Speech pathology is an important field that helps heal individuals and make them feel connected to the world. If you aspire to own your own speech pathology practice, there are a number of steps you must take. However, the reward awaiting you at the end of this journey -- the reward of complete freedom regarding how you help your community -- is completely worth it.
Complete your education. You will need to obtain a master's degree in speech pathology in order to pursue your license.
Get your license. You will need to be certified by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and can only receive certification after passing the national Praxis exam. After becoming certified, you can obtain your license: contact your local municipal government to verify the exact requirements for obtaining a license in your state.
Register your business. You will need to register with the Internal Revenue Service in order to obtain an Employer Identification Number, and depending on your area, you may need to register with local and state entities. As part of this process, you will likely need to obtain a business license. Check with the Small Business Association to verify the registration and licensing requirements of your state.
Obtain a location for your business. You will need to either purchase or lease office space for your business. In order to do so, you will need to obtain funding, either through equity financing (funding from wealthier individuals, including friends, family and colleagues) or debt financing, in which you borrow money from the bank. In either case, make sure you have created a thorough business plan that accounts for the costs and profits of your business over the next three to five years.
Consider specialization for your speech pathology business. While it may be tempting to take as many clients as possible, being part of a niche market -- such as helping children, or perhaps the elderly -- can help you separate your business from the competition.
Network with local insurance companies. If you become one of the approved providers of speech pathology for the insurance companies in your area, it can make your business run smoother, as they may be willing to help train any employees you hire, and you may receive additional clients from this partnership as well.
Hire appropriate staff. While you may start out small, be sure to hire enough individuals to accommodate the amount of business you intend to bring in. As business improves over the years, you can always hire more staff.
Market your business. You have already taken one step by networking with local insurance companies. Consult local newspapers for the price of advertisements, and take out a number of print advertisements. Also, create a social media profile for your business by creating a Facebook page and Twitter account. This is essentially free advertisement and allows you to reach out and communicate with your customers while allowing them to "like" your page and increase your number of clients.
Dr. Chris Snellgrove is a writing specialist, and a veteran of everything from a book-length dissertation to a newspaper editor's desk. He has produced work for academic, business, creative, and non-profit endeavors.