Several in-person classes will proceed during the January lockdown.

Communicative Disorders Assistant Program - Frequently Asked Questions

Currently, the Communicative Disorders Assistant (CDA) program is not offered on a part-time basis, nor is it offered online. One course, CDAP 102 (Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech Mechanism) is offered online beginning September 2015. 

A college diploma or a university degree in a related field (social, human, health-related studies) is required in order to apply to the CDA program. SLC does not require a reference letter or resume, but applicants are strongly encouraged to gain volunteer experience in the area of communication disorders prior to attending St. Lawrence College's CDA program.

You can expect to have classes both during the day and in early evening. All of your courses will be taught by professionals who are currently working in the field. You will have 8 courses in the first academic semester and 7 courses in the second academic semester. The semesters are 15 weeks. There is no final exam week, final exams or assignments are completed within the 15 week-semester. You can expect to be very busy and we typically recommend limiting time spent on extra-curricular activities or part-time jobs to no more than 10 hour per week. 

The CDA program is a 12-month program: For September intake the schedule is as follows: 15-week academic semester on campus in the fall semester (September–December); two 7-week full-time field placements in the winter semester (January-April); 15-week academic semester on campus in the spring-summer semester (May-August). Students are required to pay tuition for each of the three semesters.

Prior to coming to St. Lawrence College, students are encouraged to learn about the profession and to establish professional contacts with clinicians providing speech and language services. For examples, students may wish to arrange for job-shadowing or volunteer opportunities to inform themselves about the clinical services a CDA may be providing. Often such professional connections help arrange for placements, as agencies are already familiar with a student. 

In July or August, the program coordinator will distribute a placement application form to students who are confirmed in the program. This application form will allow students to express their preferences in terms of location and caseload and to provide contact information for established contacts. In September, once students have begun their academic semester, we ask that students do not directly contact agencies to inquire about placements. The CDA program coordinator in collaboration with a placement clerk contact placement agencies and ensure the required paperwork is in place.

A suitable field placement site is an agency employing a Speech-Language pathologist, Audiologist, and/or CDA, who is prepared to supervise a student. These sites may include hospitals, children’s treatment centres, preschool speech & language programs, schools, private clinics, long term care facilities, and rehabilitation centres.

There are several placement opportunities in Kingston, but certainly not enough to accommodate all students. Students should be prepared to travel outside of the Kingston area to complete their field placements. Please keep this in mind when renting and signing a lease for the year as the program cannot guarantee a placement in and around Kingston based on a student signing a year’s lease. Many students prefer to complete their field placements in their home city and we try to secure placements in those locations accordingly. Please also consider that many placements require students to have their own transportation.

Note: We ask that students be flexible regarding field placement locations. We try our best to secure the kind of placements you want in the locations you want. There may not be field placement opportunities in your community of choice because positions are not available or because other students from the CDA Program and/or other colleges and universities may compete for the same positions. It is necessary to plan for extra housing costs for the duration of your field placement and to be flexible in terms of geographic location.

Students must successfully complete all academic courses in the first semester (minimum 60%) to be eligible for field placements. Other non-academic requirements include documentation of current immunization form, current Standard First Aid/CPR level HCP Certificate and criminal reference check (including vulnerable sector screening).

CPR-level HCP/First aid: Available through your local Red Cross or St. John’s Ambulance.

Immunizations: Immunization records should be completed and signed by your local family doctor or public health unit and must be submitted to SLC health centre. Please note: SLC does NOT offer immunization clinics on campus. 

Criminal background /vulnerable sector screen: If you have a Kingston address, you may obtain this documentation via online application at Kingston police at e-background check service. You may also contact your local police department or OPP. It is strongly recommended that you complete these requirements just prior to beginning your academic semester for time management reasons. Please keep a file with digital and/or hard copies of your certificates and other documentation and bring to SLC for submission. 

When you begin your academic program, you will be given instructions on how to submit these documents.

Once you are attending SLC you will be required to complete the following legislated training modules through AODA – Customer Service, Bill 168 and WHMIS. You will receive additional information about this once you have started the program.

Our website has information regarding housing services, including Residence and off-campus housing. Learn more about Residence in Kingston and off-campus housing in Kingston.

CDAs are employed in hospitals, school boards, private speech-language and audiology clinics, children’s treatment centres, long term care facilities, rehabilitation centres, and preschool speech and language programs. CDAs are also employed in non-traditional roles as our graduates come out with highly transferable skills. Some examples of other positions that a CDA may be employed in are in the following areas: Educational sector (educational assistant), sales/marketing for audiology or speech/augmentative equipment/materials, assistive technology resource for people with disabilities, or operation of workshops or support groups. Given the current job market, graduates should anticipate having to relocate across the province or country to find employment as a CDA.

You can expect a range between $20 - $26/hour. Annual salaries may range from $35,000 - $55,000. Please visit the Communicative Disorders Assistant Association of Canada (CDAAC) website, where you may find out more specific information by contacting the executive representative.

You can read more information about CDAs here:

  • Communicative Disorders Assistant Association of Canada (CDAAC) website:
  • Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC) website – see tab for Communication Health Assistant:

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