Speech and language therapist

Speech and language therapists help children and adults who have communication problems, or difficulties with eating, drinking or swallowing.

Annual Salary

£22,000 to £41,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

Future employment

There will be 6% more Speech and language therapist jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You'll work with children and adults who may have:

  • difficulties making themselves understood through speech
  • problems understanding and using language
  • a stammer
  • difficulties with feeding, chewing or swallowing

These challenges may be as a result of injury, stroke, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, mental health problems or a learning difficulty.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • talking to clients, observing them and using tests to assess specific difficulties
  • planning and developing therapy programmes
  • supporting clients through treatment
  • working closely with colleagues like doctors and teachers
  • coaching parents and carers to continue their therapy at home
  • keeping detailed progress records
  • working with groups or individuals to improve the way they communicate

You'll need a degree in speech and language therapy or human communication that's approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

If you've a degree in a science or language-based subject, you could do a 2-year fast-track postgraduate course in speech and language therapy.

For some roles you'll need to visit clients in their homes, so you'll need a driving licence.

You may be able to get NHS funding to pay for your course fees and help with your living expenses.

£22,000 to £41,000

Starter salary: £22,000 and £28,000

Experienced salary: £26,000 and £35,000

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

You'll work around 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday.

You'll usually work in a hospital’s therapy department, running a clinic and visiting patients on wards. You could also work in a health centre, day nursery or school. You may visit patients in their home.

With experience, you could specialise in areas like:

  • helping children with special educational needs
  • helping eating, drinking and swallowing disorders (dysphagia)

With further training, you could move into teaching and research. You could also become self-employed.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • excellent communication and listening skills
  • the ability to create positive working relationships with clients of all ages
  • creativity, to turn therapy into a game when working with children
  • the ability to motivate and encourage clients to continue with treatment
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