What Is a Speech Pathology Assistant?

Explore the job duties of speech pathology assistants. Get info on the education required for this career, and check the job outlook and typical salary. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Role of the Speech Pathology Assistant

A speech pathology assistant offers support to a speech pathologist and works under his or her supervision. While this career choice is not a replacement for a speech pathologist, the assistant can be of great help to someone who is having difficulties with speech or living with a communicative disorder. An assistant often acts as the liaison between the pathologist and the patient.

Important Facts About Speech Pathology Assistants

Work Environment Typically in schools, nursing homes, private offices, rehabilitation facilities, or patients' homes
Key Skills Communication, compassion, critical thinking, patience, attention to detail
Licensure Licensure requirements for speech pathology assistants vary by state
Similar Occupations Audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, recreational therapists

Duties and Responsibilities

As a speech pathology assistant, you may find yourself working with patients of a large and varied demographic profile, either on an individual basis or as part of a group. Duties beyond providing support for the speech pathologist may include collecting data through screenings, maintaining equipment, assisting with research, and setting schedules.

Education and Qualifications

Most places of employment for speech pathology assistants require an associate's degree, though some employers may be seeking out individuals with a bachelor's degree. Courses you may take in a program include psychology, biology, and communication. Further certification or voluntary registration, along with the requisite field work, can greatly enhance the scope of jobs that would be available to you. Each state has its own individual set of rules and certification requirements for working as a speech pathology assistant.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) indicates that speech pathologists will have a 19% growth in jobs from 2012 to 2022; although specific statistics for assistants aren't available, the strong growth for pathologists indicates that assistants will also be in demand. A growing elderly population is expected to have a strong impact on employment in the speech pathology field. While the BLS does not offer salary statistics for speech pathology assistants individually, it does list salaries for healthcare support workers. The BLS also reports that the median annual salary of all healthcare support care workers was $26,440 as of May 2014.

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