Speech and language therapy is an exciting, flexible profession with many career paths and clinical areas. Find out whether it could be the right career for you.

You’ll have the opportunity to work with people of all ages who have communication and swallowing difficulties. Whether it’s helping an adult who has had a stroke learn to talk again, or helping premature babies with feeding and swallowing problems, speech and language therapists (SLTs) make a huge difference to the people they work with. During the COVID-19 pandemic, SLTs have played a vital role in rehabilitation and supporting patients who have had COVID-19. Learn more about the role of SLTs during the pandemic.

Working with children and young people

You could support children and young people with:

  • Developmental delay
  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Hearing loss
  • Learning disabilities
  • Developmental language disorder
  • Selective mutism
  • ADHD and autism
  • Brain injury
  • Selective mutism
  • Mental health problems
  • Speech sound disorder
  • Stammer

Want to learn more about the work of paediatric SLTs? Watch this video about Lucy, a student SLT, and check out these video stories from Vanessa and Shafaq.

Working with adults

You could support adults with:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Motor neurone disease
  • Brain injury
  • Hearing loss
  • Learning disabilities
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Autism
  • Stammer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Mental health problems
  • Dementia

Want to learn more about the work of adult SLTs? Watch this video about Claire, an SLT working in a hospital, and check out these video stories from Ilyeh and Jackie.

You could even go on to become a university lecturer.

Want to learn more about an academic career path? Watch Sean’s video story, and hear from the speech and language therapy course team at Leeds Beckett University about why they wanted to become SLTs.

Where do SLTs work?

There’s no such thing as a typical day for an SLT. You might work as part of a multidisciplinary team or as a private practitioner in any number of settings, such as:

  • Hospitals in emergency care, acute care and outpatients
  • Schools
  • Prisons
  • Secure units
  • Child development centres
  • Care homes
  • Nurseries
  • Your own speech and language therapy business
  • Day centres for people with learning disabilities
  • Community clinics
  • Client’s homes

In these settings, there are a wide variety of roles you could play. You might:

  • Help a patient who has had a stroke learn to speak again.
  • Help a baby struggling to feed learn how to swallow.
  • Help a person with motor neurone disease speak through a communication aid.
  • Support families to communicate with a family member who’s had a traumatic brain injury.
  • Help someone with a mental health condition like schizophrenia understand what’s happening to them.
  • Assess and support a young offender in accessing talking therapies to develop their understanding of the justice system.
  • Provide training to staff in a residential home to support the communication in individuals with learning disabilities.
  • Support someone who is non-verbal in making meaningful choices that affect their lives, from deciding what they want to wear to where they want to go.
  • Help a young person with autism develop the skills to form friendships at school.

Want to learn more about a day in the life of an SLT?

Check out the virtual reality film from Health Education England (HEE). Created with input from SLTs and the RCSLT, the video covers a good range of settings and service users to give a vivid insight into the profession. It was filmed both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The video can be viewed with or without a virtual reality headset.

If you have a bit more time, watch this panel discussion on a career in speech and language therapy.

Still not sure if speech and language therapy is for you?

Ask yourself if you enjoy:

  • Working with people of all ages and from all backgrounds
  • Bringing together science, education, social sciences, languages, linguistics and medicine
  • Working as part of a team
  • Listening and communicating with people
  • Solving problems
  • Being responsible and accountable for your work
  • Always learning new things and being creative
  • Leading a team

If you answered yes to any of the above, speech and language therapy could be a great fit for you.

Explore routes into speech and language therapy

University degrees

Find out how to study a university-based course

Apprenticeships

Find out if an apprenticeship is right for you

Apply for a degree

Read our tips on applying for university