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Speech-Language Pathology Assistant: A New Career

Posted April 25, 2016

Have you ever considered a career as a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant?

Ridge Zeller Therapy’s very own, Lisa Edwards, BA, SLPA and “Guest Blogger”, shares her experience after her first month as an SLPA.

Lisa works at a high school with one of our many excellent Speech-Language Pathologists.

Their dynamic team services the speech and language needs of a diverse population of students and staff, and they are having fun at the same time! 

Thanks, Lisa, for your contribution to the blog and all your hard work!


My First Month as Speech-Language Pathology Assistant

By: Lisa Edwards, BA, SLPA - Ridge Zeller Therapy, Phoenix, AZ


When you graduate from college with a new, shiny degree in your hands, you are inevitably excited to start your career. 

Your brain is filled with knowledge, you feel confident that you will do well, and you start buying “career” outfits for your new life as a full-time Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA). You are SO ready for this moment.

Well, I have been working as an SLPA for about a month now, and I realized that all the tests I took leading up to my graduation do not compare to the ultimate test of being in the field.  

While the things I learned in school can definitely be applied to the real world, it is imperative to be flexible and “go with the flow”. 

As my supervising Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) told me, “Therapy is not linear. It's not concrete.” 

Those words, from someone who has been doing this for a while, stuck with me.  I need to be flexible and understand that every student is different. 

I’ve learned that my students will guide me in how to teach them. 

I need to allow their demeanor and their lives to be a part of how I conduct our sessions. 

I can start out with my plan in one hand, my blue pen for data in the other, and be completely thrown off by my student's need to “talk”. 

It may not be what I intended for therapy that day, but it’s still “speech and language” after all and what the student needs.

I have come to realize that what we learned in school are “textbook” lessons. 

They are necessary and help us build a framework for our career. 

The only thing you don't learn, however, is just how amazing the human interaction will be, both with my supervising SLP and our students. 

I've come to really love the days when our students come in again for their next session. 

I look forward to hearing how their weeks were and how they are doing in classes.  I feel immense pride when I see them remember something that I taught them the week before.

Knowing that I can make a difference for kids motivates me to be the best I can be.  I have also learned that I LOVE my job, and I'm looking forward to many more months like this!  

Knowing that I make a difference for kids makes me feel dedicated to be the best that I can be! Knowing that I make a difference for kids makes me feel dedicated to be the best that I can be!


Are you a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant or looking to become one?

Tell us about your experience in the comments section, below!

Comments (3 Comments)

Lisa- great article! You are doing a great job as a SLPA!!! We are so glad to have you on our team. It is always refreshing to hear from someone new in the field.

Posted by Meghan on October 21, 2013

I loved reading about your experience. You’ve chosen such an exciting and rewarding career, and it sounds like you’re doing an amazing job at it!

Posted by Hilary Parker on October 21, 2013

Nice post Lisa!

Posted by Lesley on October 05, 2013

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