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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.

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) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Communication Assistants
2006 NOC : 3235.3

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

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
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

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.

Traits & Skills
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.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment
NOC code: 3237

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 13 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 24, 2021 and May 20, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Organized
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Clean and maintain equipment
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Take patients' general medical and ophthalmic history
Personal Suitability: Initiative
Carry out treatment programs, under the direction of physiotherapists and/or occupational therapists, to rehabilitate patients with various injuries or disabilities
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016
  • Minimum Education Varies

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.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016
  • Certification Not Regulated

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 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.4% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 75 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment

2016 NOC : 3237
Average Wage
$25.61
Per Hour
Average Salary
$42,149.00
Per Year
Average Hours
32.4
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.8
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3237 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

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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