Speech and language therapist

Speech and language therapists provide specialist assessment, diagnosis and treatment for children and adults with communication and/ or swallowing problems.

The work of a speech and language therapist

Speech and language therapists work with people of all ages who have a wide range of communication difficulties. Their work covers many areas, including:

  • speech
  • language
  • voice
  • fluency
  • swallowing
  • reading and writing skills
  • appropriate use of speech sounds

Some people may have a specific difficulty such as a stammer or a voice problem.

Others may have difficulty feeding, chewing and/ or swallowing.

Skills required

The clinical knowledge and expertise required is considerable and you will need an aptitude for academic study as well as for problem solving.

You must also be able to build good relationships with clients who might be severely impaired and distressed.

An ability to work well with other professionals and with clients' carers and family is also important.

Training programme

The Ulster University offers a BSc Hons Speech and Language Therapy undergraduate full-time three-year programme. Contact the university directly for the latest entry requirements.

All candidates are required to undergo a medical examination and a criminal records check.

Applications should be made through Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Career pathway

Most newly qualified speech and language therapists work with a general caseload for at least a year, usually with both adults and children. You may then choose a particular group of clients or type of clinical work in which to specialise.

There is a recognised promotional pathway within Health and Social Care.

Professional recognition

To practise in the UK as a speech and language therapist, application for registration with the professional regulator, the Health Professions Council (HPC) must be successful.

Graduates are also eligible to apply for the Certificate to Practise from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT).

Newly qualified therapists must complete a year of supervised practise before they are eligible to apply for full RCSLT certification.

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