Archived Story

Course work in Speech Language Pathology Assistant to begin at BCCC

Published 10:59pm Saturday, December 29, 2012

Beaufort County Community College has been approved to offer course work in the field of Speech Language Pathology Assistant, a field that will provide many job opportunities for area residents.

Courses in the Speech Language Pathology Assistant Program are scheduled to begin in the Fall 2013 Semester in cooperation with Fayetteville Technical Community College.

“This agreement between Beaufort County Community College and FTCC will provide a new career path for area residents who are interested in a health services career,” said Dr. Barbara Tansey, BCCC president. “As in other health services careers, jobs are in high demand for speech language pathology assistants in several settings.

“BCCC is proud to offer this course of study for residents of northeastern North Carolina,” she said.

The Speech Language Pathology Assistant Program will be part of the Allied Health curriculum at BCCC that includes Associate Degree and Practical Nursing and Medical Laboratory Technology. BCCC also offers Emergency Medical Technician basic through paramedic, Health Unit Coordinator, Therapeutic Massage, Pharmacy Technician and Nurse Aide courses through its Division of Continuing Education.

As with other Allied Health curriculum programs offered at BCCC and FTCC, students must apply for admission.

The deadline for applications to health programs at FTCC is Wednesday, Jan. 30. However, the college will accept applications to the Speech Language Pathology Assistant Program from BCCC-based students after that date, said Charisse Gainey, department chair at FTCC.

Once under way, the BCCC-based program will be the only Speech Language Pathology Assistant Program in northeastern North Carolina, according to Wesley Beddard, dean of instruction at BCCC.

A Speech Language Pathology Assistant helps a licensed Speech Language Pathologist provide services to clients who need speech therapy. Assistants usually conduct therapy sessions as prescribed by the speech language pathologist, prepare materials for therapy, schedule patients and maintain patient files and equipment.

Speech language pathologist assistant students who complete their studies have several areas in which to work including school systems, private practices, rehabilitation centers, hospitals and, occasionally, nursing homes.

“There is a real need for these professionals in many settings,” Beddard said. “This program is an excellent choice for someone interested in a career in a health services field.”

FTCC established its program in 1997. It is one of the few offered by a community college in North Carolina.

Upon acceptance in the program, students take two years to complete the course work, after which they receive an associate’s degree in applied science in speech language pathology assisting.

Graduates may then take the N.C. Registration Examination for Speech Language Pathology Assistants. After passing the exam, they are eligible to register and practice under a licensed speech language pathologist.

Currently, the average salary for a speech language pathology assistant ranges between $23,000 and $35,000 a year.

An associate’s degree in the program requires 66 credit hours and includes courses in anatomy and physiology, phonetics and speech patterns, mathematical models, behavior modification, developmental disorders and acquired disorders as well as clinical fieldwork.

BCCC students can take about one-third of the courses required for the degree either before or after they apply for admission to the program. BCCC faculty will teach these courses, Beddard said.

Faculty based on the BCCC campus will teach FTCC speech language pathology assistant courses, he said.

As a result, students from eastern North Carolina will be able to obtain this degree without having to travel to Fayetteville to study, Beddard said.

More information about the program, including the process for applying for admission, is available by contacting Charisse Gainey by telephone at 910-678-8492 or by email at caineyc@faytechcc.edu. Information about the Speech Language Pathology Assistant Program and curriculum is available at the FTCC website at www.faytechcc.edu. FTCC health programs application information is available at www.faytechcc.edu/admissions/HEALTHPROGRAMS.asp.

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