The RCSLT accredits pre-registration undergraduate and postgraduate degree-level entry routes to the speech and language therapy profession, including apprenticeships, in the UK. Find out more about RCSLT accreditation.
About RCSLT accreditation
RCSLT’s accreditation process assesses pre-registration programmes against the 2021 Curriculum Guidance (PDF) which provides a blueprint to support and guide programme providers and partners in developing and delivering pre-registration programmes. It articulates the professional and educational expectations for speech and language therapy learners and new graduates, using the RCSLT five core capabilities (PDF).
RCSLT’s accreditation process ensures that pre-registration programmes:
- Meet the education expectations set by the RCSLT.
- Are responsive to current and predicted local and national issues which may affect the profession.
- Produce graduates who are fit for academic award and professional practice.
RCSLT accreditation is usually granted for a five-year period. We are committed to the ‘least burden’ principle and will seek to align our requirements and processes with those of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the education provider’s internal quality assurance processes.
For more information on the accreditation process, see our guidance for:
Pre-registration eating, drinking and swallowing (EDS) competencies
By 2026 all pre-registration graduates will need to achieve the pre-registration EDS competencies. During the accreditation/reaccreditation process HEI’s will be asked to complete a supplementary document detailing how they plan to meet these competencies. Once this document is completed it does not need to be resubmitted during future reaccreditations unless there are major changes to the course.
Benefits of accreditation
Benefits for programme providers
- Inclusion in the approved programmes list for the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA).
- The opportunity, via CREST membership, to actively participate in the review of RCSLT’s Curriculum Guidance (PDF) and other related processes and resources.
- Free RCSLT student membership for all learners and induction of learner cohorts to the profession.
- All newly produced RCSLT policy and guidance documents sent to the programme lead.
- Access to RCSLT resources which support academic staff and placement providers/ practice educators involved in the provision of practice-based learning in all settings.
Benefits for learners/graduates
Learners enrolled in accredited pre-registration programmes receive free RCSLT student membership. This links learners to professional practice from the outset, thus easing their transition to the workforce.
RCSLT student membership has the following benefits:
- Professional indemnity insurance
- Access to the International Journal of Language & Communication disorders (IJLCD) and to the RCSLT’s magazine Bulletin magazine
- Full access to the RCSLT website, including member-only content
- Access to practice and research resources
- Discounted rates for some events, study days, conferences, and publications
- Opportunities to engage with RCSLT regional or local groups and working groups
Graduates from an RCSLT-accredited programme will hold a qualification recognised in any MRA member country.
Benefits for the wider profession
- RCSLT’s accreditation process sets mutual expectations for the curriculum and practice-based learning, thus supporting parity in relation to the knowledge, skills, and attributes of the future workforce, and ensuring preparedness for delivery of high-quality practice.
Definitions for key terms used throughout our accreditation guidance.
An alternative entry route into the speech and language therapy profession, where learners can achieve a full bachelor’s or master’s degree as part of their apprenticeship. Education providers remain the awarding bodies for the award and therefore have responsibility to deliver education that aligns with the RCSLT Curriculum Guidance.
Commendations are observations made by the education representative to highlight areas of good practice within the programme. Commendations can be made alongside conditions and recommendations. They do not affect accreditation.
Conditions are requirements the programme must meet before it can be accredited or have re-accreditation confirmed. Conditions are set when the education representative reports insufficient evidence of alignment with some key aspects of the Curriculum Guidance. The RCSLT will work with the programme provider to ensure that the conditions are met within an agreed timescale.
The Committee of Representatives of Education in Speech and Language Therapy (CREST) promotes collaboration between education providers and influences RCSLT education policy. All education providers of RCSLT-accredited programmes are invited to join CREST.
A critical friend provides support and guidance to the programme team by highlighting areas of good practice, identifying how the pre-registration programme addresses the RCSLT Curriculum Guidance and challenging areas which may require review. Support may be offered through mentorship and advice.
The learning outcomes; curriculum design, organisation, and content; student learning, teaching and assessment principles and methods, including clinical education; learning resources that support all the above.
This term includes both undergraduate and postgraduate pre-registration programmes and apprenticeship entry routes to speech and language therapy
The awarding body that delivers or oversees a speech and language therapy pre-registration programme. Education providers may also be known as ‘higher education institutions’ (HEIs) or ‘universities’.
An RCSLT education representative is a professional member of the RCSLT, registered with HCPC, who has experience in pre-registration speech and language therapy education and practice. The RCSLT will seek to identify any significant conflicts of interest before an education representative is allocated to a specific education provider.
See our accreditation information for education representatives.
An individual who has successfully met the pre-registration programme requirements of their education provider and has been conferred the associated award.
The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the regulating body in the UK established to protect the public by regulating a range of health and care professions, including speech and language therapy.
This term refers to all learners undertaking a degree-level entry route to the profession. It includes students on a full or part-time university course and those undertaking an apprenticeship.
Mutual recognition agreement
The Mutual Recognition Agreement is an arrangement between the RCSLT and five other professional associations from English-speaking countries: the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Republic of Ireland. Employers in MRA countries know that graduates from an RCSLT-accredited pre-registration programme have completed speech and language therapy education and training of a similar standard to their own SLTs.
Partners means people, organisations or services that work with a programme provider to support the pre-registration education of its learners (eg, placement providers, employers of apprentices)
A speech and language therapy programme of study, approved by the HCPC, leading to eligibility to apply for registration as a speech and language therapist with the HCPC. The term is inclusive of all pre-registration undergraduate and postgraduate degree-level entry routes into the profession, including apprenticeship pre-registration pathways.
The collection of documents prepared by the programme provider and submitted to the RCSLT as a key part of the accreditation process. The programme documentation should demonstrate how the pre-registration programme aligns with RCSLT Curriculum Guidance. The term ‘documentation’ includes written submission and notes from discussions with stakeholders at meetings or a visit.
Programme providers develop and deliver pre-registration speech and language therapy programmes within an education provider. They have responsibility for curriculum design and content. They may work in partnership with other organisations (eg, employers of apprentices).
- A new programme provider is a programme provider that does not currently provide any RCSLT-accredited pre-registration speech and language therapy programmes.
- An existing programme provider is a programme provider that currently provides an RCSLT-accredited pre-registration programme.
See our accreditation information for programme providers.
This term refers to all those directly involved in the development, delivery, and evaluation of the pre-registration programme. This includes staff employed by the education provider to teach the pre-registration programme, the administrative and support staff, service users who contribute to the programme.
Recommendations are observations made by the education representative to highlight areas of the programme that would benefit from development, but that do not materially affect alignment with the Curriculum Guidance. The aim is to encourage further enhancements, and/or to support the programme team in internal discussions (eg, about resourcing). Recommendations do not need to be met before the programme is granted accreditation or re-accreditation.
Significant changes are any, and only, changes that might impact on a programme meeting the RCSLT Curriculum Guidance, ie change which falls under SET 4 Curriculum in the HCPC’s Standards of Education and Training.