Speech-Language Pathology Assistants


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Health and science classes, including biology, are important. Be sure to also take classes in mathematics, English, psychology, and computer science. Knowledge of a foreign language is also beneficial, as it will help you learn to make sounds and remember words. Speech classes also improve awareness of sounds and language as well as hone speaking and listening skills.

Postsecondary Training

An associate's degree or vocational school training is usually the minimum requirement for speech-language pathology assistant jobs. Those with a bachelor's degree, however, have the advantage in the job market. Common majors for this field include communication sciences and disorders, speech and hearing, or education. Undergraduate course work should include classes in anatomy, biology, physiology, physics, and other related areas, such as linguistics, semantics, and phonetics. It is also helpful to have some exposure to child psychology. Speech-language pathology assistants may participate in an apprenticeship and receive on-the-job training that may last from one to two years.

Other Education or Training

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association offers continuing education courses, Web workshops, and conferences. Topics include practice issues, legal documentation, technology, ethics, language and literacy, and working with children who do not speak English as a first language.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Speech-language pathology assistants may receive voluntary certification to demonstrate they have a achieved a high level of knowledge and skills in their field. The ASHA offers an assistants certification program that establishes standards on a national level for speech-language pathology assistants. Assistants may also be certified in sign language through the American Sign Language Teachers Association, which offers qualified, certified, and master level certifications. Find information at https://aslta.org.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Speech-language pathology assistants usually have one to two years of experience and receive one to two years of on-the-job training. They work under the supervision of a speech-language pathologist. The job requires strong English language skills in order to communicate clearly with clients. This is essential in explaining test procedures, results, and treatment plans in ways that clients and their families can understand. It is also essential that assistants enjoy working with people, from clients to other health care professionals. Assistants must have patience and compassion; some clients' progress may be slow and assistants must provide support and encouragement during these times. In addition to knowledge of customer and personal service standards, assistants must have strong technology skills and be well versed in various software programs for speech-language pathology and health care records and reporting.