This guidance is for higher education institutions (HEIs) providing speech and language therapy courses. It includes information on HCPC standards of education and training, practice-based learning, course accreditation, and more.

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HCPC standards of education and training

All courses providing pre-registration education in speech and language therapy need to meet the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) standards of education and training.

Curriculum guidance

The RCSLT envisages that all future new graduate SLTs will possess not only the distinctive skill set required to transform the lives of individuals with speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties, but also the capability to continue to develop transferable skills to lead change, evaluate, improve and evidence the impact of their contribution.

Graduates must be able to recognise and articulate the role that speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties play in and the ways in which SLTs can work for the benefit of individuals, communities and populations in emerging practice areas.

The RCSLT calls on all members (wherever they practise) to work in partnership to develop tomorrow’s practitioners and help secure the long-term future success of the profession.

Pre-registration education of speech and language therapists should facilitate the development and attainment of:

  • A level of academic and clinical capability on completion of an approved qualification that is fit for professional practice
  • The capacity to continue to develop personal and professional skills within the community of SLT practitioners and the broader community of health, education and social care practitioners.

The curriculum guidance provides a blueprint to support and guide educational leaders and partners in developing degree-level entry routes to the speech and language therapy profession using the five RCSLT core capabilities:  communication, partnerships, leadership and lifelong learning, research and evidence-based practice, and professional autonomy and accountability.

RCSLT curriculum guidance 2021

Download the 2021 curriculum guidance (PDF)

The RCSLT curriculum guidance was revised in 2021 to incorporate changes as a result of the introduction of speech and language therapy apprenticeships and the competencies in eating, drinking, and swallowing for the pre-registration education of SLTs.

It has been written for educators, employers, practitioners, learners, service users and other organisations with an interest in speech and language therapy education.

The guidance facilitates the beginning of the speech and language therapy learning journey and is designed to transition seamlessly into the newly qualified practitioner period, which will continue to support speech and language therapists to develop as autonomous practitioners beyond initial training.

There are four parts, which are underpinned by the five core capabilities:

  • Part one: Introduction
  • Part two: RCSLT five core capabilities guiding the development of the speech and language therapy workforce
  • Part three: Guidance for development and delivery of pre-registration courses leading to registration of speech and language therapists
  • Part four: Guidance on curriculum content

For more information, please contact us.

Practice-based learning

The RCSLT views pre-registration learning as a collective agreement between academic tutors, clinical practice educators and clinical managers to develop the transformative potential and transferable distinctive skill set of speech and language therapy learners.

Improving the health and wellbeing of individuals with speech, language and swallowing needs depends on learners, academic tutors and clinical practice educators working together effectively at the pre-registration stage with the shared vision of enabling the future profession to meet the evolving needs of the people who use speech and language therapy services.

Further information

The RCSLT guidance on the disabled student experience (2024) covers the support which students should expect to receive from their course and placement providers in regards to their disability. It also clearly states the legal responsibilities for HEI and placement educators and encourages creating an anti-ableist, inclusive culture.

Read the guidance on the disabled student experience during training

Students and the continuing professional development (CPD) diary

Students are encouraged to use the online CPD diary, although this is not mandatory.

Students may find it useful to use the CPD diary as part of their reflective learning and record their placement education.

Once they graduate they will need to use the CPD diary to complete the NQP framework so it is useful for them to familiarise themselves with the platform and start recording CPD activities as soon as they can.

Accreditation of pre-registration courses

The RCSLT accredits pre-registration speech and language therapy courses.

Education providers holding a valid RCSLT accreditation letter are invited to display the RCSLT logo on their programme documentation.

See our information on the accreditation process for more details.


The RCSLT is actively supporting the development of apprenticeships, as they relate to speech and language therapy.

Visit our apprenticeships pages for:

  • Guidance for employers and universities
  • Advice for prospective apprentices
  • RCSLT policy position statement
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Business case template
  • RCSLT webinar

Annual corporate membership fee

Higher education institutions who run RCSLT accredited pre-registration speech and language therapy programmes pay an annual corporate membership fee to RCSLT. 

Your corporate membership fee helps support a number of areas of work undertaken by the RCSLT including: 

  • accreditation of pre-registration speech and language therapy programmes 
  • promotion of these programmes to prospective students through our website, enquiries service and other media 
  • workforce planning & influencing in partnership with HEIs 
  • professional guidance & support including developing curriculum guidelines 
  • partnership working with HEIs, CREST, admissions tutors and placement leads 
  • representation on the Professional Body Education Leads group for pre- and post-registration learning issues
  • supporting students through a variety of means including an annual student event, development of e-learning resources, online student hub, EDI work and a dedicated student member newsletter 
  • student leadership and research placements 
  • student prizes e.g. IJLCD student prize, RCSLT conference highest scoring student abstract 
  • informing and engaging with the research agenda 

The HEI corporate membership year runs from August to July to reflect the academic year.  You will be contacted by the finance team at the start of the academic year to arrange payment. 

Please contact to find out more.

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