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Should non-native speaker pursue a carrier of SLP?


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My native language is Russian and I have pretty thick accent. I used to be a singer beforehand, but due to weakness of my throat had to stop my singing carrier.  I'm interested in pursuing a carrier of Speech Pathologist but not sure if non-native English speaker can succeed in the field. What are your thoughts on that? I would really appreciate any input

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As long as you have a good handle on the English language, structure, and grammar, I don't think being a non-native English speaker will be an issue.

 

Having a thick accent may affect how well your clients can understand you.  In the case of providing articulation therapy, you want to be able to provide as clear and accurate a model as possible.  That said, with work, accent reduction can give you a more American "accent".  (Coincidentally, you could work with an SLP on accent reduction.)

 

While I don't know your situation, I think the biggest obstacle may be the weakness of your throat that caused you to stop your singing career.  Depending on the problem and its severity, having a compromised voice could potentially hamper success as a Speech-Language Pathologist.  Also consider the area(s) within SLP you want to study and the type of clients with whom you want to work. 

 

A client may subconsciously (or even consciously) question your ability or credibility if your own voice is compromised.  Imagine what you would think if your dentist gave you instructions on oral health while his/her own mouth was full of cavities and fillings.  Or would you trust a mechanic who drove a car that regularly needed repairs?  It may not be fair, but as a professional, your patients / clients (and their parents if working with young children) expect you to practice what you preach.  However, if you approach your situation the right way, you could serve as an inspiration to your patients.  You would just have to be careful not to make false promises that results from therapies / treatments are guaranteed.

Edited by lexical_gap
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I have met non-native speakers of English who are SLPs. It will depend on how clearly you can communicate with clients, including children and their families. Have you taken the TOEFL?

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Thank you so much for the replies. Short explanation: my voice is not compromised, I still can sing and talk clearly and quite loud. My throat cannot handle singing opera for 2 hours, it is just not made for it. So I accepted this fact and ready to move forward. I still can give private classes in singing and successfully demonstrate the proper vocal technique.

As for TOEFLE, I took it a number of years ago and did pretty good. Since then, I believe, my English has dramatically improved, so that should not be a problem, especially compared to a difficulty of GRE.

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TamaraG, thanks for sharing a little more information.  Given that, I don't see any reason why not being a native English speaker would be a barrier for you as an SLP.   Having knowledge and ability to demonstrate proper vocal technique will definitely come in handy.

 

Best wishes as you continue your journey.

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