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Occupational Profile

Speech-Language Assistant

Speech-language assistants carry out treatment programs that are planned, directed and supervised by speech-language pathologists to improve client communication.

  • Avg. Salary $34,775.00
  • Avg. Wage $20.85
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook Up
Also Known As

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

NOC & Interest Codes
The Speech-Language Assistant is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Communication Assistants
NOC code: 3235.3
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 and in a variety of settings. Their duties therefore vary from one position to another but, in general, they:

  • conduct articulation and language therapy activities that are based on goals and treatment plans developed by speech-language pathologists for individual clients or group therapy sessions and in-class sessions
  • conduct hearing, speech and language screenings
  • work directly with clients and their caregivers as assigned by a speech-language pathologist
  • make materials used in therapy, classroom and home programs (for example, communication boards)
  • prepare activities (for example, gather picture cards, workbooks, games)
  • assist with scheduling and room set-up for assessments and treatments
  • keep records about client progress and performance during therapy sessions
  • compile statistics about daily activities
  • perform clerical tasks such as filing, photocopying, laminating and scheduling appointments 
  • order, maintain and inventory supplies and equipment
  • regularly meet with and report to supervising speech-language pathologists
  • assist with public education events.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Speech-language assistants usually work standard weekday hours, often in school settings. They may be required 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 the following characteristics:

  • good observation and listening skills
  • good organizational and time management skills 
  • flexibility and adaptability
  • good interpersonal skills
  • strong oral and written communication skills
  • good English pronunciation
  • patience
  • creativity
  • ability to take direction and follow treatment programs set out by speech-language pathologists
  • ability to work independently and as part of a team.

They should enjoy taking a methodical approach to compiling information about client progress, instructing clients about ways to improve communication skills, and handling the equipment and materials used in therapy.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Some speech-language assistants have been trained on the job but employers generally prefer to hire applicants who have a related diploma or an equivalent combination of education and experience (for example, experience working with people who have disabilities). Proficiency in one or more languages other than English, computer skills and a valid driver's license are assets" in requirements.

Voluntary certification is available through the Therapy Assistant Association of Alberta (ThAAA) for speech-language assistants. To become certified by ThAAA, applicants must meet one or both of the following requirements:

  • graduation from a recognized two-year therapy or rehabilitation assistant training program, with proficiency in speech and language pathology
  • continuous employment as a speech-language assistant for at least 3,000 hours. To maintain certification, documented competency development must be undertaken each year.

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.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Speech-language assistants are employed in:

  • schools, day care centres and preschool programs 
  • regional and community health centres, hospitals and rehabilitation centres
  • the private practices of speech-language pathologists.

Without further education, advancement opportunities are limited.

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

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

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 3,600 Albertans are employed in the Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.1% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 112 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As speech-language assistants form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for speech-language assistants.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Speech-language assistants are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment occupational group earned on average from $20.16 to $27.51 an hour. The overall average wage was $20.85 an hour. For more information, see the Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Languages (other than English)
  • Science
    • Biology
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA) website: www.caslpa.ca

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

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

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

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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Apr 11, 2014. 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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