One of the most important characteristics we have as humans is the capacity to communicate with each other, to transform our thoughts into written and spoken language that others can understand.
However, it can be difficult for some to communicate, and there is a wide range of circumstances that can cause speech or language problems.
Some professionals can help people that are affected by these issues, providing the right diagnosis, treatment, and even education to family members.
Among these professionals, are Speech-Language Pathologists, usually known as Speech Therapists, and Speech-Language Pathology Assistants, or Speech Therapy Assistants.
In the next few sections, we’ll talk about Speech Therapy Assistants, becoming one, and how much it costs.
Table of Contents
- What Is Speech Therapy?
- What Is a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant?
- What Do I Need to Become a Speech Therapy Assistant?
- How Long Does It Take to Become a Speech Therapy Assistant?
- How Much Does It Cost to Become a Speech Therapy Assistant?
What Is Speech Therapy?
Speech Therapy is directed to people that have speech, language or swallowing problems that impede them from properly communicating with others.
These are generally caused by illnesses, injuries, or accidents, and people of all ages and sexes can be affected.
During speech therapy, a Speech-Language Pathologist will examine, diagnose and prepare a specific treatment to address the communication issues affecting the patient.
What Is a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant?
Speech-Language Pathology Assistants (SLPAs), also known as Speech Therapy Assistants, work under the supervision of a certified Speech Therapist and help them with the examination and therapy of individuals who have communication problems.
They can also help to schedule appointments for clients, perform maintenance to equipment, keep an updated register of each client and their treatment, among other responsibilities.
Speech Therapy Assistants work in the same areas where Speech Therapists work, which are usually clinical settings, schools, rehabilitation institutions, or retirement homes.
What Do I Need to Become a Speech Therapy Assistant?
In order to become a Speech Therapy Assistant, you will need to obtain an undergraduate degree, complete a few prerequisite courses and/or education modules developed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and do mandatory clinical fieldwork, as well.
Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree
The first step to becoming a Speech Therapy Assistant is to gain an undergraduate degree in a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant program.
This can be achieved by obtaining an Associate’s degree, which is usually a two-year program, or with a Bachelor’s degree, which normally lasts four years.
It’s also possible to obtain an undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders, or if you already have an undergraduate degree that is not related to this area, you will need to gain an SLPA certificate by completing relevant academic coursework.
These are three courses that have been developed by ASHA and must be completed if you want to become a Speech Therapy Assistant.
Each course lasts one hour, and the subjects are ethics, universal safety precautions, and patient confidentiality training.
This is a minimum of 100 hours under the supervision of a certified Speech Therapist.
It’s divided into 80 hours of direct services with the client or patient, and 20 hours of indirect services.
After completing those requirements, you will have to apply for the Speech-Language Pathology Assistants Certification (C-SLPA).
After your documentation is reviewed and approved, you will take the Assistants Certification Exam in order to obtain the certification and become a Speech Therapy Assistant.
Depending on the state where you want to work, there might be other extra requirements, so it’s important to check what they are.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Speech Therapy Assistant?
The time it takes to become a Speech Therapy Assistant will mostly depend on the educational pathway you choose.
It could take between three and five years after completing the necessary undergraduate education, courses, and fieldwork experience.
How Much Does It Cost to Become a Speech Therapy Assistant?
The total cost of becoming a Speech Therapy Assistant is going to vary according to the city where you live and the educational pathway you choose.
On average, you can expect to pay from $4,500 to $20,000.
The fee to apply for the C-SLPA certification costs $249.