Speech and language therapist
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
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.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You can do a speech and language therapist degree apprenticeship.
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
- you’ll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council
You can find out more about becoming a speech and language therapist from:
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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
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
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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