Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a speech-language pathology assistant?
Speech-language pathology assistants are support personnel who, following academic and clinical training, perform tasks prescribed, directed, and supervised by licensed speech-language pathologists.
- How long is the OCCC SLPA program?
The OCCC SLPA Associate of Applied Science program is two years (5 semesters). New students start in the fall and complete 5 consecutive semesters to graduate in the spring of their second year. This includes the summer between the first and second year.
- Do I need pre-requisites?
There are no pre-requisites to apply to the SLPA program.
- What if I already have a degree in another area?
Many SLPA students come in with degrees or coursework in other areas. Those students will have most likely met all the general education requirements but not the SLPA major requirements. The program length is the same amount of time, but the workload will be less. The SLPA courses follow a sequential order, meaning successful completion of one course is a prerequisite to another course later in the program. Please schedule a meeting with a student success advisor (405-682-7535) to discuss the transfer process.
- Is the program online? Do I have to come to campus for any classes?
The OCCC SLPA program is online with the exception of on-site clinical experiences in the fall and spring of their second year. There is a mandatory 2-day orientation prior to the start of the program. There is also a one-day mandatory clinic orientation at the end of the summer semester. These orientations take place on the OCCC campus in Oklahoma City. There are also several other on-campus lab/learning opportunities which students are highly encouraged to attend but are not considered mandatory.
- Can I complete this program if I live out-of-state?
Yes. Many applicants live in states surrounding Oklahoma. You will need to check licensure requirements for the state you plan on practicing in to make sure the OCCC SLPA program meets those requirements.
- Do I have to do a clinical externship? Where would I do that?
Students will participate in two 16-week Clinical Experiences in the fall and spring of their second year. Students must successfully complete 100 direct clinical clock hours to graduate from the program and apply for Oklahoma licensure as an SLPA. Students must be prepared to devote 6 to 8 hours per work week to their clinical experience during those semesters. Clinical placement is arranged at a location as close as possible to the student’s current residence.
- Can I work while enrolled in the SLPA program at OCCC?
Many students work part-time or full-time while enrolled in the program. It can be challenging to prioritize family/work/school responsibilities. Students should be prepared to dedicate at least 3 hours for every credit hour they take per semester. For example, if a student is taking 6 credit hours per 8-week term, they should expect to put in 18 hours of course time per week to be successful. Students should be prepared to devote time daily to class readings, study, and assignments.
- How do I apply?
Applications are opened in December and have a deadline of noon the last Friday in March. Applications will not be accepted after 12 pm the last Friday in March. The application can be found here. Applicants will first need to apply to OCCC before applying to the SLPA program. There is a $20 Health Professions application fee.
- How many students are accepted each year?
The program accepts 20 students each fall.
- Is it highly competitive? How many preference points should I strive for?
The number of applicants increases each year as the demand for SLPAs has increased in the state of Oklahoma. Students should strive to obtain as many preference points as possible to be competitive.
Applicants may improve their opportunity for selection by earning preference points. A maximum of 16 points may be awarded. A high number of preference points increases your chance of being selected for the SLPA program.
- After graduation, do I have to get a license to work in Oklahoma?
Yes. SLPAs working in Oklahoma must be licensed by OBESPA, the Oklahoma Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Completion of the OCCC SLPA program will provide you with all the requirements needed to obtain licensure in Oklahoma.
- Is there a national certification exam?
Yes. Completion of the OCCC SLPA program will provide you with all the requirements needed to qualify to take the national American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) SLPA certification examination.
- What is the job market like for SLPAs? What is the average pay range?
The demand for SLPAs has increased yearly since they were first licensed in Oklahoma in 2011. SLPAs primarily work in the K-12 school system and pediatric therapy clinics. Pay range is dependent on the setting and location, typically ranging from $20 to $40 per hour.
- There are two applications for the SLPA program. How do I know which one to apply to?
The SLPA associate in applied science degree is for any applicant who wants to become an SLPA and does NOT have a degree in communication sciences and disorders or speech-language pathology.
The SLPA Certificate application is ONLY available to applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders or Speech-Language Pathology.