How can I become an SLT?

All speech and language therapists must complete a recognised three- or four-year degree programme and register with the Health Professions Council before being able to practise.

Programmes combine academic study and practice/clinical placements. Most require three A-level passes or five Scottish highers as minimum entry qualifications. Some require specific GCSE and A-levels, such as English and biology, so check the entry requirements with each university.

Many programmes welcome applications from suitably-qualified mature students. Universities may require evidence of recent study. If you already have an honours or equivalent degree, you may be eligble to enter a two-year postgraduate qualifying programme. Subjects in related fields (for example, psychology, social sciences and linguistics) are often preferred.

Overseas applicants should have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of no less than grade 8 overall, with no element below grade 7.5.

The practical components of the programmes are very important. These may take place in schools, NHS hospitals and community health clinics and develop skills in the assessment and treatment of people with communication, eating drinking and swallowing problems. 

Should I become a speech and language therapist?

If you're wondering whether speech and language therapy is the career choice for you ask yourself if you:

  • enjoy working with people of all ages
  • can work as part of a team
  • have good listening and communication skills
  • enjoy solving problems
  • have the capacity to study
  • want to be part of a dynamic, rapidly developing profession which draws on science, education and medicine.

It is worth visiting your local speech and language therapists. Your local health service can put you in contact with your nearest speech and language therapy service, which may organise group visits, video presentations or open evenings. Your local careers service can also provide information.

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