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SLP-related jobs before applying to grad school


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Hi everyone! I am going to be applying for SLP programs for next fall (August 2019), but in the meantime I need a job because student loans are a very real thing! I was wondering if you guys could recommend any entry-level jobs that would be beneficial before applying to grad programs in SLP.

Since I am an out-of-field applicant I could really use some extra experience (outside of shadowing and volunteering with SLPs) to demonstrate that I am committed to this career path. I have a Bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Studies so I've been trying to find jobs in the pediatric therapy field, but it seems difficult to find many jobs without a Master's degree.

Any suggestions or success stories would be greatly appreciated!

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Do you need a full time job? Substitute teach, aide in a special ed classroom, depending on the state you can teach on a waiver with just a bachelors and a basic skills test (CBEST in CA). I think all of these things would look great on an application. 

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I second being an instructional assistant in a SPED classroom; I gained two SLP mentors and a ton of informal observation hours from it. 

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I majored in the same thing-Teacher Assistant, Sub Teacher, Nanny, Child Care Worker-anything centered around children really. Im currently a sub and I think this job is especially good since you can work with different age groups and different developmental levels while seeing how things are done in a classroom setting. Good luck to you.

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You could become an RBT (registered behavior technician) and work in a place that also has an SLP. You could also ask the place if you can work more with children who also have language disorders, that way your experience will be even more relevant. Getting certified is pretty easy and you will have a lot of experience with children. There are a lot of skills important for this job that are also useful for an SLP, like implementing new treatments and working with the parents to provide the best therapy for the child.

Not sure if you are interested in working with clients on the autism spectrum, but of course this job would be an added bonus for that. 

Good luck :) 

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I've been working as a Behavior Therapist (RBT, but never took the exam for certification since I'm not interested in ABA therapy). It's great experience if you want to work with children. The state I live in it's very hard to get a job in the school systems, but I recommend trying that or becoming a SLP-A! Good luck.

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16 hours ago, nwslp said:

I just got a job as a receptionist at a private practice that has speech and OT, would super recommend that, i've learned so much already and everyone is super supportive!

Hi! Thank you for sharing!

That is exactly what I've been searching for, literally for the last several weeks, but I have not seen a single posting for anything remotely close to this sort of position in my area (Chicago suburbs). If you don't mind me asking, how did you land that job? Did you call/email practices or maybe find a job posting online? I'm super curious because that is exactly what I'm looking for to get experience in the field without having tons of qualifications just yet. Also, congratulations!

Thanks in advance!

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I worked as a Communication Paraprofessional in my local school district. It’s basically an SLPA as I was their assistant and helped a lot with paperwork and data collection but I was also able to help in therapy sessions as well as lead them, under their direction 

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I worked as an early intervention assistant at a non-profit therapy clinic where I helped slps, ots, teachers, and pts during play-based group therapy for children between the ages of 1.5-3. I was accepted into 4 slp grad schools one of my coworkers got into 2 with one of them being UW. 

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I got my RBT, and worked as a behavioral therapist for a year. Happy to answer any questions about that if you're interesting. I am also an out-of-field applicant (psychology)!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/5/2018 at 10:55 PM, láadan said:

I got my RBT, and worked as a behavioral therapist for a year. Happy to answer any questions about that if you're interesting. I am also an out-of-field applicant (psychology)!

I would be interested in hearing more about working as a behavioral therapist.  What kind of settings do you work in as an RBT?  Anything you can share would be helpful. Thanks. :)

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3 hours ago, GingerD said:

I would be interested in hearing more about working as a behavioral therapist.  What kind of settings do you work in as an RBT?  Anything you can share would be helpful. Thanks. :)

I worked in home and school settings mainly, though some places will have the children come on-site. It depends on where you work. Also, I worked at one place where I was an employee, and then at another where I was a contractor. It really varies from place to place.

There is a bit of overlap in the scope of practice between ABA and SLP, but they are very different fields. At the same time though, it's still 1-on-1 clinical work and there is some focus on communication (as a social behavior), and that makes it good prep. It teaches you a lot about working clinically with kids- how to get kids working toward some target goal/how to motivate them, troubleshooting behavioral issues/thinking critically on the spot, multitasking (like, somehow, you DO learn to give out praise/tokens, arrange the next trial, and note down what happened simultaneously), dealing with parents/teachers, etc. And you will learn a lot about autism, which is relevant. Also, another major plus for me is that I was able to have a clinical LoR.

I would do a quick search on YouTube for ABA and see some examples! Then you can really see what sessions look like! 

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10 hours ago, láadan said:

I worked in home and school settings mainly, though some places will have the children come on-site. It depends on where you work. Also, I worked at one place where I was an employee, and then at another where I was a contractor. It really varies from place to place.

There is a bit of overlap in the scope of practice between ABA and SLP, but they are very different fields. At the same time though, it's still 1-on-1 clinical work and there is some focus on communication (as a social behavior), and that makes it good prep. It teaches you a lot about working clinically with kids- how to get kids working toward some target goal/how to motivate them, troubleshooting behavioral issues/thinking critically on the spot, multitasking (like, somehow, you DO learn to give out praise/tokens, arrange the next trial, and note down what happened simultaneously), dealing with parents/teachers, etc. And you will learn a lot about autism, which is relevant. Also, another major plus for me is that I was able to have a clinical LoR.

I would do a quick search on YouTube for ABA and see some examples! Then you can really see what sessions look like! 

Thank you so much for this feedback.  Do you feel like the RBT experience strengthened your grad school application (other than providing the clinical LoR)?  Regardless, I am sure the experience will be beneficial in your future work as an SLP.

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On 6/15/2018 at 9:46 AM, GingerD said:

Thank you so much for this feedback.  Do you feel like the RBT experience strengthened your grad school application (other than providing the clinical LoR)?  Regardless, I am sure the experience will be beneficial in your future work as an SLP.

 Hah, well, we'll see, I'm waiting to hear back--I can say that the admissions counsellors I talked to seemed positive about it, but that's all I can say definitively.

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On 6/20/2018 at 10:13 AM, Kuntal Sarkar said:

Thanks for sharing the information. Can any one share some information on Audiology Jobs?

Where are you? 

I'm relocating to the DMV area and there's a hospital in DC that was hiring for an Audiology Assistant PRN 

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