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Speech-Language Assistant

Speech-language assistants carry out treatment programs (planned, directed and supervised by speech-language pathologists) to improve their clients’ ability to communicate.

  • Avg. Salary $42,149.00
  • Avg. Wage $25.61
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 1,900
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Communication Disorders Assistant, Communication Health Assistant, Health Care Assistant, Rehabilitation Services Practitioner, Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant, Therapist Assistant

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Communication Assistants (3235.3) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Technical Occupations in Therapy and Assessment (D235) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment (3237) 
  • 2016 NOC: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment (3237) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

67%
67%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Speech-Language Assistant is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Communication Assistants
METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information on patients' progress

SOCIAL

Interest in assisting patients in remedial programs by instructing them on ways to improve communication skills

OBJECTIVE

Interest in handling equipment and materials used for remedial programs

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Speech-language assistants work with people of all ages in various settings. Their duties vary. In general, they:

  • conduct hearing, speech and language screenings
  • run language therapy activities in private or group sessions and classes (based on goals and treatment plans developed by speech-language pathologists)
  • work with clients and their caregivers (as assigned by a speech-language pathologist)
  • make the materials used in therapy, classroom and home programs (such as communication boards)
  • prepare activities (such as picture cards, workbooks, games)
  • help with scheduling and room setup for assessments and treatments
  • keep records of client progress and performance during therapy sessions
  • compile statistics about daily activities
  • do clerical tasks (such as filing, photocopying and booking appointments)
  • order and maintain supplies and equipment
  • meet with and report to the speech-language pathologists
  • help with public education events.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Speech-language assistants tend to work standard weekday hours. They often work in schools but may also work in health facilities and clinics. They may need to travel to various locations and transport heavy equipment or supplies.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Speech-language assistants need to possess:

  • the ability to observe and listen well
  • the ability to be well organized
  • the ability to manage time well
  • the ability to be flexible and adaptable
  • good interpersonal skills
  • strong speaking and writing skills
  • good English pronunciation
  • patience
  • creativity
  • the ability to take direction and follow treatment programs (set out by speech-language pathologists)
  • the ability to work on their own and as part of a team.

They should enjoy:

  • compiling information about client progress
  • teaching clients ways to improve speaking skills
  • handling the materials used in therapy.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Some speech-language assistants get on-the-job training. Most employers prefer to hire those who have a related diploma or equivalent combination of education and experience (such as experience working with people who have disabilities). Fluency in a language other than English, computer skills and a valid driver’s licence are assets.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Voluntary certification is available from the Therapy Assistant Association of Alberta (ThAAA).

To become certified, speech-language assistants must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • graduation from a recognized 2-year therapy or rehabilitation assistant training program with a diploma in speech and language pathology
  • continuous employment as a speech-language assistant for at least 3,000 hours.

To maintain certification, speech-language assistants must undertake competency development each year.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Speech-language assistants work in:

  • schools, daycare centres and preschool programs
  • regional and local health centres, hospitals and rehab centres
  • private practices (run by speech-language pathologists).

Without further education, opportunities to advance are limited.

Speech-language assistants are part of the 2011 National Occupational Classification 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment. In Alberta, 87% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

In Alberta, the D235: Other Technical Occupations in Therapy and Assessment occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.1% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 112 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016
Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $34.00 $20.85 $19.06
Overall $17.00 $41.70 $25.61 $23.01
Top $19.10 $47.30 $29.23 $24.95

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Educational Services
ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

67%
67%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

26%
26%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

1%
1%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Alberta College of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (ACSLPA) website: acslpa.ab.ca

Communicative Disorders Assistant Association of Canada (CDAAC) website: cdaac.ca

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: www.hsaa.ca

Therapy Assistant Association of Alberta (ThAAA) website: thaaa.ca

Speech-Language and Audiology Canada website: www.sac-oac.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 22, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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