Speech therapists diagnose, assess and look for solutions to communication disorders, working with adults, children in schools, hospitals and the community. To become a Speech Therapist you will need a BSc. (Hons) degree in Speech and Language Therapy. You will then need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The three or four-year degree will involve a lot of practical work with service care users.
What are the university entry requirements for a speech and language therapy degree?
To apply to universities for Speech and Language Therapy, you should have, or be working towards achieving a relevant Access to HE Diploma in Health Science. Or, alternatively, 3 A Levels with at least one in a science area (Human Biology, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Psychology, Sociology, Geography or Maths). Universities can advise on their particular entry requirements and they also publish these on the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) website.
With the A Level route, you may also be expected to have a minimum of 5 GCSEs. With the Access to HE Diploma route, you are normally only required to have 2 GCSEs in English and Maths at Grade C or above. Access to HE Diplomas are normally aimed at adults 18+ returning to education or wishing to change to a new career. There are no upper age limits. The Diploma qualification is viewed as being equivalent to 3 A Levels. Access to HE can be studied from home via online learning or at a local college/academy.
To gain the required level of practical skills and technical competence to become a Speech Therapist, the time on your degree programme will be spent between theory and clinical practice. The theory part will be based within the university setting where you will have contact with other students and your tutors, and attend seminars and lectures. Clinical practice is where you will undertake supervised speech therapy placements within hospitals, schools and out in the community.
What does a speech and language therapist do?
Speech and language therapy provides treatment, support and care for those who have difficulties communicating. They also help with problems relating to eating, drinking and swallowing.
Speech and language therapists (SLTs) are allied health professionals. Just like in most areas of healthcare, they work in conjunction with others to find the best outcome for the patient. They work with parents, carers and other professionals, such as teachers, nurses, occupational therapists and doctors. There are around 17,000 practising SLTs in the UK working in a wide variety of settings.
What personal attributes are needed to become an SLT?
Good communication skills and patience are both needed to become a Speech and Language Therapist. You will need to be able to think creatively and individually tailor treatment programs for patients. Interpersonal skills are vital for pulling together all the relevant information from parents/carers, teachers and other professionals that will enable you to form a bespoke treatment plan for each Service Care User.
What are the pay and working conditions like?
As a newly qualified SLT, your starting salary will be around £22,000 (Band 5) rising up the pay scale annually to £28,500. As a specialist SLT, you can earn between £25,783 and £34,530 (Band 6). Typical salaries for advanced or highly specialised SLTs range from £30,764 to £40,558 (Band 7). The Government have recently announced a 6.5% increase across health sector employees over the next 3 years.
Did you know?
- Speech and Language therapy is most common special educational need in children aged between 4 and 11 years old.
- More than half of children in some areas of the country start school with underdeveloped speech, language and communication skills.
- Around 20% of the population may experience communication difficulties at some point in their life.
- You can make a difference!
How is your degree funded?
Studying to become a Speech Therapist allows you to you to apply for the standard student support package in the form of a student loan. Scholarships, bursaries or grants may also be available for example, through the university or your place of work.
If you would like to complete an Access to HE in Speech Therapy with Academy Online Learning and obtain the level 3 Access Diploma in Health Science Professions for university entry, please complete the online enrolment form or contact us for more information by phone or email. Studying and achieving this qualification provides a flexible way of study as it is fully online and is recognised and accepted by UK universities.