Hey Julia, tell us about yourself!
Hi, my name is Julia and I'm a 24-year-old post-college graduate who works as a full-time SLPA at a private practice. I like to take personality tests, watch rom-com, and listen to K-Pop for fun. I have been working on managing social media accounts on the side as well. 😊
Can you tell us what you do as a Speech Language Pathology Assistant for those who are unfamiliar?
As an SLPA, I provide direct speech and language therapy via telepractice (a lot of Zoom meetings) and take data on each client's progress. There is a variety of communication disorders in the field of speech-language pathology such as articulation, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), speech delay, childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), intellectual disability, specific-language impairment (SLI), fluency/stuttering, and so much more! The list goes on.
How did you decide to pursue your specific career?
I decided to pursue this specific career after taking an introductory linguistics class. The professor suggested many different career paths with a linguistics degree and I became intrigued by "speech therapy." After that, I researched about it and quickly switched majors to communication disorders to take the healthcare route.
What made you interested in your field?
At first, language was the starting point-- everything about it was fascinating. Communication between peoples was what interested me and how language evolved over time in different regions around the world. Personally, I wanted to reach out to populations that had difficulty with communicating and expressing their thoughts, wants, and needs. And here I am!
Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off?
I can't say that standing out was easy. Many of the people in my cohort and field had the heart to serve these populations. I realized that knowing all the answers and showing empathy weren't the only qualities that were needed. The one quality that many of these private practices/clinics look for is the willingness to learn and keep learning.
3 Character traits that would make someone excel in your field
2. Being direct but kind (parent coaching)
3. FUN & FUNCTIONAL
What fuels you to continue to do what you do?
Being able to see how much progress my clients make in 6 months gives this indescribable feeling of satisfaction and joy.
Most difficult thing about your job?
I would say the most difficult thing about my job is handling behaviors from young kiddos on the screen. You need to act on your feet to change gears. There is an antecedent for every behavior.
What would you like to say to your younger self?
Don't live in the past regretting or in the future worrying. Be present and be well.
Best advice you've received/heard?
Some people are passionate about work but others are not and that's okay. That's normal.
Any last thoughts, advice, or recommendations for someone who is interested in become a therapist?
If anyone wants to pursue being a SLPA, I recommend attending a community college or university program that offers a practicum for hours. I attended CSULB for my undergraduate program and one of its courses "SLPA Practicum" helped me apply for my license.