You’ll need to complete a degree in speech and language therapy in order to become a licenced practitioner and register with the Health and Care Professions Council.
Undergraduate and Postgraduate Degree courses are offered at a variety of universities in the UK, although the exact name of the degree differs from one institution to another. You can find a list of these degree courses on the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists website.
The entry requirements for these courses also varies, but some require specific GCSEs and A-levels, such as English and biology. Check the specific entry requirements with each university for more information.
As well as qualifications, it’s important for SLTs to have excellent listening and communication skills, enthusiasm, creativity and team-working skills. It’s also important to be flexible and patient, as well as having good problem-solving skills.
Speech and language therapists are able to work in a great variety of sectors and can specialise in many different areas. Some specialist areas include:
- pre-school speech and language
- voice disorders
- hospital or community-based adult work
- people with learning difficulties
- working within mental health services
- working in prisons.
Some SLTs move into the area of research and set up studies to design and test different therapy approaches. Others manage teams of other SLTs , or work in training others. Many SLTs work within the NHS, while others work in social enterprises, for charities or in independent practice.
Try contacting your local speech and language therapy service and see if there are opportunities for work-shadowing or volunteering to help you decide if this career might be right for you.
Look at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists website, where you’ll find links to other useful websites as well as further information about what SLTs do and how to become one.