Speech and language therapist: job description

Last updated: 19 Jul 2023, 08:51

Speech and language therapists diagnose and treat speech and language problems to help people communicate effectively.

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Speech and language therapist : Salaries | Employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Speech and language therapists work with adults and children who have difficulties communicating. They also support people with problems swallowing. Patients’ symptoms could be the results of illness, accident, disability, acquired disorders or congenital or emotional problems.

Typical duties include:

  • assessing patients, and, if patients are children, talking to parents/carers about their situation.
  • developing and providing treatment plans.
  • observing swallowing difficulties.
  • planning and providing appropriate treatment.
  • giving advice and support to patients, family members and teachers.
  • writing reports.
  • maintaining records and case notes.
  • liaising with doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, teachers, family members and carers.
  • providing therapy sessions with individuals, groups and/or families.

Graduate salaries

As per the agenda for change pay scale, salaries for newly qualified speech therapists in the health service are around £25,000. As you gain experience your salary will increase, and you’ll also become eligible to apply for higher-level roles. Experienced speech and language therapists in the NHS can earn up to £45,000.

Typical employers of speech therapists

  • NHS trusts.
  • Private health providers.
  • Schools and colleges.
  • Local authorities.
  • Voluntary and charitable organisations.

Some speech and language therapists work as private practitioners.

Vacancies are advertised by targetjobs , university departments and on the websites of educational institutions within the profession. You’ll also find jobs advertised on sector-specific job sites and via specialist recruitment agencies.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into this profession for school leavers and graduates.

Graduates need a degree approved by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). This can either be an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. Competition for postgraduate places is strong, so relevant work experience can be helpful.

Undergraduate degrees usually take three to four years full time and postgraduate programmes usually take two years.

You will usually need two or three A levels or equivalent to be considered for a speech and language therapy degree course, along with five GSCEs at grade 4 (equivalent to C) or above – including English language, maths and science.

School leavers can take a speech and language therapy apprenticeship, which involves working in a related role (such as a speech and language therapy assistant) while studying for a degree in speech and language therapy. The apprenticeship takes four years and is currently only available to students in England. There are no set entry requirements to become a speech and language therapy assistant.

All speech and language therapist need to register with the HCPC before they can practise. As with many health-related careers, you’ll continue learning throughout your career. You’ll need to carry out continuing professional development (CPD) to maintain your HPCP registration.

Key skills for speech therapists

  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Communication skills, including the ability to work with people in difficult situations.
  • Organisational skill .
  • The ability to work as part of a multidisciplinary team.
  • The drive and willingness to continue learning throughout your career.
  • Initiative.
  • Flexibility.
  • Problem-solving skills .
  • Business skills for private practice.

targetjobs editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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