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Speech-Language Assistant

Speech-language assistants help clients with speech, language, voice, fluency, cognitive communication, or swallowing difficulties. They carry out treatment programs that are planned, directed, and supervised by speech-language pathologists.

Also Known As

Classroom Aid, Communication Disorders Assistant, Communication Health Assistant, Educational Assistant, Rehabilitation Assistant, Special Needs Assistant, 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

  • 3235.3: Communication Assistants

2006 NOC-S

  • D235: Other Technical Occupations in Therapy and Assessment

2011 NOC

  • 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment

2016 NOC

  • 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment

2021 NOC

  • 32109: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment

2023 OaSIS

  • 32109.02: Communicative disorders assistants and speech-language pathology assistants
Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Speech-language assistants work with people of all ages in various settings. They conduct duties according to the direction of a speech-language pathologist (SLP). These duties may include both direct and indirect intervention tasks.

Speech-language assistants perform direct intervention tasks under the supervision of an SLP. They may:

  • Conduct hearing, speech, and language screenings
  • Help during client assessments, such as by collecting data
  • Conduct speech- and language-therapy activities, which may be done virtually or in person, at individual or group sessions based on goals and treatment plans developed by the SLP
  • Provide care to patients who have difficulty swallowing
  • Help clients complete case history and other forms
  • Support clients to communicate in natural settings
  • Take part in meetings about the client’s treatment with family members, caregivers, or other professionals
  • Help the SLP communicate with patients and caregivers if they speak a different language

When performing indirect intervention tasks, speech-language assistants may:

  • Make the materials used in therapy, classroom, and home programs, such as communication boards
  • Prepare lesson plans and relevant activities such as picture cards, workbooks, or games
  • Help with scheduling, room setup, and safety procedures for assessments and treatments
  • Keep records of client progress and performance during therapy sessions
  • Help with research projects, in-service training, and public education events and activities
  • Do clerical tasks such as filing, photocopying, and booking appointments
  • Order and maintain supplies and equipment
  • Operate audiovisual equipment
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Speech-language assistants tend to work standard weekday hours. Some may work evenings and weekends.

Speech-language assistants work with a diverse range of clients. They often work in schools but may also work in health facilities and clinics. Speech-language assistants may also provide telehealth (virtual) services when appropriate.

They may need to travel to various locations and transport heavy equipment or supplies.

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

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Speech-language assistants need:

  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Patience
  • Professionalism
  • Observational and listening skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Organizational and time-management skills
  • The ability to maintain accurate documentation
  • The ability to work on their own and as part of a team
  • The ability to take direction
  • The ability to understand treatment objectives and follow treatment programs

Respect for and sensitivity to individuals from diverse backgrounds

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.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment

2016 NOC: 3237

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 120 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Mar 28, 2023 and May 22, 2024.

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.
Tasks: Carry out treatment programs, under the direction of physiotherapists and/or occupational therapists, to rehabilitate patients with various injuries or disabilities
Tasks: Clean and maintain equipment
Attention to detail
Tasks: Document patient rehabilitation progress
Physiotherapy
Construction Specialization: Organized
Tasks: Schedule and confirm appointments
Construction Specialization: Client focus
Experience: 1 year to less than 2 years
Tasks: Assist during assessment of patients and carry out treatment programs and develop materials for use with patients
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Minimum Education Varies

Speech-language assistants may get academic or on-the-job training.

Most employers prefer to hire candidates who are eligible to be certified with the appropriate professional bodies. This requires a related diploma or equivalent combination of education and experience. For example, applicants might have experience working with people who have disabilities.

Other employment assets include:

  • Fluency in a language other than English
  • Computer skills
  • A driver’s licence

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 Mar 31, 2024
  • Certification Not Regulated

In Alberta, you do not need to register with a regulatory body to work as a speech-language assistant. However, voluntary certification is available from:

To learn about registration requirements, visit each organization’s website. Speech-language assistants must undertake competency development and education each year to maintain certification.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Speech-language assistants work in:

  • Schools, daycare centres, and preschool programs
  • Regional and local health centres, hospitals, and rehab centres
  • Private practices

Without further education, opportunities to advance are limited.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment occupational group, 82.5% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.9% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 22 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: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2024

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
$27.61
Per Hour
Average Salary
$46,713.00
Per Year
Average Hours
33.2
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.7
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 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

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $43.71 $24.13 $19.92
Overall $17.00 $47.94 $27.61 $23.36
Top $17.00 $49.35 $29.26 $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

ALL INDUSTRIES
Educational Services
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
36%
36%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
13%
13%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
7%
7%
Vacancy Rate
3%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

Updated Mar 31, 2024. 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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