Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SPA) Program

Speech header art

This full time Speech Language Pathology Assistant educational program prepares individuals to work in a health or educational setting under a registered speech pathologist with at least two years of professional experience. Assistants generally work with equipment maintenance, patient assessment, paperwork and execution of speech pathologist treatment plans. Courses in this program are structured to provide students with background information, theories, principles and techniques for implementation of treatment plans and goals of speech, language, and hearing disordered individuals. The program supplements classroom instruction with required supervised clinical observation and practicum experiences in speech language pathology and audiology. Students will be assigned to off campus practicum sites for observation of clinical experiences and involvement in interdisciplinary team approaches to case management.

Accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission, the Illinois Community College Board, Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois State Board of Education.

Upon successful completion of all academic and fieldwork requirements, students receive an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree.

Prior to enrolling in the Speech Language Pathology program, students are advised to review the applicable licensure/certification procedures and requirements and state laws of the professions to ensure that they are eligible to receive a license/certification following completion of the Speech Language Pathology Assistant Program at South Suburban College.

Eligibility for licensure may be limited by the results of a criminal background investigation. Individuals who have been charged with or convicted of a felony and/or have had any other professional license revoked or suspended or has been found by any court to have committed malpractice, negligence or recklessness is advised to seek an EARLY DETERMINATION REVIEW from Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations to determine their eligibility for licensure/certification.

NOTE: Criminal background checks are required for all admitted students for fieldwork. Additionally, students may be subjected to fingerprinting and/or drug screening for specific fieldwork sites.


The Mission of the Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Program is:

  • To provide a strong foundation in the skills and knowledge necessary for the development of competencies needed to work productively and responsibly as a speech-language pathology assistant
  • To provide a program that encourages and values the richness of diversity in its students and the population it is trained to serve
  • To provide the necessary skills, resources and learning environment that encourages lifelong learning
  • To provide learning experiences that foster a positive environment that emphasizes respect for the individual and development of the student’s personal and academic growth in assisting in the provision of quality services to individuals with communication disorders.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

  • Identify the laws and policies regulating the SLPA field.
  • Label, identify and define vocabulary and concepts that pertain to the field of speech pathology.
  • Analyze a language sample for accurate Mean Length of Utterance (MLU).
  • Define and explain major parts and processes of the brain as it relates to speech and language development.
  • Write in an objective, organized and grammatically correct technical writing style as used in the field of speech-language pathology.
  • Recognize their own professional limitations within the ethical/legal boundaries of training and job responsibilities of an SLPA.
    Identify, describe and discuss the critical competencies of being an SLPA.
  • Demonstrate personal responsibility in carrying out their roles as observers in educational and medical speech-pathology settings in a professional and ethical manner.
  • Demonstrate the ability to write a comprehensive description of the therapy session observed to include identification of materials used, description of client behaviors and the students own personal reflection using correct rule for grammar, punctuation and spelling.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the basic terminology related to human communication disorders.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the basic principles of evaluating and assessing individuals with communication disorders.
  • Identify appropriate therapy material as it relates to clinical practice.
  • Demonstrate beginning skills performing as a speech language pathology assistant by following documented treatment plans, assisting a speech language pathologist in service delivery, accurately documenting client performance, accurately recording data and preparing materials, demonstrating appropriate written and oral communication, interpersonal skills, ethical behaviors and health and safety precautions.
  • Demonstrate intermediate to advanced skills performing as a speech language pathology assistant by following documented treatment plans, assisting a speech language pathologist in service delivery, accurately documenting client performance, accurately recording data and preparing materials, demonstrating appropriate written and oral communication, interpersonal skills, ethical behaviors and health and safety precautions.

Program Goals:

  • To provide comprehensive, academic, and practical education and training for Speech Language Pathology Assistants.
  • Train SLPAs to effectively treat adults and children with various communication disorders.
  • To provide SLPAs with knowledge of the scope of practice of speech language pathology while training SLPAs how to accurately assist SLPs.
  • To promote and increase community awareness of the need and role of speech language pathologist and speech language pathology assistants.
  • To Train speech language pathology assistants to be well rounded allied health professionals while assisting and encouraging speech language pathology assistants to further pursue an advanced degree in the field of communication disorders.

Admission Process

NOTE: By admission process, all students must complete all SPA program prerequisites and general education course requirements with a grade of “C” or better before entering the program.

