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 an education 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 9 online courses for a total of 26 credits. These 9 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 our SLPA Certificate program is not a certification or license to practice as an SLPA. Licensing/certification requirements for SLPAs vary greatly 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 in their specific state. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's State Overviews has useful information to determine state requirements. 

Requirements for Certificate Completion

To receive the SLPA Certificate from the University of Montana, a student must fulfill the following criteria as described in the current year Course Catalog (see 2023-2024).    

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 numbers, names, credits and prerequisites for SLPA
 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 *Foundations for Speech-Language Pathology Assistants 3 *CSD 210
CSD 265 *Developmental Speech and Language Disorders  3 CSD 210
CSD 320 Phonological Development & Phonetics 3  
CSD 330 Anatomy & Physiology of the Speech & Swallowing Mechanisms 3  
CSD 365 Acquired Communication and Swallowing Disorders 3 CSD 210
  Total: 26   

*name and pre-req changes to start in Academic Year 2024-2025

For the most up-to-date information on required and recommended course materials, use the Find Course Materials search engine from the UM Bookstore or email the instructor on record directly. Find instructors using Course Search on my.umt.edu homepage. 

Tuition & Enrollment

Tuition and Mandatory Fees 

Tuition and fees can be estimated by going to Business Services website and viewing the Montana University System Tuition and Mandatory Fees matrices under Tuition & Fees. Find the SLPA Certificate Program online tuition and fees by selecting the current academic calendar year link for Fall & Spring and a separate link for Summer. Under Online Only is the Undergraduate and Post Baccalaureate link to the tuition and mandatory fee table separated by Resident and NonResident total. 

Choose the number of credits you plan on enrolling in per semester and follow the row across to find the total applicable to your residency status. For example, as a full-time SLPA student, you will take 12 credits in the Fall, 9 credits in the Spring, and 5 credits in the Summer. The Fall/Spring Semesters 2023/2024- Online Undergraduate and Post Baccalaureate Resident Total for 12 credits is 3,417.00 per semester; for 9 credits this is 2,577.00. Fees are subject to change per academic school year with Board of Regents’ approval. 

For an estimation of total tuition and fees, contact Student Accounts within Business Services at UMstudentaccts@mso.umt.edu  


Follow this link to the general UM Application and select "Certificate" as your level of education. To enroll as a Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) Certificate student only, select "Speech Language Pathology Assistant Certificate". You do not need a Bachelor's degree to apply as an SLPA student. 

Please note that though UM has rolling admissions, unless you are already enrolled in the CSD BA or CSD Leveling programs, our SLPA Certificate program is only available for a Fall-start. It is highly recommended to apply at least three months prior to the start of Fall semester to ensure smooth processing of your application.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about the SLPA Certificate Program Online

What is the deadline to apply?

  • See UM Admissions for specific deadlines to apply for a Fall-start to the University of Montana. 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?

  • Online students start in the Fall to finish in one year.

Can I apply for federal financial aid if I am enrolled in the SLPA Certificate Program?

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.

Do I have to take all courses?

  • All courses are required to earn the SLPA Certificate. The Requirements for Certificate Completion criteria dictates at least 51% of the minimum required number of 26 credits are earned from the University of Montana-Missoula. So there are only so many courses that may be accepted for course equivalency. If you have taken similar courses from other institutions, please see next FAQ regarding Course Equvalencies.

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 SLPA Certificate program courses in another program (and earned a grade >C), fill out our Course Equivalency form, return this form along with all unofficial transcripts and specific course syllabus/syllabi, and email for review: slhosadvising@umontana.edu 

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? 

  • The SLPA Certificate is an education pathway, not a license or certification to practice as an SLPA. 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 SLHOS Advising at slhosadvising@umontana.edu for general program inquiries and questions.