engage with self-care and the basic life skills that might become overwhelming and difficult later on.  

So, here are some of the services provided by an occupational therapist to help individuals in improving their ability to perform daily activities and also help them to reach their goals. They are as follows:

  • Demonstrating exercises
  • Reviewing medical history
  • Developing customized interventions
  • Performing individual evaluation
  • Educating families and employers
  • Assessing outcomes

Difference between speech and occupational therapy

The following are the primary differences between speech and occupational therapy. They are as follows:

  • Therapeutic focus
  • Required education and training
  • Job outlook and salary 

Therapeutic focus

SLPs focus on communication issues and problems that arise from disabilities in the gastrointestinal upper tract. While OTs focuses on individual problems and analyze them as a larger set of interrelated issue. They also further develop treatments for each problem.

Required education and training

Here, both professions overlap one another means they both have the same education and training. SLPs and OTs both require a master’s degree for certification and licensing. However, the following are the differences between the SLPs and OTs:

  • Speech-language pathologists have mandatory license programs that should comply within all 50 states.
  • Occupational therapists must be licensed in many states; however, they have strong requirements for certifications and even for those who are working in states where licenses are not necessary. 

Job outlook and salary

Speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists both the profession are both in high demand and their salaries are even more attractive.  

According to the reports, the median pay of speech-language pathologists per year is $80,480. While the median pay of occupational therapists per year is $86,280.

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