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This page is for those interested in a career as a speech and language therapy support worker (SW).

Speech and language therapy support workers help support people who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking or swallowing.

Job titles

There is a considerable variety in job titles, across locations and settings. RCSLT is not addressing this at present. For consistency the term support worker and support workforce is used to refer to all levels within this group in this guidance and throughout the resources included and developed by the RCSLT. Please note, these terms refer to speech and language therapy support workers and speech and language therapy support workforce in the context of the RCSLT website (not speech and language therapist support workers).

These pages are currently under development.  A completed version of this Framework and resources will be available in March 2023 when we will launch and promote it extensively.

Your career as a SW

This information is for those interested in a career as a speech and language therapy support worker.

Speech and language therapy support workers help support people who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking or swallowing.

The RCSLT YouTube channel gives information about how speech and language therapy transforms lives. There is a specific focus on careers and diversity on the channel.

General careers information

The NHS provides information about healthcare support worker roles generally and a focus on a career as a support worker.

A career as a SW

Find specific information about being a SW on the NHS Careers website and National Careers Service.

Working alongside SLTs

As a SW you will work alongside and be supervised by SLTs. You may find the information for those considering a career as an SLT interesting.

There are some informative video interviews with SLTs at an early stage in their careers to give insight into their training and development.


When considering a career as a SW you might find volunteering can help you to gain insight into speech and language therapy roles.

You might find it useful to approach charities involved with different clinical areas. To find these, please visit the clinical areas section of the website and then look for information under ‘Key organisations’.

If you’re a student, could also ask whether your university runs a community volunteer scheme.

What clinical areas would I work in?

SWs work in a wide variety of clinical areas, the same as speech and language therapists.

Find out more and explore our open-access clinical information about these individual clinical areas.

Learning and development

Once employed in a role all SWs are supported in developing job specific competencies. There is usually emphasis on work based learning, with formal training opportunities, eg short courses to supplement learning.


Health Education England (HEE) has developed the AHP Support Worker Competency, Education and Career Development Framework (PDF). This framework was developed by King’s College London, working with HEE and AHP professional bodies and provides guidance on training, education and competencies for AHP support workers, including speech and language therapy support workers. There is a route for progression in this career, with clearly identified common and transferrable skills across eight learning domains.

The RCSLT adapted this framework to create the Support Worker Professional Competency Development Framework (PCDF).

Following core competencies, the PCDF gives a structure for SWs to develop more specific skills in their professional area of speech and language therapy.

Becoming a registered SLT

Many SWs stay in this role and build skills and expertise, moving in their career to become a senior, specialist or advanced practitioner.

Others may move on to train as a registered SLT, eg as an apprentice. Read about some of the different routes SWs have taken to become SLTs.

Your membership benefits

Speech and language therapy Support Workers (SW) are entitled to a range of benefits as part of their member registration, including:

Position statement

The SW position statement explores current themes in the development of this crucial role in the speech and language therapy workforce.

It introduces the RCSLT PCDF (Support Worker Professional Competency Development Framework) and reinforces some key messages for speech and language therapy managers in relation to supporting initial training and ongoing development in the role.

Download the SW position statement (PDF)

External and joint guidance

These links provide information on national developments and additional resources:


Lead author: Ruth Howes

Supporting authors:

  • Breege McCaughey
  • Samantha Thinnesen
  • Kathryn Brown
  • Tamson Chipperfield
  • Charlotte McCollum
  • Angela Moar
  • Kirsty Paton
  • Lucie Atkins
  • Lorna Ringer
  • Monica Rodriguez
  • Clare Jewkes
  • Carly Hartshorn
  • Alice Howells
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