Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA)

How To Become A Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA)4 min read

Speech-language pathology (or Speech and language pathology) is a field of expertise practiced by a clinician known as a “Speech-language pathologist (SLP)” or a “Speech and language therapist”, both of whom may be known by the shortened description, “Speech therapist.”

However, like every profession, the task often becomes too much for the SLP’s; there then exists the need for a Speech-language pathology assistant(SLPA).

SLPA is essentially a preparatory program for becoming a full-time SLP. The experiences needed to carry out the job of an SLP are easily gained after series of time as an SLPA.

However, many people are abrest with this term but do not know what they do, thus let’s look at what they do.

What Do Speech-Language Pathology Assistants Do?

Many people have often mistaken the job of a speech-language pathologist for that of a speech-language pathology assistant.

However, the true job of a speech-language pathology assistant is to assist the speech-language pathologist in assessing and treating patients with speech, language, fluency, and voice complications, impediments, and disorders.

Assistants also help take care of the patients, carry out research, execute speech and language programs drafted by the SLP, and get data to review the program’s success.

 Now, we are done with the job of an SLPA, let’s see how to become an SLPA.

How To Become A Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA)

The path to becoming a speech-language pathology assistant is quite simple, although they may vary from place to place. However, we would consider a few basic steps that are peculiar to virtually most states.

Get An Associate Degree In A Related Field:

It is important to know that not all states require that you have an associate degree in a related field.

However, with the legislations slated down by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), it is recommended that an associate degree in an SLP program is obtained.

These associate degrees include a degree in courses like normal communication processes, communication disorders, and workplace behaviors.

Complete 100 Hours Of Supervised Fieldwork:

Sequel to obtaining the associate degree in a related field, it is usually recommended by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) that a practicing SLP has shadowed you.

At least 100 hours of this supervised fieldwork is expected to be completed before one is even considered worthy of the title SLPA.

Consult Your State’s SLPA Licensing Guidelines:

As stated earlier in this article, the requirements for SLPA vary in respective states.

Hence, it becomes very important that a student goes through the state’s slated guidelines. For instance, some states may require more fieldwork hours, greater than 100.

Others may ask for associate degrees while others may not; others may insist you work within a particular setting, e.g. schools, and so on. These are a few of the endless requirements each state may alter.

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How To Become A Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA)

Obtaining A Speech Pathology Assistant Certification

There is often a need to prove to your employers or prospective employers that you can carry out the task you wish you undertake.

The SLPA is no exception; there often exists this need. However, there is no better evidence of competency to produce than your ASHA SLPA certification.

This certificate not only proves that you have the knowledge but that you also have the experience for the job.

To be able to obtain your ASHA certification, you will have to have fulfilled certain requirements. The first requirement being that you must have completed the educational requirements needed for SLPA, usually an associate degree.

While and after completing the part above, you will have to partake in the following courses and experience opportunities to make you eligible for the course. They include;

  1. A one-hour ethics course.
  2. One-hour course in universal safety precautions.
  3. One-hour patient confidentiality training course (HIPAA, FERPA, etc.).
  4. A minimum of 100 hours of clinical fieldwork, to include:
  5. 80 hours of direct patient/client/student services under the supervision of an ASHA-certified SLP;
  6. Twenty hours of indirect patient/client/student services under the supervision of an ASHA-certified SLP.

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How To Become A Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA)

Conclusion

Being an SLPA is a very nice position, not only for the knowledge you get by being there; instead, the job pays fine with an average salary of $40,000 annually.

The rate of growth of SLPA is rising from about 20% to 42% in the educational sector and about 14% to 32% in the medical sector; it can be seen that the need for SLPA is rising.

The SLPA serves as the best way to await admission to study master’s degree that will enable you to obtain your SLP status. Irrespective of your view, SLPA is the right course for you.

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