What I Wish People Knew About My Job as an SLPA

January 31, 2019

I haven't been an SLPA for a very long time, but I do love what I do! 


I received my BS in Communication Disorders from the Speech & Hearing Science Program at the University of Washington in 2017. I started shadowing at Circle Creek Therapy last fall and accepted their offer for an SLPA soon after!


There are a lot of differences between being an SLP (speech language pathologist/therapist) and a SLPA (speech language pathologist assistant) that you might not even know about!



Some of those differences include: 


- Any degree, like an AA or a BS in communication disorders or a speech & language program can be used to fulfill your education requirement to become an accredited SLPA. There isn't funding for AA degree SLPA programs in Washington state, so that is why I got my Bachelors from UW! It's not easy trying to become an SLPA in Washington, but I was lucky to find Circle Creek Therapy to complete my clinical hours.


- SLPs are involved in the entire process of diagnosing and treating a client, while an SLPA has a smaller scope of practice. SLPs can create goals, perform evaluations, give a diagnosis, give treatment to patients, discharge patients, and write progress notes. SLPAs are only a part of the treatment process (i.e. giving treatment, discharging clients, & writing notes).


- SLPAs do not need a masters degree, while speech pathologists do!


- SLPAs only have the knowledge behind communication disorders, while SLPs need actual clinical hours with different clients.


- Compared to SLPs, SLPAs learn more through experience, & observations. SLPAs can choose between a school or clinic to finish their observation hours, while SLPs are placed into a variety of settings; like schools, clinics, and hospitals.


Even though there are some differences between speech pathologists & SLPAs, we both still have the same heart for all of our patients. :)


If you'd like to meet Michelle or want to learn more about Circle Creek Therapy, we would love to meet with you! Please just give us a call at 253.237.3405 to set up an appointment!






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Suite 110
Auburn, WA 98001



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phone: 253.237.3405

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