Returning to the profession

The RCSLT is keen to encourage therapists who have been on career breaks to return to working as part time or full time SLTs.

Please note:

The Return to Practice Distance Learning course is currently being updated and will be available from September 2013.

Please download and read:
Frequently Asked Questions (97.8kb pdf)

Information on the HPC returner to practise regulations can be found on this HPC web page. We strongly advise you to contact HPC to advise them that you intend to return to practise.


Your RCSLT membership status when you return to work?

If you have been out of practice for more than two years, apply to become a 'returner' RCSLT member, whether you work part-time or full-time, for one year and transfer to the full membership list again.


Informal email group for returners

The RCSLT has started an informal email group for people who are returning to practise. If you would like to be added to this group, please contact



Feedback from some of our members who are currently returning to practice have asked us to publicise some key information about taking a career break.

What is a career break?

If you do not practice for more than two years you will need to complete the HPC returning to practice process.

Is it easy to get back into the profession after a break?

With the current financial climate, it is likely to be a challenging time for returners to practice who need extra supervision/support from employers and who are competing with SLTs who have not had a career break. HPC rules state that a returner to practice cannot use the Speech and Language Therapist protected title until they have completed the returning to practice process and are back on the HPC register.

What advice can you give?

A tip suggested by the RCSLT Returners to practice forum is to ideally avoid lapsing your HPC registration. According to the HPC you can still be considered practising as long as you continue to undertake CPD and practice even a small amount per year. Please see below for their definition:

 Defining ‘practising your profession’

We have received a number of enquiries from health professionals who are concerned that their practice may not ‘count’ as ‘practising their profession’. The largest number of these enquiries were from health professionals working in education, management or research, which we have always assured registrants is part of practice. However, we have also received a number of enquiries from people who work on a voluntary basis, or do occasional part-time work, or who have moved into a role that is related to their profession, but not directly part of it.

We do not want to exclude people from the Register who work in these kinds of newer roles, or people who are using their professional skills in some capacity but are worried that they will not be considered to be ‘practising their profession’ in a traditional, direct way. We also believe that in many cases the person best placed to decide whether someone is practising their profession will be the health professional themselves. For the purposes of renewing registration, or determining whether return to practice requirements need to be met, we have defined ‘practising your profession’ as drawing on your professional skills and/or knowledge in the course of your work. You will need to make a personal decision about whether you are doing this.”

Does maternity leave count as a career break?

Maternity leave that is under two years would not be considered a career break. If it is over two years then we would recommend contacting the HPC to discuss your individual case. Please see this page on maternity leave and CPD:

Any further questions?

If you have further questions about returning to practice or wish to join the FREE RCSLT Returning to Practice online e-group please contact

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