Becoming an SLT assistant/support worker

There are many opportunities to work as speech and language therapy assistants/support workers or bilingual co-workers.

They have qualified speech and language therapists to direct them in:

  • supporting clients to develop communication skills
  • developing and preparing therapy materials.

Many also support and facilitate group activities with individual clients.

Bilingual co-workers deliver speech and language therapy services to individuals in the language of their choice. Speech and language therapists train then to undertake a variety of roles, including, taking a case history in a client's or carer's home language and interpreting information between a client or carer and a speech and language therapist.

This work can take place in:

  • community health centres
  • hospitals
  • mainstream and special schools
  • assessment units and day centres.

The National Health Service employs most assistants/support workers. Others work for education services or charities.

There are no formal educational or age requirements, although relevant skills, experience or qualifications from other areas can be beneficial.

Training is often given on the job and you may have the chance to complete an NVQ or BTEC qualification, or even a foundation degree course.

There is strong competition for assistant posts. Jobs are advertised in local newspapers and job centres. Your local health service should be able to provide the contact details of the speech and language therapy services in your area.

Assistants and bilingual co-workers who support the delivery of speech and language therapy can join the RCSLT as associate members.

RCSLT's standards for working with SLT support practitioners (March 2003)
This document sets out a standards framework, applicable to all areas of practice, which can be used to assist in the development of local policies around the training and employment of SLT support practitioners.

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