  1. Prospective students should submit an SSC Application form and forward all official high school (or HSE/GED®) transcripts, as well as official college transcripts to the Office of Admissions for credit evaluation. General education course transcripts must be submitted prior to the start of the summer semester.
  2. Students that have completed the necessary prerequisite courses can submit the Speech Language Pathology Assistant Program Application form by mail or in person to the Health Professions Office in Room 4457. Deadline for Program Applications is May 31st of the current year. Late applications will not be accepted.
  3. A photocopy of the student’s current health care insurance must be submitted to each respective program coordinator in order to participate at any clinical education site. Failure to maintain comprehensive health care insurance will result in the student being immediately withdrawn from the clinical site and thereby receiving a failing grade in the clinical education class. Furthermore, the student will be financially responsible to pay all medical bills and co-payments as a result of injuries or health issues that arise from participation of clinical education programs.

Admission to the Speech Language Pathology Assistant Program will be determined on a ranking of the grade point average (GPA) determined on the program prerequisites.

Priority for admission will be given to applicants who meet the application deadline. Program prerequisites must also be completed before the deadline to be considered for admissions. Be advised that Biology must be completed within the last 5 years to satisfy the program requirements. All students must be certified in CPR and hold a current card throughout the entire program.

The SPA program does not accept any outside courses for transfer credit related to this field.

Program Placement

The SPA program has a selective admissions process. Specific eligibility criteria are used to evaluate each applicant to admit those students with highest likelihood of success. Admissions to the Speech Language Pathology Assistant Program will be determined by the following criteria:

  1. Cumulative grade point average of 2.7 or better for program prerequisites.
  2. Consideration will be given for individuals with college degrees in other areas as well as military and /or related work experience.
  3. Completion of general education courses with a “C” or better.

Admission to the College does not guarantee admission to the program.

Students will be notified of status by mail after June 30th.

All students must demonstrate a minimum math competency equivalent to Elementary Algebra (MTH 095) to fulfill the AAS degree requirement as well as complete all general education and SPA Program coursework with a “C” or better or they will be dismissed from the program.

Once admitted, students must present proof of CPR certification and maintain certification through the entire educational program, as well as complete a physical and submit to a criminal background check.

Overview for College Success

Overview for College Success (OCS 121) is a course is designed to assist students in the navigation of becoming successful in college and life. Major topics include setting academic, career and personal goals; effective communication strategies; study skills; critical thinking; self-discovery; and learning styles. In addition, this course delves into topics such as stress management, diversity and other well-being topics. Students will develop educational and career plans, learn to utilize college resources and receive extensive help in course planning. OCS 121 credit is not calculated in the course minimum credit totals listed in this section.

Students must take OCS 121 if they meet one or more of the following:

  • First time degree seeking students.
  • Transfer student with less than 12 credit hours and no evidence of similar course on transcript.
  • Registering for 6 or more credits.
  • Test into 2 or more developmental classes.
  • Currently does not have OCS credit or registered for OCS.


Speech Language Pathology Assistant Degree (SPA.AAS)

Overview for College Success CREDITS
OCS 121 Overview for College Success 1
Prerequisites for Admission to the SLPA Program
ENG 101 Composition and Rhetoric 3
BIO 185 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4
HIT 102 Fundamentals of Medical Terminology 1
SPA 101 Introduction to SPA 3
SPE 108 Oral Communication 3
Total Credit Hours: 14
Fall Semester
PHY 101
SOC 101
Introduction to Psychology
Introduction to Sociology
BIO 186 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4
SPA 121 Anatomy and Physiology of SPA 4
SPA 131 Language Development in Children 3
Spring Semester
HFA 201 General Humanities 3
SPA 141 SPA Voice and Diction 3
SPA 151 Communication Disorders in Children 3
Summer Semester
SPA 161 SPA Introduction to Phonetics 3
SPA 171 SPA Clinical Observations 2
Fall Semester
SPA 201 SPA Screening and Interventions 4
SPA 211 SPA Clinical Fieldwork I 2
SPA 221 Communication Disorders in Adults 3
Spring Semester
SPA 231 Case Study Management for SPA 4
SPA 241 Clinical Fieldwork II 2
MTH 126 Fundamentals of Statistics 3
Total Credit Hours: 60