Speech and language therapist
Speech and language therapists help children and adults who have communication problems, or difficulties with eating, drinking or swallowing.
1. Entry requirements
You'll need a degree in speech and language therapy or human communication that's approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
If you've a degree in a science or language-based subject, you could do a 2-year fast-track postgraduate course in speech and language therapy.
For some roles you'll need to visit clients in their homes, so you'll need a driving licence.
You may be able to get NHS funding to pay for your course fees and help with your living expenses.
2. Skills required
- excellent communication and listening skills
- the ability to create positive working relationships with clients of all ages
- creativity, to turn therapy into a game when working with children
- the ability to motivate and encourage clients to continue with treatment
3. What you'll do
You'll work with children and adults who may have:
- difficulties making themselves understood through speech
- problems understanding and using language
- a stammer
- difficulties with feeding, chewing or swallowing
These challenges may be as a result of injury, stroke, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, mental health problems or a learning difficulty.
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
Starter: £22,000 and £28,000
Experienced: £26,000 and £35,000
Highly Experienced: £35,000 to £41,000
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environment
You'll work around 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday.
You'll usually work in a hospital’s therapy department, running a clinic and visiting patients on wards. You could also work in a health centre, day nursery or school. You may visit patients in their home.
6. 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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Last updated: 21 December 2016