NHS Careers > Explore by career > Allied health professions > Careers in the allied health professions > Speech and language therapist

Speech and language therapist

Speech and language therapists (SLT) assess and treat speech, language and communication problems in people of all ages to help them better communicate. They'll also work with people who have eating and swallowing problems.

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Using specialist skills, you'll work directly with clients and provide them and their carers with support. You'll also work closely with teachers and other health professionals, such as doctors, nurses and psychologists.

SLTs assist children and adults who have the following types of problems:

  • difficulty producing and using speech
  • difficulty understanding language
  • difficulty using language
  • difficulty with feeding, chewing or swallowing
  • a stammer
  • a voice problem.

These problems may have been caused by a range of diseases and disabilities:

  • stroke
  • learning disability
  • neurological disorders e.g. Parkinson's disease
  • cancer of the mouth and throat
  • head injury
  • hearing loss and deafness
  • cleft palate
  • dementia.

A variety of settings

SLTs work in number of different settings, including:

  • hospitals
  • community health centres
  • mainstream and special schools
  • assessment units and day centres
  • clients' homes.
Entry requirements and training

Information on entry requirements and training to become a speech and language therapist.

Career prospects

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

More information about furthering your career in speech and language therapy

Working as a speech and language therapy assistant

There are opportunities to work as an assistant within speech and language therapy. Staff working in a support role at a more advanced level may be known as an assistant practitioner.

How to apply for job vacancies

Once you have completed a pre-registration programme in speech and language therapy and have registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, you will normally be in a position to apply for jobs.

Job vacancies for speech and language therapists and speech and language therapy assistants are advertised in a range of places. Most trusts will advertise their vacancies on the NHS Jobs. Some will also advertise in trade journals and on trust websites.

Further information

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
2 White Hart Yard

Tel: 020 7378 1200
Fax: 020 7403 7254
Email: info@rcslt.org.uk
Website: www.rcslt.org.uk