How To Become A Speech Therapist: Explore Jobs & Career Paths

Speech therapist, an interesting quarter as a profession. Do you want to learn about this challenging yet virtuous job? Are you on the edge of your seat to become a speech therapist?  I guess this blog bangs your screen just on time.

Who Is A Speech Therapist?

Before diving in to ‘HOW’, we will take a glance at ‘WHO’

 

Yes, you guessed right. It’s evident though. Semantically, a speech therapist is a person who performs speech therapy.  They provide treatment to the patients experiencing speech and language disorders and communication lacking. 


As a speech-language therapist, your role is to treat babies, children, and adults having speech, language and communication problems, or complexities in swallowing, drinking or eating. You have to deal with physical and learning weaknesses, hearing loss, psychiatric disturbances or dementia, and could treat a chain of conditions, including cleft palate, stammering, language delay and voice disorders.

Specialised field

As a speech therapist, you will have to learn and expertise in the following fields of study:

  • Anatomy or Physiology or Neurology
  • Audiology
  • Phonetics
  • Linguistics
  • Psychology
  • Learning Dysfunctions
  • Child Development
  • Counselling
  • Senescence

Let’s hear it from the experienced speech therapist 

What Are The Responsibilities of A Speech Therapist?

Your daily tasks will defer as per your patients and their physical and mental states. However, your usual commitments may include:

  • Diagnose the type of speech and communication disorder of clients
  • Assess the causes and nature of the problem whether it is congenital (cleft lip or palate) or acquired (from stroke or other injuries).
  • Treat patients in a clinical setting
  • Linguistics
  • Psychology
  • Design and deliver treatment programs as per their needs
  • Work one to one or group basis to ensure the best possible outcomes
  • Collaborating with teachers for operating children at school
  • Work closely with other therapists, doctors, and others who are in touch with your clients.
  • Advise carer of your patients precisely on implementing treatment programs
  • Train other individuals in therapy delivery
  • Teach sign language to non-verbal patients
  • Weigh up and observe the progress
  • Sometimes you will get in touch with confidential clients. You have to maintain the secrecy of their case notes and reports

Oh my goodness! That’s a lot of duties!

 

Wait! It’s not finished yet! 

 

When you become a senior, you will have more tasks to do

 

  • Conduct an individual improvement analysis with the colleagues
  • Support and train newly qualified speech-language therapist
  • Handle clinical audit
  • Engage in research projects

See!! A heck of responsibilities!! I know you won’t get cold feet.  

Is Speech Therapist a Right Job for You?

Before going forward, I want you to ask you a few questions:

  • Do you really want to become a speech therapist?
  • Can you cope up with the stress level?
  • Are you okay with the turkeys that will come along with the success?
  • Do you hold enough kindness, empathy and compassion?
  • Do you want to be an unsung hero?
  • And lastly, do you have tons of patience?

I believe every answer is yes in your case! Now you can shout out loud!!

  • Conduct an individual improvement analysis with the colleagues
  • Support and train newly qualified speech-language therapist
  • Handle clinical audit
  • Engage in research projects

See!! A heck of responsibilities!! I know you won’t get cold feet.  

Is Speech Therapist a Right Job for You

How to Become a Speech Therapist

Now here comes the core section of the blog, the part you are here for. You don’t need to search on the internet randomly to collect info into pieces. By cutting the petty one, I have compiled necessary info for you.

1. Registration

For being a practitioner you have to be registered with the concerned authority as for the United Kingdom it is the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). For registration, you’ll require to complete an HCPC-approved undergraduate or postgraduate degree in speech and language therapy.

2. Education

You can acquire this job via :

A university degree

  • Health and Professions Council approved degree in speech and language therapy
  • 2-year fast-track postgraduate course in speech and language therapy if you have completed your bachelor in science or language-related subjects
  • 2-year fast-track postgraduate course in speech and language therapy if you have completed your bachelor in science or language-related subjects
  • Paid or voluntary experience in health or care sector
  • Entry conditions: 2 to 3 A levels, a degree in a relevant subject

An apprenticeship

  • You can get a speech and language therapist degree apprenticeship
  • Entry conditions: 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or A levels in college

Online Courses

A convenient way to become a speech therapist is to obtain an online degree. You can pursue your dream career by doing online courses.  Moreover, it saves time and penny at the same time as it takes not more than one year. 

 

Do you know what is the fun part? You can be a certified speech therapist sitting on your cosy couch and eating your favourite crisps!

3. Driving Licence

You will also need a driving licence in case you need to visit a client’s house. 

4. Secure a Job

Now you are all set to start your hunt for a job!

There are over 15,000 SLTs in the UK (RCSLT, 2018). You can start your quest by any of the mentioned employers below:

  • NHS Trusts
  • Hospitals (both indoor and outdoor dept.)
  • Clinics
  • Community Health and Day Care Centres
  • Schools
  • Charitable Organisations
  • Education and Social Services Departments
  • Prisons and Child Offenders’ foundations
  • Old age homes

If you are interested in lecturing and researching, you can also join in any relevant higher educational institutions.   

how to become a speech therapist -explore-jobs

Key Skills Required for Speech Therapists

Being a speech therapist is not an easy task. You have to acquire many skills to get your dream job. To make a solid ground beneath your feet, I’ve listed some key skills below:

Listening skill

You have to be an expert listener as you will spend most of your time listening and talking with people.

