Virginia Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Licensure Guide - 2024

AKA: Virginia SLPA Certification

Speech Pathologist Programs

by Speech Pathologist Programs Staff

Updated: March 19th, 2024

A licensed Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) operates under the guidance of a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) and possesses the necessary skills, knowledge, and training to work within the parameters of the SLPA scope of practice in various settings. These settings may include educational, clinical, and medical environments and involve providing services to people of all ages, from children and adults.

The speech-language pathology assistant’s responsibilities may include conducting screenings for speech, language, and hearing disorders without interpretation, delivering treatment as prescribed by the supervising SLP, and aiding in clinical documentation. Becoming an SLPA can offer a valuable opportunity to gain experience in providing therapy and positively impacting people’s lives without bearing the full burden of responsibility and paperwork that comes with being an SLP.

A professional in Virginia can practice as an SLPA if they meet the qualifications set by the Virginia Board of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. As long as they are under the supervision of a licensed speech-language pathologist, SLPAs who are not licensed themselves can carry out tasks beyond the scope of a speech-language pathologist’s practice. This guide offers information about the Virginia speech-language pathology assistant certification.

Virginia Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Certification Process

The Virginia Board of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology oversees the regulation of SLPAs in the state. As a state agency, the board is responsible for safeguarding public health and safety by ensuring that speech-language pathology assistants are competent. While the board doesn’t grant licensure to SLPAs, individuals seeking to become an SLPA in Virginia must meet the following requirements:

Education Requirements

Certain educational criteria must be fulfilled to be eligible for a speech pathology assistant position. First, hold a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology. Then, you can take the certification exam offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, provided you complete their Online SLPA Assistant Education Modules. ASHA also recommends exploring other paths in speech-language pathology, including shorter SLPA programs such as an associate degree. These programs can be completed in about two years and pursued through community colleges, technical training, or certificate programs.

Experience Requirements

As a speech-language pathology assistant in Virginia, you must meet specific experience requirements before practicing. Your supervising speech-language pathologist must provide appropriate supervision to guarantee quality care. To comply with the guidelines, you must conduct and assess at least two client sessions per assistant within a 30-day timeframe. These observations must be recorded in the client record for each session.

To fulfill ASHA’s experience criteria, you must finish at least 100 hours of supervised fieldwork or clinical experience. This involves providing 80 hours of direct patient or client services and 20 hours of indirect services while supervised by an ASHA-certified or licensed speech-language pathologist. The supervisor is expected to offer you continual training opportunities.

Testing Requirements

Once you meet the required education and experience requirements, you can apply for the ASHA speech-language pathology assistant certification (C-SLPA). Although voluntary, this certification assures patients, clients, healthcare professionals, and state licensure boards that you are up-to-date with the profession’s scope of practice changes.

You must take the SLP Assistants Certification Exam administered by ASHA to obtain the certification. This exam tests your knowledge of communication impairments, evaluation and diagnosis methods, and treatment planning for various speech, language, and swallowing disorders.

To apply for the certification exam, you must submit an application and the necessary documentation for approval and pay an initial certification fee of $249. This fee covers the assistant certification examination costs and one year of affiliation fees. Remember that to pass the certification exam and earn the SLPA certification, you must achieve a minimum score of 162.

Application Process

In Virginia, obtaining a Speech-language pathology assistant license is not a requirement for Speech-language pathology assistants. However, the supervising speech-language pathologist must ensure that the assistant possesses adequate knowledge, skills, and clinical experience to perform all assigned tasks competently. In addition, the pathologist is responsible for documenting the assistant’s competency through training and direct observation of task performance and maintaining a record of skills and competencies.

Once the assistant has demonstrated and documented competency for assigned duties, they may only engage in tasks planned, designed, and supervised by a licensed speech-language pathologist.