Speech therapy assistants are important members of a speech therapy team. They help support the work of the speech therapist, so that the speech therapist is able to provide individualized care to each patient. This can include preparing materials for therapy sessions, maintaining records and equipment, and more.
If you’re interested in becoming a speech therapy assistant, know that it’s not necessary to have an advanced degree in order to become one—in fact, some states do not even require any formal education! However, it does take some training and preparation before you’ll be ready for this role.
One way to gain the skills necessary for this career path is through online programs offered by schools across the country. Speech Therapy Assistant Online Programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels from accredited colleges and universities.
Speech therapy assistant online programs are meant for individuals who want to work with speech therapists and audiologists, but do not want to become licensed. Students in these programs take classes on language development and disorders, articulation, phonetics, and professional communication. Many programs are offered online to allow students the freedom to study at their own pace.
Online speech therapy assistant programs teach students how to support a licensed speech-language pathologist in diagnosing and treating communication disorders. Common course topics include anatomy and physiology, language development, and speech disorders.
Students earning a speech therapy assistant degree online can expect to spend approximately two years studying full time before graduating with an associate degree. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association provides accreditation to qualifying schools that offer these programs.
Once they earn a degree, graduates must seek state licensure to work as a speech therapy assistant. Most states require applicants to pass an exam and submit transcripts or other documentation verifying their education.
Speech therapy assistants, also known as speech pathology assistants, speech and language support workers, or speech therapy aides, provide supplemental support to licensed speech pathologists.
The role of a speech therapy assistant includes helping patients with their exercises and treatments, maintaining accurate records of patient progress, and helping the licensed speech pathologist manage their work schedule.
You can enter this field with an associate degree from an accredited program followed by an exam. You can also enter the profession through an online program that grants a certificate.
Speech therapy assistants work in hospitals, clinics, schools, and other medical facilities to assist speech-language pathologists. The role of a speech therapy assistant is primarily administrative and includes tasks like scheduling appointments, taking notes, preparing paperwork, and maintaining patient records. Depending on the state they work in, they may also be permitted to perform some clinical duties under the supervision of a licensed SLP. For example, they may be asked to help with preparing equipment for treatment or helping patients practice their speech therapy exercises.
Because their day-to-day responsibilities are so varied, speech therapists need to have a wide range of skills. They must be able to communicate effectively with patients and clinicians; possess strong critical thinking skills; and understand medical terminology and basic medical concepts. Because many employers prefer to hire speech therapy assistants who are certified by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), applicants should also have strong writing and speaking skills that they can use during the certification exam process. In addition to these skills, it’s helpful if applicants have experience working in healthcare settings or have taken classes in human anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics, and math before applying for jobs as SLPs.