American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Career Pathway for Assistants

The term assistants refers to the vocational description applied to audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel. Assistants may come from a variety of educational and clinical backgrounds, because each state has different requirements regarding the regulation of support personnel. (See the ASHA State-by-State information under the Advocacy tab on the ASHA website. Select the "Support Personnel" subheading after choosing the individual state.) Assistants may be required to be licensed, certified, or registered in order to work in various states, and they may also be required to obtain continuing education units (CEUs) or professional development hours (PDHs) to maintain their licensure, certification, or registration in the individual states.

Job duties and responsibilities vary according to whether the individual is an audiology assistant or a speech-language pathology assistant (SLPA). Other factors include the individual's educational and clinical background, work setting, and the state in which the assistant works. In general, audiology assistants work under the guidance and supervision of licensed audiologists and SLPAs work under the supervision of licensed speech-language pathologists to perform a variety of duties that may include cleaning and preparation of equipment, limited documentation, routine therapeutic activities as deemed appropriate by the licensed clinician, and other duties not otherwise limited by the scope of practice, education, or aptitude of the individual. (See the Audiology Assistants topic in the Professional Issues section of the ASHA Practice Portal and the Speech-Language Pathology Scope of Practice and Speech-Language Pathology Assistants topic in the Professional Issues section of the ASHA Practice Portal for detailed information regarding the minimum qualifications, educational requirements, roles and responsibilities, supervision, and appropriate activities for audiology assistants and SLPAs.)

Working as an assistant may be the ultimate career path for some individuals—even those individuals who obtain additional undergraduate and/or graduate degrees. Others may see this role as a temporary pathway in lieu of acceptance to a communication sciences and disorders (CSD) graduate program. Often, an individual with an undergraduate CSD degree will be able to work as an SLPA or audiology assistant while he or she is waiting to be accepted to a graduate school. There are even a few "bridge" programs (such as the Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Program at Northern Arizona University) that allow SLPAs to get the undergraduate degree or certificate and attend graduate school part-time to obtain the master's degree while gaining valuable experience in the CSD field.

Speech-Language Pathology Assistants (SLPAs)

There are a variety of training options for SLPAs, ranging from certificate programs to associate degree programs and even bachelor's and post-baccalaureate programs. (See the self-reported list of Technical Training Programs for Speech-Language Pathology Assistants on the ASHA website.)

Training requirements and regulation vary from state to state. To get the most current information regarding training requirements for support personnel, please see the ASHA State-by-State information under the Advocacy tab on the ASHA website and select the "Support Personnel" subheading after choosinging the individual state.

The employment outlook for SLPAs is expected to reflect a "faster than average" growth rate of 15%–21%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Summary Report for Speech-Language Pathology Assistants as part of the O*Net OnLine project. The summary report lists the median wage in 2013 for SLPAs as $16.42 hourly or $34,150 annually; job openings from 2012 to 2022 are expected to reach 37,700. As of 2012, approximately 107,000 individuals were employed in this career pathway.

Audiology Assistants

Audiology assistants have fewer options in terms of formal training. Many audiology assistants start out with on-the-job training, obtain training in the military, or may acquire training as hearing conservationists. (See the Council for Accreditation of Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC) website for information regarding training and certification of occupational hearing conservationists.)

Training requirements and regulation vary from state to state. To get the most current information regarding training requirements for support personnel, please see the ASHA State-by-State information under the Advocacy tab on the ASHA website and select the "Support Personnel" subheading after choosing the individual state.

Audiology assistants are not specifically listed in the O*Net OnLine database by BLS; however, some private resources—such as the Audiology Technician (audiology assistant) salary information from Payscale.com—report that audiology technicians earn an average hourly rate of $13.34 or $38, 501 annually.

Resources

Share This Page

Print This Page