Speech language pathology assistants are individuals who work with SLPs to administer care and otherwise help the treatment process. SLPAs may be aides or assistants, depending on job responsibilities and state standards. Since health care dollars are shrinking fast and projected to continue decreasing in the future, many project large numbers of SLPA positions becoming available over the coming decade. This is because they are generally paid less than SLPs and can assume some of the responsibility of care. This trend puts the speech language pathologist in more of a supervisory role.
It is important to note that speech language pathology assistants have been around for the better part of four decades, and their role is not to replace SLPs. SLPAs are vital to the screening process, documentation of treatment, and basic clerical duties. More advanced SLPAs may also implement some of the treatment designed by the supervising SLP. In this manner, the two form a team capable of tackling the speech and language difficulties presented by the patient.