Interview with Sharon Ron, speech therapist
Many thanks to Sharon Ron for participating in this interview. If you have any further questions, please contact Sharon at [email protected]
Please give us a brief description of your work.
I am a speech therapist. I work with neurogenic swallowing, communication and recognition disorders in adults – basically with medical language pathology.
What is your current position and job?
I run a private clinic in Jerusalem that treats adults with neurogenic speech, language, and swallowing disorders. I teach BA & MA level courses at Hadassah Academic College, Michlelet Strauss & University of Cincinnati. I also teach for the Israeli SLP license exam.
How did you find your job?
I went to that ASHA Website (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) and looked for speech therapists who did the same type of work in Israel as I did in Virginia. I emailed them and they all referred me to the same person. I contacted them and now we have a private practice together. It helps to go through a professional organization! I also visited all of the major hospitals in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem where language pathologists are employed, and shadowed each of them for a day. I did all of my research during the summer pilot trips before we did Aliyah, and I felt so much more knowledgeable and ready to move here.
On the iSHLA Website there are always job advertisements. If you are a member of Aguda, they also send emails with SLP vacancies.
Who are the main employers in your area?
Ministry of Education (schools) and Ministry of Health (hospitals, Kupot, nursing homes, rehabilitation, etc.)
What experience do you need to get started in your field?
You need experience in a specialty. It is very helpful to come up with a specialty.
Do you need Hebrew to work in your field in Israel?
You definitely need Hebrew to work in Israel in speech therapy. If possible, it also helps to have an Israeli accent and a good dikduk (grammar). That being said, there are always English speaking people looking for SLPs to work with their children in English. All in all, Hebrew is pretty important.
What degree does someone who does Aliyah need to enter your field?
A master’s degree and your C from ASHA. This is a requirement for Americans. The minimum degree and certification you need depends on the country from which you manufacture Aliyah.
Does it make a difference whether you studied in Israel or abroad?
If your Hebrew is strong enough, studying in Israel will still have advantages, but it is not essential. Speech therapy programs are difficult to obtain in Israel; and where you study doesn’t affect your salary. Remember that the Israeli graduation for a speech therapist is a BA. An Israeli BA. corresponds to an American MA. Even if you come with an MA. and Cs, you still need to get an Israeli license through Misrad Habriut.
What are the advantages of working as a speech therapist?
Speech therapists are in great demand in Israel. You will always be able to find work. It’s also a family-friendly job. In a private practice you do your own hours and there are actually no emergencies.
What is the salary range?
In a facility such as a school, hospital, Kupah (public health clinic) or Merkaz Lihitpatchut Hayaled (child development center), sessions can range from NIS 25 to 180 per hour. In a private practice, the sessions can range from 100 to 450 NIS per hour. An average hourly rate is 100-350 NIS. It also depends on whether you offer home visits or meetings in your office. Obviously, a home visit should charge a higher price for additional time and travel expenses. If you offer a specialized service and you are the best, you can ask for more.
What specialties would you recommend?
There are many areas of speech therapy that are not covered here, especially in remote areas. For example, in the north and south there is a need for SLPs that focus on dysphagia in children and adults. Anywhere in the country, AAC would be an excellent specialty, especially on the high-tech side. Stuttering, voice and almost every other specialty.
Are there any important events or conferences in your area?
Every year in February there is a two-day annual conference with several personal courses, webinars and Yimei Iyun.
What recommendations do you offer to Olim to work in this area?
Come with an open mind. You may be working in a different area here than abroad. Work somewhere for a year or two to gain experience and then do your dream job. If you want to open your own practice, you have to be really committed. It takes a strong stomach to cope with the ups and downs that are part of running your own business. The MATI course is very helpful, and I recommend that you complete it before starting your own practice.
Any advice for students interested in your subject?
I encourage students to shade speech therapists to find out which area and which population interests them the most.
What do you think about working and living here in Israel?
Any other advice?
Establish good contacts on site. Find colleagues who are helpful and not competitive. It can be very competitive in the subspecialties.
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