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Schools with Speech Therapist Assistant Programs: How to Choose

Speech therapy assistants are commonly referred to as speech-language pathologist assistants (SLPAs). SLPAs screen patients and assist licensed speech pathologists in implementing treatment plans. Associate degree and certificate programs are offered in the field.

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How to Select a Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant School

Individuals can receive training to become a speech-language pathologist assistant through certificate and associate degree programs. These may be located at both universities and community colleges through their human services and technology or health sciences departments.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Program flexibility
  • Licensing considerations
  • Practical experience

Program Flexibility

Selecting a school with a speech-language pathologist assistant degree program requires a student to decide whether he or she would prefer to take classes online or on campus. Many certificate programs offer coursework through distance learning, though some fieldwork and observation may be required on-site.

Licensing Considerations

Additionally, a student should consider whether the program's curriculum adheres to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association guidelines. This association can ensure that graduates are prepared for state licensure (www.asha.org).

Practical Experience

Hospitals, private practices or schools employ SLPAs to work with patients of all age groups. While most programs contain clinical experience, clinics with a desired program may not be available in all areas. Students should verify that the fieldwork component of the program contains actual experience with the preferred demographic. Similarly, applicants should ensure that the program's curriculum contains relevant instruction on topics that interest them, such as working with bilingual patients.

Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant Program Overview

Associate Degree in Speech-Language Pathologist Assistance

Associate degree programs typically require two years of study and contain general education requirements in addition to speech pathologist coursework. Almost all programs, including online programs, require 20-25 hours of observation and two semesters of fieldwork. Courses for the speech pathologist major include:

  • Clinic management
  • Human development
  • Sign language

Certificates in Speech-Language Pathologist Assistance

Students who have already earned an associate or bachelor's degree can earn a certificate as a speech-language pathologist assistant. Sometimes, these certificates are awarded jointly with associate degrees. Certificate programs rarely contain more than one or two general education courses, but do have clinical and observation requirements. Courses that students take can include:

  • Phonetics
  • Patient screening
  • Assisting children with exceptional needs
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