Speech-Language Pathology Assistant

Anatomic Pathology Assistant, Apprentice in Speech-Language Pathology   More Names
Assistant Speech-Language Pathologist, Certified Pathology Assistant, Communication Assistant, Hearing and Speech Assistant, Language Assistant, Pathology Assistant, SLP Aides, SLP Associates, SLP Technicians, Speech - Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA), Speech and Language Assistant, Speech and Language Pathology Assistant, Speech and Language Tutor, Speech Assistant, Speech Correction Assistant, Speech Language Pathologist Assistant, Speech Language Pathology Assistant, Speech Pathologist Assistant, Speech Pathology Assistant, Speech Therapist, Speech Therapist Technician, Speech Therapy Assistant, Speech-Language Assistant, Speech-language Pathology Assistant, Speech-Language Pathology Assistants, Speech-Language Pathology Paraprofessional
Description

Assist in assessing and treating speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders under the direction of licensed speech-language pathologists. Help implement speech and language programs or activities for persons of all ages, as planned and directed by speech-language pathologists. In preschool, elementary, and secondary school settings, work with children to early detect and resolve speech, hearing, and language problems.

Speech-language pathology assistants are support personnel who, following academic and/or on-the-job training, perform tasks prescribed, directed, and supervised by American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) certified and licensed (where applicable) speech-language pathologists.

Speech-language pathology assistants work in hospitals, clinics, or office treatment settings, and can be found wherever speech-language pathologists are working. Many also are employed by public and private preschool, elementary, and secondary schools to test and treat students for speech, hearing, and language problems. Some also are employed in the private offices of speech-language pathology specialists.

Speech-language pathology assistants aid speech-language pathologists in a broad-range of activities. They assist in the conduct of patient or client screenings or assessments of language, voice, fluency, and hearing. They implement treatment plans and activities as directed by speech-language pathologists, and collect and compile data to document patient or client performance and progress. They also assist patients or clients to overcome speech problems, such as word pronunciations, and in development of speech and language skills.

Within their work setting, they test and maintain equipment to ensure performance and accurate readings. They perform numerous clerical support duties including preparing materials, ordering supplies, maintaining records, and scheduling appointments. They also remain aware of and follow client and patient safety and confidentially policies and practices.

For the benefit of families and the general public, they may conduct speech, hearing, and language information sessions and community awareness education programs. They will collect and compile data for monitoring program quality control and improving services delivery. They may also help speech-language pathologists in conducting research in this area.

Speech-language pathology assistants who work in preschool, elementary, and secondary schools usually are involved in helping speech-language pathologists or audiologists test and treat children who may have or develop speech, hearing, or language problems. Their assistance in such early interventions is important to ensure that most students will progress through school without major problems due to unresolved speech, hearing, or language issues.

The speech-language pathology assistant career serves as entry-level occupation in the speech, hearing, and language field, but it can also serve as a mid-level step for a speech-language pathology aide who enters this field with less training and preparation than an assistant. In some cases, with extensive further postsecondary education - including attainment of a master's degree and supervised clinical practicum hours - a speech-language pathology assistant can work to become a speech-language pathologist. For students interested in this career path, it's important to note that the coursework requirements for a two year associate's degree may not meet the requirements under a program of study for speech-language pathology.

Credentials Needed: Speech-language pathology assistants typically are not required to be state licensed or registered. However, some states do not permit speech-language pathologists to practice unless they meet the same requirements as a speech-language pathologist.

For the speech-language pathologists who supervise speech-language pathology assistants, the licensing and regulation situation is an entirely different story. All states except Colorado and South Dakota regulate speech-language pathology, including requiring licensure or registration for speech-language pathologists who plan to practice in the state. Typically, a state's speech-language-hearing association, state licensing board, and state education agency all have a role in the overall regulation of speech-language pathology.

Also, in some of the states that regulate speech-language pathology, there may be rules that prohibit the use of speech-language pathology assistants or other support personnel. If a state does regulate speech-language pathology support personnel (i.e., assistant, aide, apprentice, paraprofessional, etc.) in this manner, then individuals who wish to practice in that state usually must meet the same requirements as if they were a licensed speech-language pathologist.

Some state education agencies also may credential speech-language pathology assistants and other support personnel to work only in preschool, elementary and secondary school settings in order to help qualified speech-language pathologists provide speech-language services to school children.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) includes links on its website to each state's licensing laws, teacher requirements, and other contact information concerning the regulation of speech-language pathology. These links are on the ASHA website under the ASHA State-by-State.

At present, the ASHA does not sponsor any voluntary, industry-based certification for speech-language pathology assistants.

Some Key Things to Remember: Speech-language pathology assistants aid in the assessment and treatment of speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders under the direction of ASHA certified and licensed (where applicable) speech-language pathologists. They help implement speech and language programs or activities for persons of all ages. In preschool, elementary, and secondary schools, they work with children on early detection and resolution of speech, hearing, and language problems.

Employers often prefer to hire speech-language pathology assistants who have completed a short-term postsecondary certificate program or earned a two-year associate's degree in speech-language pathology. Speech-language pathology assistants typically are not required to be state licensed or registered, but in some states they cannot practice unless they meet the same requirements as a speech-language pathologist.

Reviewed for content and accuracy by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, January 31, 2012.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
12% - Average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $27,920 - $45,380    Hourly: $13 - $22
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

Varies by state.

Legal Requirements
General/Nationwide
State-Specific
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Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

Bachelor's Degree (High School + 4 or more Years)
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Percent Job Growth:

12% - Average
Find Jobs

Typical Wages:

Annual: $27,920 - $45,380

Hourly: $13 - $22