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Speech and Language Therapy Jobs and Careers

Speech and language difficulties are experienced by people of all ages, from children just entering schools to mature people who have suffered from strokes. A speech and language therapist's (SLT) job is to use their skills and knowledge to address speech, language and communication issues and thereby enable these people to communicate freely.

An SLT works closely in a team with health professionals and teachers in dealing with people who have problems such as difficulty in producing speech, in understanding or using language, problems with stuttering or stammering, recovering speech after a stroke or head injury, communicating with a learning disability or physical disability, communicating when living with dementia or psychiatric disorders, or people who have problems swallowing.

What is Involved in Speech and Language Therapy Jobs?

Speech and language therapists ascertain clients' needs and develop treatment programs to address their individual issues. These plans may involve family, teachers or carers. The therapists will also work with teachers, occupational therapists, social services, psychologists, nurses and doctors.

Depending on the exact sphere of their work, a speech and language therapist's daily work may include:

Is a Speech and Language Therapy Job Right for You?

To work as a speech and language therapist, you will need most of the following strengths and personal qualities.

Would you like to improve your speech and language therapy CV?

Environment and Hours

As an allied health professional working within the National Health service, a speech and language therapist can expect to earn a regular week of 37.5 hours, mostly during standard office hours. There will be occasional overtime hours depending on requirements.

The environment is usually clinical, care or personal support related. You may be working in a health centre or hospital, day care centre or school. Alternatively, you might be in someone's home or in a prison. If working within the community, your work situations may vary enormously.

Increasingly, speech and language therapists are working on a freelance basis, undertaking private work for individuals and health agencies.

Entry Requirements for Speech and Language Therapy Jobs

To study to be a speech and language therapist at a university or college, you will usually need a minimum of two high grade A levels and five GCSEs. Favoured subjects are psychology, physiology, communication studies, linguistics, human biology or biological science, or social science. Other qualifications may be accepted than A levels, such as Scottish qualifications and access courses.

Degree courses are three or four years long, with accreditation by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. 18 universities offer programmes in this area, combining theoretical and clinical studies in hospitals, day centres, clinics, etc. Graduates can then receive a certification from the Health Professions Council which qualifies them to work as a therapist within the NHS. For those wishing to continue their education, seven universities offer postgraduate courses.

Salaries and Prospects

Upon entering work, most recently qualified speech and language therapists work for 12 months with a wide range of cases. Starting salary within the NHS is just over 20,000 a year.

After this time, they specialise in a particular clinical area or client group. Some therapists decide to commence research, teaching or administrative management at this point. Salaries rise to the range 24,000-32,000.

At a senior level, salaries start at around 33,000 and rise to about 42,000. Combined with senior management responsibilities, the highest salaries can be 55,000 a year.

Speech and Language Therapy Jobs Sites


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