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Helping you find a career as a Speech and language therapist

As a speech and language therapist you will treat patients of all ages who have various levels of speech, language and communication difficulties, or experience issues when swallowing, drinking and eating.

The client group will be diverse, as you will treat people suffering with dementia, cleft palates and stammers. You will work closely with a multidisciplinary team, and will often come into communication with family, carers and teachers when devising a treatment plan.


What does a Speech and language therapist do?
Your tasks will differ between client and the nature of their diagnosis. Typically, you will:

- Identify speech disorder/difficulty
- Analyse the cause and nature of the problem, e.g. strokes often result in speech impairment
- Create and deliver a treatment plan that is catered to each client
- Review each plan when necessary
- Advise carers on ways they can implement the plan
- Train other professionals (in all sectors) on therapy delivery
- Monitor clients' progression
- Write confidential case reports, as well as notes to pass on to family, carers and other professionals
- Manage workload - you will often come across priority cases, but you will have to ensure attention is paid to discharged patients and referral cases too
- Work with a team to ensure a smooth therapy delivery

At a more senior level, you will:

- Conduct personal development reviews with colleagues
- Support newly qualified SLTs
- Take part in research projects
- Undertake clinical audit
What skills and interests should an Speech and language therapist have?
As a speech and language therapist you'll need:

- Brilliant communication and listening skills – often clients will fear the initial meetings and therefore will need to gain your trust
- Patience – progress in this role go on for several months, but it is important to remember that the outcome is rewarding
- Creativity and problem-solving – you must have the creativity to develop a treatment plan that is appropriate for each client and every individual diagnosis
- Teamwork – the ability to work with other professionals from different disciplines
- Organisation skills – to deal with several cases in one day
- The ability to work in a clinical environment
- Personal attributes such as empathy, a sense of humour and assertiveness
- A driving licence (desirable)
- Communication
- Creativity
- Organisation
- Patience
- Problem Solving
- Teamwork
What hours does a Speech and language therapist typically do?
Typically, an SLT will work for the NHS, and will therefore work a total of 37.5 hours a week. However, in other settings, you may be required to work evenings and weekends, as appropriate to client needs. This role has the opportunity for part-time/flexible work, too.
What environment is a Speech and language therapist based in?
Clinical environments, e.g. surgeries and hospitals. There is also the chance to work in prisons, schools, residential homes and universities.
How much does a Speech and language therapist travel?
You may be required to visit clients at their home. However, travelling is likely to be minimal.
How much does a Speech and language therapist get paid?
Jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) Pay Rates, which consists of nine pay bands. As a newly qualified SLT your starting salary is likely to be £21,909 (Band 5) and has the potential to rise to £28,462.

As a specialist SLT, you can earn anywhere between £25,783 and £34,530 (Band 6). Typical salaries for advanced or highly specialised SLT’s range from £30,764 to £40,558 (Band 7).

Additionally, salaries from local authorities and charities are likely to be on a smaller scale.
What qualifications does a Speech and language therapist need?
You must have a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) approved undergraduate or postgraduate degree in speech and language therapy.

For most undergraduate courses in the UK you’ll need three A-Levels or five Scottish Highers. Some courses also specify that you have GCSEs and A-Levels in English and biology.

If you have a degree in a relevant subject such as psychology, sociology, linguistics or medical science, you can opt for a postgraduate degree that specialises in speech and language therapy.
Useful subjects to study at school & university
- Speech and language therapy
- English
- Psychology
- Social Sciences
- Biology
- Medical Science
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