Speech and language therapy assistants help support people who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking or swallowing.
Salary range: £17,652 to £23,761
How to become a speech and language therapy assistant
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You could do a college course to get into this job. Relevant subjects include:
- Level 2 Certificate in Work Preparation for Health and Social Care
- Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care
- Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care
Most health and social care courses include work placements so this could be a good way of getting experience.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You can do an advanced apprenticeship as a senior healthcare support worker.
There are no set entry requirements but it may help you to get in if you have:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You could start as a healthcare assistant and move into speech and language therapy work, through further training and promotion.
Volunteering and experience
Employers look for relevant work experience so it would be an advantage if you have worked or volunteered in a health or social care role.
You can apply directly for jobs if you’ve got some of the relevant skills and experience needed for this role.
There are no set requirements but you’ll usually need good literacy and numeracy skills, some employers may ask for GCSEs or equivalent qualifications.
You may also need a qualification in healthcare or health and social care.
Professional and industry bodies
You could join the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists, for professional development and training opportunities.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- sensitivity and understanding
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be flexible and open to change
- knowledge of psychology
- the ability to work well with others
- knowledge of English language
- the ability to use your initiative
- customer service skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
For bilingual co-worker jobs it will be essential to have the ability to speak a second community-based language.
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- working with the therapist
- working with clients on a one-to-one basis
- group work and activities
- providing advice on cultural and language differences (if you’re a bilingual co-worker)
- clients with any personal needs, for example, mobility issues
- preparing therapy rooms and equipment
You could work at a health centre, in an NHS or private hospital, at a client’s home, in a nursery or at a school.
Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a team leader and supervise other speech and language therapy assistants.
You could also train as an assistant practitioner and study for a foundation degree before training as a speech and language therapist.