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Speech & Language Therapist

Oct 2023
Career of the Month
speech and language therapist working with a child

Key Facts

Starter Salary
Experienced Salary
Working Hours
38-40 hours a week


Speech and language therapists help children and adults who have speech, language and communication problems or difficulties to do with eating, drinking or swallowing. This can be the result of a variety of issues, such as a birth defect, hearing problem, illness, accident or injury, or because of a learning or physical disability. The therapist meets the patient, assesses their needs and devises a programme of exercise and treatment.

They also meet with the patient’s family, teachers and other health professionals to talk about the kind of support that is needed. Patients are seen on a regular basis to check progress, review the programme and make changes to it, as necessary. Therapists work in a range of locations; such as hospitals, community health centres, schools, day centres and sometimes prisons. People who do this work are patient and have good listening and problem-solving skills.

What it takes

What it takes:

  • the ability to work well with others
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • knowledge of psychology
  • customer service skills
  • active listening skills
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • concentration skills
  • a good memory

Other requirements:

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

Day to day

Day to day:

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

  • talk to clients, observe them and use tests to assess specific difficulties
  • plan and develop therapy programmes
  • support clients through treatment
  • work closely with colleagues like doctors and teachers
  • coach parents and carers to continue their therapy at home
  • keep detailed progress records
  • work 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.

You will need

  • A GCSE (4+/A*-C) (or equivalent) in English
  • A GCSE (4+/A*-C) (or equivalent) in maths
  • A GCSE (4+/A*-C) (or equivalent) in biology (or double science)
  • An approved degree in speech and language therapy

You may need

  • An A Level (or equivalent) in a biological or social science
  • An A Level (or equivalent) in English

Academic and Vocational Notes

Speech and language therapists need to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC); to do this you need to complete a degree which is approved by them and also the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT). Check individual universities for information on their main entry requirements. Evidence of work experience and observation of speech and language therapists in a range of settings is looked for.

Work Based Training Notes

Registration with the Health and Care Professions Council is renewed regularly and requires evidence of continual professional development (CPD). After an initial period of employment, therapists have the opportunity to specialise in a particular area of the work. e.g. working with children. There are opportunities to teach, go into research or progress to senior management roles.

Other Routes

Whilst these are the usual routes to this career, there can be alternatives. You will be able to discuss these with your adviser.

To learn more about getting into a career in Charity Fundraising, take a look at our article - Career Focus of the Month: Speech & Language Therapist

Some data provided by NCS. May contain public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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