Pursuing a Second (or Third) Career as a Licensed Assistant in Speech/Language Pathology in Texas

I have been blessed to supervise wonderful licensed assistants. This year, my licensed assistant had been a teacher before taking online classes to become certified, and some of the other teachers thought she had a pretty good deal going on. They liked the fact that she worked with small groups all day. And I think they saw me doing all the paperwork! There was still interest even after we both assured the teachers that licensed assistants don't get a free pass on documentation.

To help answer some questions, I've put together this FAQ. This post is a starting point. Be sure to check with your state board for specific requirements and information. Also, since the teachers I work with are in Texas, that's my area of focus.
What is a licensed assistant?
According to the Texas state board, a licensed assistant is "an individual who possesses a baccalaureate degree in communicative sciences and disorders licensed to practice under supervision. The practice of assistants is very limited."

What does a licensed assistant do?
A licensed assistant works with a supervising SLP to assist with workload. Licensed assistants can carry out IEPs under supervision, write lesson plans that are reviewed by the supervising SLP, and collect data. Licensed assistants are allowed to administer routine tests with supervision. After 3 years, licensed assistants can conduct ARDs under state guidelines.

Why become a licensed assistant?
Several reasons:
1) Assistants who graduate with a bachelor's but want to gain practical experience before going to grad school
2) Assistants who have a bachelor's but aren't accepted into very competitive grad schools
3) Assistants who are happy with the position and don't want to become an SLP
4) Assistants who are attending grad school to become an SLP while working
5) Assistants who have a degree in another field and are working on a graduate degree
6) Teachers who are willing to get the 24 hours required in Texas to work in a specialty area in education

What are the requirements?
In Texas, a bachelor's degree is required to include 24 hours in communication courses. For those who already have a bachelor's degree, leveling or prerequisite courses may satisfy the 24-hour requirement. From the state board:
  • 24 semester hours in speech-language pathology and audiology with at least 
    • 18 semester hours in speech-language pathology content;
    • 3 semester hours in language disorders (A language disorders course may include content for assessment and intervention of language disorders such as aphasia and related acquired language disorders, dementia, language delay, factors underlying language impairment, language disorders in children, and language disorders in adults.); and
    • 3 semester hours in speech disorders (A speech disorders course may include content for assessment and intervention of speech disorders such as phonological process disorder, articulation disorders, voice disorder, and fluency disorder.)
  • excludes clinical experience and/or course work such as special education, deaf education, or sign language 
  • 25 hours of clinical observation
  • 25 hours of clinical assisting experience
Where can I get these hours?
Traditional classes involve going to campus. A list of Texas campuses that offer graduate programs can be found at TSHA.

In this ever-changing world, many non-traditional students are looking at online classes. Here is a list of online programs that offer leveling or prerequisite courses. This list is only a starting point. It is not a recommendation or endorsement of any program. Before applying or starting classes, be sure to check program and state requirements.

Texas Women's University (NOTE: The leveling classes do not satisfy Texas' requirement for licensed assistants, but the program is definitely worth looking at if you are considering going on to work on a master's degree)
Northern Arizona University
California State University Northridge
Pasadena City College
University of Colorado Boulder
Idaho State University
Elms College, Massachusetts
Lake Region State College, North Dakota/Williston State College, North Dakota
Chemeketa Community College, Oregon
Lasalle University, Pennsylvania
Mitchell Technical Institute, South Dakota
Utah State University
James Madison University, Virginia
Longwood University, Virginia

If you know of any other programs or have experience with an online program, be sure to comment below.

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