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:
Working with adults
You could support adults with:
You could even go on to become a university lecturer.
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:
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.