Speech and language therapist

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Speech and language therapists help children and adults who have speaking and communication problems.

Salary range: £24,214 to £43,772

How to become a speech and language therapist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship

University

You’ll need a degree in speech and language therapy that’s approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

If you’ve got a degree in a science or language-based subject, you could do a 2-year fast-track postgraduate course in speech and language therapy.

You’ll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in the health or care sector before you apply for a course.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

Apprenticeship

You can do a speech and language therapist degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship

More information

More information

Registration

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a speech and language therapist from:

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

For some roles you’ll need to visit clients in their homes, so you’ll need a driving licence.

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • talking to clients, observing them and using tests to assess specific difficulties
  • planning and developing therapy programmes
  • supporting clients through treatment
  • working closely with colleagues like doctors and teachers
  • coaching parents and carers to continue their therapy at home
  • keeping detailed progress records
  • working with groups or individuals to improve the way they communicate

Working environment

You could work at a school, in an NHS or private hospital, at a health centre, in a nursery or at a client’s home.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could specialise in areas like:

  • helping children with special educational needs
  • helping eating, drinking and swallowing disorders (dysphagia)

With further training, you could move into teaching and research. You could also become self-employed.

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