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Part-time Employment Program Track

The PEP track in the MS in communication disorders program is supported by funding from the Arizona Department of Education to assist school districts in meeting the critical need for qualified personnel in speech-language pathology. The PEP is a way to complete the master's program in communication disorders while working in the schools as a speech-language pathology assistant (SLPA) or speech-language technician (SLT).

Individuals currently working in the schools as SLPAs or SLTs can apply to the master's program and complete the PEP. Once admitted to the master's program, individuals will need to arrange with their school district a part-time work schedule during the first year to accommodate courses and some clinical training, and district supervision by an ASHA-certified SLP. The typical length of the program is six semesters. This includes the five semesters required by the MS in communication disorders program and one additional summer to complete adult based hours.

Individuals who have an SLPA license, but are not currently working in a school district, must find a position within a public school. The ASU faculty will work with the district supervisor to ensure that a portion of your hours within the school will count toward your SLP training and will be at a higher level of skill.


The curriculum is designed to:

  • Provide coursework and practicum that meets the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) certification requirements and Arizona licensure requirements for an unrestricted license.
  • Offer classes in the afternoons and evenings to allow individuals to work part-time during the first year of the master's program. Second-year classes are offered after 3 p.m. and allow students to maintain full-time employment if needed. However, it is recommended that students continue to work part-time due to the rigorous nature of the academic coursework.
  • Provide the same high standards for coursework and practicum as traditional ASU master's degree students.

PEP Clinical Training

Clinical practicum hours are acquired in the public school work setting, ASU Speech and Hearing Clinic and hospital settings in the Phoenix metropolitan area. They are supervised by an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist, coordinated by an ASU faculty member, and will include hours working with children and adults as required by ASHA. The majority of the clinical training is obtained in the work setting, therefore, PEP students need to be employed as speech-language pathology assistants or speech-language technicians, and there must be an ASHA-certified SLP in the work setting to supervise some of the clinical hours.

The School District

The school district's participation includes:

  • Identifying speech-language pathologists with the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence within the district to supervise practicum experiences in the work setting.
  • Accommodating scheduling to allow classes twice a week during the first fall and spring semester and late afternoon and evening classes in subsequent semesters.
  • Providing part-time SLPA (or SLT) positions to qualified students who interview and meet district needs and requirements.
  • Exploring opportunities for grants, scholarships and work exchange agreements to assist with tuition, fees and books.