There are four steps required to become a speech therapy assistant: post-secondary training, related work experience, applying for the job, and the job interview process. A speech therapy assistant is a member of the health services team, working under the guidance of a speech therapist or speech language pathologist. The primary role of a speech therapy assistant is to help the patient complete the exercises and conduct preliminary diagnostic tests.
People who are interested in the health care field, enjoy working with people, and want to work a standard business day, with occasional weekends, find this type of work satisfying. The primary reward from this type of work is watching the patient's progress. A low frustration threshold is required, as speech issues often take a long time to resolve. A high-energy person who is naturally optimistic may find this is a good career fit.
The first requirement to become a speech therapy assistant is to complete a post-secondary education program. Speech therapy assistant programs are available from a wide range of community and career colleges. The admissions criteria for this specialty may include hearing and speech tests.
Related work experience is usually obtained through a job placement program. Look for schools that have an affiliated speech therapy clinic, with the opportunities for job placement or internship positions. Other ways to gain related experience include working in the health services sector as a medical assistant or in a customer service position. Office assistant or office management positions provide the opportunity to learn how to deal with patients, suppliers, and other business issues.
In order to actually become a speech therapy assistant, you must find and apply for suitable jobs in advance. Most students start to look for a full-time position three to four months before graduation. Visit your school's career center and look for employers who have posted their positions with the school. Ask your instructors and internship supervisor if they would be willing to provide a reference letter to potential employers.
When applying for a job to become a speech therapy assistant, be sure to proofread your resume and cover letter, double-checking for any grammar or spelling mistakes. During the job interview process, remember that the employer usually has a standard list of questions and is looking for complete, concise responses. Keep in mind that everything you say will be written down and reviewed. Think about your answers, stay calm, and focus on how you can contribute.