Speech pathologist working with a child

Speech Language Pathology Assistant Program

Speech Language Pathology Assistants (SLPAs) are a growing group of therapy service providers under the supervision of licensed Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) that provide treatment and screening services for people who have trouble communicating.

Communication disorders can affect anyone, from very young children to the elderly. SLPAs provide services to people of all ages with a wide variety of issues and disorders. Some individuals are born with a communication disorder while others acquire communication disorders after an accident or disease. 

Working under the supervision of an SLP, an SLPA can enhance the quality of life of the individuals served by:

  • Eliminating or minimizing the impact of communication disorders and enhancing functional communication, thereby allowing individuals to communicate wants and needs effectively and comprehend linguistic input.
  • Enhancing cognitive skills, thereby allowing individuals to effectively function in their activities of daily living and increase their independence.

College of DuPage offers a Speech Language Pathologist Assistant, Associate in Applied Science degree, designed to be completed in two years. SLPA courses include communication and speech disorders, phonetics, language development and sign language. Graduates of the SLPA program at COD are eligible to apply for state licensure through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations.

The SLPA program meets and exceeds the minimum requirements set forth within section 1465.20 b,4 of the Rules for the Administration of the Illinois Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Practice Act.

First Step to Apply - Attend an Advising Session

Determine Your Path

A communication disorder may impact an individual’s ability to hear, speak or understand. It is estimated that 42 million Americans have some form of communication disorder, such as hearing loss, stuttering, and voice, articulation or language disorders. SLPAs help to eliminate or minimize the impact of communication disorders on the lives of their clients or patients.

Whether you are preparing for a career in speech language pathology, planning to transfer to a four-year college or university or updating your skills, COD offers:

  • Dedicated instructors with years of practical industry experience, certification, and licensing.
  • Instruction in top-notch facilities.
  • Flexible course schedules with day and evening classes, online learning and accelerated hybrid classes.
  • Affordable programs that get you on the fast track to success without breaking the bank.
  • Hands-on experience with a variety of different clinical sites throughout the Chicago suburbs.

Speech Language Pathology Assistant

The Speech Language Pathology Assistant Associate in Applied Science degree program prepares students for employment as support personnel under the supervision of a certified Speech Language Pathologist in schools and clinics.

Upon successful completion of the program, students are eligible to apply for the Illinois State License licensure through Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations (IDFPR).

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Get Started Today

Get started in the SLPA program by following the directions outlined in the SLPA admissions packet. The packet contains an admissions checklist that you will need to follow in order to be eligible for admission.

Program Costs

Academic and Career Pathways give you a roadmap to achieving your career goals. Follow a pathway based on your degree that outlines which classes you need to take and when so you graduate on time or move on to the next phase in your career.

Speech Language Pathology Assistant program graduates will:

  • Provide quality services as outlined by the supervising SLP in a documented treatment plan
  • Complete speech and language screenings without interpretation
  • Assist SLP during diagnostic testing if requested by the supervising SLP
  • Document progress toward goals in established therapy plan and assist with informal documentation
  • Perform clerical duties, assist with departmental operations, and perform equipment maintenance checks as requested by the supervising SLP
  • Provide support in research projects, in-servicing, and public relations programs, and collect data for quality improvement
  • Exhibit compliance with scope of service
  • Exhibit compliance with regulations and reimbursement requirements
  • Exhibit professional behavior, ethical conduct, and interpersonal skills when interacting with clients/patients and families, supervisors, and staff
  • Assume responsibility for continued professional and personal growth
  • Apply for licensure through the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations
  • Contribute positively to the speech language pathology profession and community

College of DuPage has several speech language pathology assistant in place with four-year colleges and universities to save you time, money and make the transfer process easier.

Many of these agreements with other colleges and universities have specific course requirements and a pre-determined course plan that needs to be followed to be eligible to transfer. Contact a program faculty member or academic advisor to learn more as course requirements vary by institution.


A career in speech language pathology may be right for you if helping people communicate sounds exciting. In addition to a strong desire to help others, the following skills or traits are needed for success in this field:

  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent problem solving and critical thinking skills 
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to be adaptable 
  • Interest in and commitment to continued education, even after completion of a degree

In Illinois, the Scope of Service of SLPA is organized by function. Refer to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to view the Illinois Speech Language Pathology and Audiology Practice Act.


  • SLPAs may follow a documented treatment plan outlined by an SLP.
  • SLPAs may not write, develop, or modify a treatment plan in any way.

Evaluation and Screening

  • SLPAs may complete speech and language screenings without interpretation and assist SLP during diagnostic testing.
  • SLPAs may not interpret screening results or perform diagnostic testing.


  • SLPAs may not complete feeding or swallowing screening, perform diagnostic services related to feeding and swallowing, utilize a check list or tabulate results of a feeding or swallowing evaluation or  demonstrate swallowing strategies or precautions patient, family, or staff.


  • SLPAs may document progress toward goals in established therapy plan and assist with informal documentation.
  • SLPAs may not write, develop, or modify the therapy plan in any way or sign any formal document.

Determination of Need for Services

  • SLPAs may not select clients for service, discharge clients from service or make referrals for additional service.

Counseling and Conferencing

  • SLPAs may not counsel the client or family, consult with client, family, or others regarding status or service, disclose information (verbal or written) to anyone not designated by SLP or participate in any conferencing activity without the presence of an SLP.


  • SLPAs may perform clerical duties, assist with departmental operations, perform equipment maintenance checks provide support in research projects, inservice, and PR programs or collect data for quality improvement.


  • SLPAs must exhibit compliance with scope of service and exhibit compliance with regulations and reimbursement requirements.
  • SLPAs may not represent himself/herself as an SLP.

Workplace Behaviors

  • SLPAs must relate to clients/patients in a supportive manner, follow supervisor’s instructions, maintain confidentiality and other appropriate behaviors,  communicate in oral and written forms and follow health and safety precautions.

Career Information

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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your frequently asked questions regarding the Speech Language Pathology Assistant program.

A Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) is an individual who has earned a master's or doctoral degree in the field of Communication Sciences and Disorders. He or she has completed a nine-month fellowship, referred to as the Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY), received his or her Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCCs) from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA), and has been licensed by the state(s) in which he or she practices. The SLP provides diagnostic services, develops plans of intervention, and provides direct therapy or consultative services for individuals with communicative, cognitive or swallowing deficits. Entry-level salaries for ASHA-certified SLPs are approximately $45,000 for those on a academic contract year (9 to 10 months) and $52,000 for those on a calendar year contract (11 to 12 months).

Guidelines for the use of support personnel in Speech Language Pathology were formally instituted by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) in 1969. However, support personnel functioned under a multiple of different titles and varied widely in terms of training. The formalization of the SLPA profession in terms of education, training and scope of service is a recent addition to the speech language pathology landscape, with national and Illinois state guidelines being finalized in 2000 and 2002 respectively.

SLPAs can work in a multitude of settings and provide services for a wide variety of individuals. However, it is important to note that the vast majority of SLPA graduates from COD are employed working with children, specifically in the early intervention system. In 2005, credentialing through the early intervention system (which provides services for children age birth to three years) became available for licensed associate-level SLPAs. Since that time, the early intervention system has become a significant employment resource for our graduates. Graduates have also found employment in educational and pediatric clinical settings. Job opportunities in hospital settings or caring for adult patients are limited at this time, secondary to reimbursement issues.

Refer to SLPA Admissions Packet for admission criteria.

As stated in the SLPA Admissions Packet, a student should apply to the program while he/she is completing his/her prerequisite SLPA courses. All application materials are due by the application deadline date.