Speech and language therapists work with children and adults who have speech, language or communication problems, or who have difficulty swallowing, chewing or eating. They help their clients to speak and communicate with others as well as they can.
You could be:
talking to a client, observing them and doing tests to assess the difficulty
assessing the cause of the problem, for example cleft palate or an injury
planning a programme of treatment for the client
using word repetitions, rhymes and reading exercises to help patients
guiding and supporting the client through treatment
meeting the client alone or as part of a group
listening to the concerns of families and carers, and giving advice
working closely with other health professionals such as doctors, psychologists and nurses, or teachers and occupational therapists
writing reports and keeping client records.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Within the NHS Agenda for Change scales speech and language therapists' salaries start at Band 5, £25,100 to £31,649 a year. With experience this can rise to Band 6, £31,800 to £39,169 a year.
Advanced level speech and language therapists are on Band 7, £39,300 to £46,006 a year. The current pay scales are from April 2020.
You may work in a hospital, clinic, health centre or school.
You may need to travel when visiting clients in schools or in their own homes.
Your hours are mostly regular at around 37.5 hours a week.
You need a degree in speech and language therapy or speech and language pathology, which must be approved by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT).
The University of Strathclyde and Queen Margaret University offer suitable BSc Honour degree courses. Entry requirements are 4-5 Highers, including English and a science subject, with Maths and a second language and science subject at National 5 for some courses.
If you have an Honours degree in a subject such as biology, linguistics or psychology, you could take the 2 year postgraduate course, Speech and Language Therapy (Pre-Registration) at Queen Margaret University.
It is recommended that you spend some time with a registered speech and language therapist before applying for your course as you must show you have an understanding of speech and language therapy, and have knowledge of the types of people you may be working with.
After completing your course, you are eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), which you need to work in the National Health Service (NHS).
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
A knowledge of Gaelic or community languages maybe an advantage in some parts of the UK.
A driving licence is also useful and may be necessary.
There are around 17,000 practising speech and language therapists in the UK, with the majority working in the NHS. You may also find work with voluntary organisations, education services or in private practice.
The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the UK-wide regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards of professional training, performance and conduct in the following health care professions: Arts Therapists; Audiologist; Biomedical Scientist; Chiropodist and Podiatrist; Clinical Scientist; Dietician; Dramatherapist; Occupational Therapist; Operating Department Practitioner; Orthoptist; Paramedic; Physiotherapist; Practitioner Psychologist; Prosthetist and Orthotist; Radiographer; Speech and Language Therapist. (The HCPC may regulate other healthcare professions in the future.) The HCPC website contains a register of all approved courses in the above professions.