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Childcare

Speech and language therapist

Speech and language therapists help people with speaking and communication problems and those with eating and swallowing difficulties.

Annual Salary

£25,655 to £53,219

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 a week

You could work: between 8am and 6pm;

6%
Future employment

There will be 6% more Speech and language therapist jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

As part of your day-to-day tasks, you could:

  • talk to clients, observe them and use tests to assess specific difficulties
  • help a patient who has had a stroke to learn to speak again
  • support families to communicate with loved ones who have had a brain injury
  • plan and develop therapy programmes
  • help children and adults with eating difficulties to learn how to swallow
  • work with children with language delays or disorders
  • support clients through treatment
  • work closely with colleagues like doctors and teachers

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.

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) and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT).

If you've got a relevant degree, you could do a 2-year fast-track postgraduate course in speech and language therapy.

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) has useful resources to help you prepare for a career in speech and language therapy.

You may be able to get additional student financial support through the NHS Learning Support Fund.

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
For more information
Apprenticeship

You may be able to do a speech and language therapist degree apprenticeship.

The apprenticeship will take around 4 years to complete.

If you already have a relevant degree it may be shorter and you may be able to gain a masters qualification as part of the apprenticeship.

If you are already working as a speech and language therapy assistant you may be able to apply to do the degree apprenticeship with your current employer. You would need to meet all their entry requirements for the apprenticeship.

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) has more information on this 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
For more information
Volunteering and work experience

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 may also find relevant volunteering opportunities through The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Do IT.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

When applying for degree courses and apprenticeships, you'll be expected to have an understanding of how NHS values apply in your work.

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) for professional development and networking opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a speech and language therapist from:Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists; Health Careers

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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 and run your own business.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of psychology
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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