Recently ranked as two of the top ten most popular careers, speech pathology and audiology careers are booming. And there's a simple reason: as people live longer, and they suffer hearing loss, strokes, and other medical issues arise, they rely on these healthcare professionals' expertise.
Looking back on a successful career, only positive things come from UND alumnus, Jean Herauf, as we talk about her past experiences as a speech pathologist.
Herauf attended UND for her bachelor's degree from 1975-1980. "UND was where I always wanted to go to further my education after high school – I never considered going anywhere else", she says. Having grandparents who lived in Thompson, a small town nearby, as a child she would come to Grand Forks with her family and was always aware of the University.
Herauf started college wanting to be in the medical field. After considering being a medical technologist, she looked for more patient-oriented pursuits. "As I progressed in my studies to become a medical technologist, I discovered that I may not have as much opportunity to interact with people as I'd like, so I explored other options" she explains. Herauf took some introductory courses and fell in love with her Introduction to Communication Disorders class. "I realized that the scope of practice for Speech/Language Pathology was much broader than I had originally thought and I wanted the opportunity to work with adults."
Staying at UND for the Communication Sciences & Disorders graduate program was an easy decision for her. "I loved going to the basketball and hockey games, had great relationships with the faculty, interned and worked as a technician at the rehab hospital, worked as a teaching assistant and knew that I would get a great education," she says.
Once Herauf left UND, she received the opportunity to become a speech pathologist and advance in her career. "When I graduated, I received a position as a speech-language pathologist for a program that didn't even exist. I helped build the program from the ground up. I provided input for therapy materials, assessment materials, scheduling and also established relationships with physicians to educate them on communication disorders and which patients who should be referred for therapy." Herauf says.
Since her first job, Herauf has continued to grow professionally. She still works as a speech-language pathologist, but also serves as the area manager for two locations that provide speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. "The career path was right for me, I feel like I am doing what I was meant to do."
Herauf recommends speech-language pathology as a career choice, and encourages prospective students to look at UND for their education. "UND was a great educational choice for me, I gained the experience and knowledge I needed to succeed!"
Intern, Arts & Sciences
Jean Herauf reflects on her experiences in UND's Communication Sciences & Disorders program.