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

Entry requirements and training for speech and language therapy

The minimum academic entry requirements for approved degree programmes in speech and language therapy a minimum of five GCSEs passes (or equivalent) and two A levels, or three Scottish Higher passes, however most universities may require three A levels or four Scottish Highers.

The universities normally specify some GCSE subjects such as English language, biological or other science, maths or a foreign language. One or more particular A level subjects may also be specified.

Alternative qualifications are also considered, for example access courses.

Applications are welcome from applicants who left full time study some time ago,  but they will usually need to provide evidence of recent academic study and/or relevant experience at an appropriate level.

For graduates with a relevant first degree, there are accelerated masters and postgraduate diploma programmes in speech and language therapy available at some universities.

Along with the academic qualifications, applicants will need to have the following:

  • good communication and listening skills
  • good problem solving abilities
  • the capacity for study
  • you enjoy working with people of all ages and with members of other professions
  • you want to be part of a dynamic, rapidly developing professions which draw on science, education and medicine.

All prospective candidates should check entry requirements with each university running the course before applying.

Training

To practice as a speech and language therapist, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Click here for more information about HCPC registration. 

In order to register with the HCPC, you must successfully complete an HCPC-approved programme in speech and language therapy which is offered by a number of universities.

These are offered at undergraduate degree (full-time and part-time) and at postgraduate degree/diploma level.

Undergraduate degree courses

Most speech and language therapy students will do a three or four year full-time degree or honours degree course.

The courses will include a balance of both theoretical and practical components. The theoretical components will include:

  • lectures and seminars in language pathology and therapeutics
  • speech and language sciences
  • behavioural sciences
  • biomedical sciences
  • education
  • acoustics
  • research
  • methodology and statistics
  • psychology
  • sociology
  • professional issues.

The practical components of the course will give the student the opportunity to apply the theory to practice and to develop their clinical skills by working with a variety of patients in a range of work settings under the supervision of qualified speech and language therapists.

Applications for degree programmes are administered by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Two year (full time) accelerated courses

These courses are for people who have graduated in other disciplines and wish to qualify as a speech and language therapist. These courses will lead to either a post graduate diploma or a masters degree.

You can get a list of all universities offering HCPC-approved programmes in speech and language therapy by using our coursefinder. You can also get a list of approved courses by visiting the HCPC website

Financial support

For information about financial support whilst taking a course in speech and language therapy, please click here.