Communication

Your job mostly depends on communication. You have to convey tasks and therapy strategies to patients, their families, social workers, and others. Clear and direct verbal and non-verbal communication is an influential element of being a speech therapist.

Clinical forte

During your practicum as a speech therapist, you have to encounter hundreds of hours of clinical experience. You learn how to diagnose and heal different speech, language and hearing disorders and use these clinical arts on a daily basis.

Foreign language

Eloquence in a foreign language or sign language can also help you find a better job place. The necessity and priority of second language fluency will depend on the job location and whereabouts.

Patience

This is the first and foremost skill that you have to adopt. It is a must for a speech therapist. You will help patients change the ways in which they speak, swallow, hear and many more. Some patients need longer time to cure and some will not show improvement at all. As a speech therapist, you will confront patients of different dimensions, they are special. So you have to be patient and be positive all the time.

Benevolence

Your task is to help others. So you have to be kind and compassionate. You will work with people of different ages, from toddlers to old-timers. They need a warm, friendly person to supervise them throughout the speech therapy process.

Creativity and problem-solving skills

You will display your creativity by providing an interesting and appropriate program design. While continuing your designed treatment several problems will come to your path, quick thinking and problem-solving skill are required.    

You have to foster other skills also as such: 

  • Interpersonal Skills
  • IT
  • Flexibility
  • Empathy, Assertiveness, Perception, and a Sense of Humour
  • Physical and Mental Stamina
  • Teamwork

Speech Therapists’ Working Hours

The average working hours for a speech therapist is 38 to 40 hours per week. Your typical work time could be from 8 am to 6 pm. But it doesn’t limit here! Sometimes you need to work overtime as per your patient demands. Also, to suit client’s needs you may have to work during weekends or even in the evening. 

 

However, there are chances for flexible or part-time work and job sharing. 

how to become a spech therapist-working-hours

Career Extent

Day by day you will advance in your professional path by gathering experiences. With these, you can be specialised in sectors like

  • Children with exceptional educational needs
  • Dysphagia which is a disorder in swallowing, drinking and eating.
  • Teaching
  • Research

If you assemble enough skill, you can also become self-employed by practising on your own! 

Speech Therapists’ Average Salary in the UK

You are probably thinking about the remuneration! Of course, it’s the sweetest part of any job! 

 

Average Speech-Language Therapist reward in the United Kingdom is  £25,766 per year. 

 

The National Health Service payment rates usually comprise 9 pay scales. A newly qualified SLT your starting salary is likely to be £23,023 (Band 5), advancing the pay band to £29,608. 

 

When you become a specialist, yearly you can make roughly £28,050 and £36,644 (Band 6).

 

Typical salaries for superior or highly specialised SLTs range from £33,222 to £43,041 (Band 7). Some management roles such as Head of Children’s Therapies, you can attract more high-priced salaries at Band 8. 

 

All these rates are stated by the Agenda for Change (AFC) Pay Rates.  

 

To get a clear vision I am providing a graph that depicts the Pay by Experience Level for Speech-Language Therapists. 

Speech Therapists’ Average Salary in the UK

Blimey! This is more than enough to lead a healthy and luxurious life! Now I am thinking of being a speech therapist also!

Professional Enhancements

After qualifying for the job, you will spend a year under supervision. You will work as a new practitioner towards the Royal Challenge of Speech and Language Therapist (RCSLT) to become a certified member of RCSLT. 

 

You will get a range of courses and seminars in domains such as:

  • Children facing severe language difficulties
  • Adult neurology
  • Dysphagia
  • Clinical effectiveness

You will be engaged with other Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities including the observation of other therapists’ practice, reflective exercise, peer reflection of performance, case discussion and video interpretation.

Is SLT A Good Career Choice?

Currently, 10,524 registered speech and language therapists practising throughout the UK. Majority of them work within the NHS. Others serve in education services or charities. 

 

You know what? Still, there is a shortage of registered speech therapist. So you can tell this is a high demanding platform. You will find the advertisement for job vacancies in every fortnight. Moreover, due to the increasing environmental pollution, food adulteration and social isolation practice, people especially children are facing speech and language-related disorders. 

 

If you consider this scenario, you can see that there is a bright future waiting for you in this sector.  

 

To get a crystal clear concept, look at the figure below:

Is it a stressful job?

The answer is yes! 

 

It may be tremendously rewarding but you have to bear a lot of stress also. It is way more challenging than your imagination. Working within the demands of a busy caseload and ever-expanding waiting lists is no mean feat. 

 

Apart from this, you want to treat your patients with everything they need. But you have to serve them with little time and resources which hinders the quality of your service. It is frustrating and demoralising at the same time.

 

Hey! You are not Harry Potter, neither this is a wizarding world! Yet you have a magic wand named patience. With your spells, you can surely destroy the devil of stress! Also, the kids will transfer their joy and peace to you! 

A Good Person Makes The Best SLT

"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care"
Roosevelt quote
Theodore Roosevelt
Former American Statesman

Empathy, compassion and kindness are the fundamental characteristics of a speech therapist. Be a good person by heart, show your patients that you care for them. So that you can be one of the best among all the professionals in this sector.

Final Notes

I intend to enlighten you with the necessary info and make you more motivated towards this job. I expect that now you have all the basic knowledge regarding how to become a speech therapist. 

 

So, build your career in a worthy and dramatic profession. Step on the floor. 

 

You will do great! I believe in you!

August 27, 2020

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