Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Certificate Program

Program Overview

Are you interested in becoming a speech-language pathology assistant?

Our fully online Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) Certificate program is designed to provide foundational knowledge in the field of Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD) needed to prepare you as an assistant to speech-language pathologists. Being an SLPA provides the opportunity to directly work with and help individuals with speech, language, and hearing disorders in schools, clinics, and hospitals, under the supervision of a certified speech-language pathologist.

The SLPA Certificate program is a pathway into the speech-language pathology professions. SLP-Assistants are not certified as Speech-Language Pathologists, as certified SLPs  are required to complete graduate training. The SLPA Certificate, however, can be a stepping stone to working toward the goal of becoming a certified SLP in the following ways:

  •  SLPA courses may be applied towards the completion of an Associates degree from Missoula College.
  • SLPA courses may be applied towards the completion of a University of Montana Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD) Bachelors of Arts degree.
  • If you already have a Bachelor's degree, SLPA courses can be applied towards the completion of our Leveling Certificate Program, which allows you to then apply to graduate school to become a speech-language pathologist.

The SLPA Certificate program consists of 8 online courses for a total of 23 credits. These 8 courses can be completed within one calendar year and are offered fully online (no face-to-face sessions required). The courses have an asynchronous learning environment, which means students can work on courses at times that best fit their schedule. However, expected learning will take place between the scheduled dates of the specific course. Deadlines for graded course assignments, forums, quizzes, and/or exams may vary per course. 

Online courses are designed to accommodate those who need flexible learning environments while still ensuring a high-quality education. Our courses are compressed into 8-week (Fall/Spring) and 7-week (Summer) part of term durations. Due to the modified format and fast-paced nature of our online learning environment, fully online CSD courses do not follow the traditional on-campus UM academic calendar.  Students are responsible for all deadlines described in individual course syllabi and course calendars. 

Please note requirements for SLPAs vary from state-to-state and prospective students must check with their local licensing boards to determine if additional education or clinical training hours are needed to practice as an SLPA. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's State Overviews has useful information to determine state requirements. 

Requirements Overview

Requirements for Certificate Completion

To receive the SLPA Certificate from the University of Montana, a student must fulfill the following criteria: 

  1. Complete a minimum of 23 credits, of which at least 51% of the required number of credits are earned from the University of Montana-Missoula.
  2. Possess a minimum grade average of 2.7 in all work attempted at the University of Montana-Missoula and a minimum grade of C or better in all courses that count toward program requirements.

Transcripts are subject to review, and student must be enrolled in the SLPA Certificate program. 

UM Technology Requirements for Online Education

Moodle is the Learning Management System that the University of Montana uses for online coursework. To be successful in the asynchronous online learning environment within the SLPA Certificate Online program, it is recommended students follow the ICT Guide-Basic Minimum System Requirements for Moodle 

SLPA Course Requirements, Credits, & Prerequisites

 Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites
CSD 110 Introduction to Speech, Language, and Audiology 3
CSD 205 Clinical Application & Observation in SLP & Audiology 2
CSD 210 Speech & Language Development 3
CSD 222* Introduction to Audiology* 3
CSD 261 Introduction to Speech-Language Pathology Assistants 3 CSD 110, CSD 210
CSD 265 Developmental Speech and Language Disorders and Treatment 3 CSD 210
CSD 320 Phonological Development & Phonetics 3
CSD 330 Antatomy & Physiology of the Speech & Swallowing Mechanisms 3
CSD 365 Acquired Communication and Swallowing Disorders 3 CSD 210
Total: 23 or 26 

 * Please note CSD 222 Introduction to Audiology is an optional course. It is not required to complete the program*

Enrollment & Cost of Attendance

Interested in enrolling? Here are the next steps!

  1. Fill out the Prospective Student Inquiry Form so we can learn a little more about you and help get you started!
  2. THEN: 
  • Either wait to hear back from our SLHOS Advising team to get more information; OR
  • If you're sure you're ready to become a Griz, apply directly to the University of Montana and select "Speech Language Pathology Assistant Certificate" as your major.  

Tuition and Mandatory Fees 

Cost of attendance will follow the University of Montana’s tuition and fees matrix found on the Business Services website under Student Tuition & Fees. Fees are subject to change per academic school year with Board of Regents’ approval. CSD Leveling Certificate Program online tuition and fees are delineated on the Online Undergraduate and Post Baccalaureate matrix. For an estimation of total tuition and fees, contact Student Accounts within Business Services at UMstudentaccts@mso.umt.edu  

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about the SLPA Certificate Program Online

What is the deadline to apply?

  • See UM Admissions (HERE) for specific deadlines to apply to the University of Montana in order to start your coursework in either Fall, Spring, Summer sections. We recommend that you apply a minimum of one month prior to the start date of the course in which you intend to enroll.
  • Courses are offered in two 8-week duration sections during Fall and Spring. Courses are offered in two 7-week duration sections during the Summer.

Am I required to begin in the Fall?

  • Most online students start in the Fall to finish in one year.
  • A Spring start option is available online. However, this option does not guarantee you will finish in one year.

Do I have to take all courses?

  • All courses are required to achieve the full SLPA Certificate.

Do I need to log-in at certain times to join a virtual classroom if I am taking online courses?

  •  No. Although, there are set dates when assignments and quizzes must be completed. The online program was designed for individuals who are interested in completing the coursework, but need to work at their own pace around work and family schedules. The exact format of each course may vary; please contact the course instructor about questions regarding exams, proctoring, assignments, etc.

If I have taken similar courses at a different university- can these courses count toward this SLPA Certificate program, or do I need to retake them at UM?

  • It depends. If you think that you have covered the content in one of our Certificate program courses in another program (and earned a grade >C), fill out THIS Course Equivalency form and return it along with the course syllabus/syllabi to your Academic Advisor for review.

If I take SLPA Certificate program courses at the University of Montana, will these courses be accepted at other graduate programs?

  • Since the bulk of the SLPA Certificate program coursework is the same as our CSD Leveling Certificate program coursework, this is a possibility. The content for most prerequisite course is relatively standardized nationally across CSD programs. Our courses are meant to meet the standards and requirements for admissions in speech-language pathology and audiology graduate programs across the country. The ultimate decision to accept prerequisite coursework is decided by your chosen institution. If you have concerns, we recommend that you verify with your intended graduate institution(s).

How much time should I devote to each class?

  • For every one credit hour in which you enroll in the campus-based program, you will spend approximately two to three hours outside of class studying (i.e., one 3-credit course= 6-9 hours per week studying over 15 weeks, for a total of 90-135 hours per regular university semester).
  • The same amount of content is covered in each of the courses in the online program, but the duration of each course is shorter. Keep in mind that you will still need to study for approximately 90-135 hours during the duration of the course (e.g., for an eight week course, plan to study 11-17 hours per week).

If I complete the SLPA Certificate program, am I able to apply to jobs as an SLPA in my state? 

  • This depends. Each state varies in its rules and regulations for SLPAs. You must contact the specific state licensing board in which you wish to seek employment. You can find more information on ASHA's website link for State Overviews

Does the University of Montana's SLPA Certificate program provide clinical training hours?

  • We are unable to provide clinical training hours at this time. We do provide 25 observation hours through our CSD 205 Clinical Application and Observation in SLP and Audiology. 

Online SLPA Certificate Program Contact Information

Contact Distance Program Coordinator, Mina May, MS CCC-SLP at mina.may@umontana.edu for general program inquiries or Acadmic Advisor, Meghann Schroeder at meghann.schroeder@mso.umt.edu for specific academic coursework questions.