You have two choices for getting a bachelor's degree in speech, but they are decidedly different: speech communications, focusing on written and verbal communications and their roles in various settings; and, speech, language and hearing sciences, focusing on communications disorders. Simply put, you either learn the basics of verbal and nonverbal communication, or you learn to help people overcome or live with speaking and hearing issues.
Speech Communication: Communications Jobs
If you're the personable sort, consider a typical communication job working in public relations, advertising, speech writing, journalism or broadcasting. You can select among a host of private or public businesses, including newspapers, public relations agencies and charitable organizations. If you love politics and minored in political science -- and have a thick skin -- you have a good inroad as a political consultant, advising candidates on speaking and media strategies. If you are a skilled writer with technical know-how, technology companies need technical writers to write user manuals for everything from installing software, to a flat-screen TV.
Speech Communication: Other Jobs
Speech degree programs typically examine persuasive skills, so if you can sell snow in a blizzard, consider working in sales. If you'd rather study what kind of people would buy snow in a blizzard, look for a research position: Many companies need opinion researchers and market surveys. Or, consider a lobbying job -- in addition to aiding your discourse, your degree aids this political career by teaching you about building successful relationships and refining negotiations. Your degree also gives you a good start to becoming a lawyer: Attorneys need good research, writing and speaking skills, as well as an understanding of the principals of debate.
Speech Communication Disorders: Public Sector
You'll find many opportunities for speech disorder jobs at public schools. This offers you a chance to work with school children on common speech impediments, such as stuttering, or on more serious problems, such as addressing social skills in autistic students. Also, look for government-funded programs that help preschool children, the elderly and other special needs populations on everything from detecting hearing issues to aiding problems with swallowing. Check with your state health department and veteran’s administration, as well. Some speech and language pathology positions will require a graduate degree.
Speech Communication Disorders: Private Sector
You have several private sector options in speech communication disorders. Medical clinics and hospitals frequently hire workers who specialize in speech and hearing issues. If you're a patient sort, check out rehab centers to work with stroke victims who need to learn to speak again. Also look to nursing homes, retirement centers and other facilities that serve the elderly.
- Portland State University: What Can I Do With a Degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences?
- Idaho State University: Speech Communication
- Cleveland State University, College of Sciences and Health Professions: Bachelor’s Degree Programs – Speech and Hearing (B.A.) At-A-Glance
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: Careers in Speech-Language Pathology
Based in Central Texas, Karen S. Johnson is a marketing professional with more than 30 years' experience and specializes in business and equestrian topics. Her articles have appeared in several trade and business publications such as the Houston Chronicle. Johnson also co-authored a series of communications publications for the U.S. Agency for International Development. She holds a Bachelor of Science in speech from UT-Austin.