Speech and Language Therapists work with people who have speech, language and swallowing difficulties. Most SLT's work within the NHS in a range of settings:
- Community Health Centres
- Mainstream Schools
- Schools for children with special needs
- Care homes
- Clients own homes
SLT's work with people with a range of problems, for example: stroke survivors, parkinsons disease, neurologic disease, children with speech sound disorders, language delay, dyspraxia, motor speech disorders, voice disorders, cleft palate, dysphagia (swallowing difficulties), hearing impaired, laryngeal cancer, lung disease, head injury, selective mutism, tourettes, stuttering/dysfluency, dyslexia, autism, downs syndrome, cerebal palsy, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis etc etc
PLEASE NOTE that this is only examples of clients that we work with --- there are many, if not hundreds more!
The course combines both lecture/seminar-based learning and clinical placements to give Speech and Language Therapy students a rounded experience and training. It is recommended by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and the Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists (IASLT) that students have a minimum of 450 hours in lectures/seminars with qualified lecturers and tutors.
Different universities will choose which modules they will teach, and which modules to put more emphasis on. Disregarding any modules that are optional, specialist or only taught regionally, here is a list of modules taught at most institutions in the UK and Ireland:
- Biomedical Sciences
- Child Development
- Learning Disabilities
- Acquired Disorders
- Research Methods
- Professional Studies/Evidence Based Practice/Clinical Studies
Placements will vary by institution, area of the UK and how many settings in that area are willing to take students. It is, however, recommended that students do at least 150 hours of placement before they graduate. Placements are marked to determine the student's ability to keep informative and organised work reports and how well they interact with patients/clients (the latter is marked with input from the student's placement supervisor, usually a qualified speech and language therapist).
The types of examination that Speech and Language Therapy students will be required to do also varies from university to university. Institutions formally examine knowledge and ability in the form of coursework and exams, some universities choosing one or the other, but most use a combination of both.
There are 16 (previously 15) institutions in the UK that provide a BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy degree course, which lasts 3, 3.5 or 4 years:
Birmingham City University (C25) (3 Years)
City University, London (C60) (4 Years)
De Montfort University, Leicester (D26) (Human Communication - Speech and Language Therapy) (3.5 Years)
Leeds Metropolitan University (L27) (Clinical Language Sciences) (3 Years)
Manchester Metropolitan University (M40) (Speech Pathology and Therapy) (3 Years) (Psychology and Speech Pathology(Double Honours)) (4 Years)
University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (N21) (Speech and Language Sciences) (4 Years)
Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh (Q25) (4 Years)
University College London (U80) (Speech Sciences) (4 Years)
University College of St Mark and St John, Plymouth (P63) (3.5 Years)
University of East Anglia, Norwich (E14) (3 Years)
University of Manchester (M20) (4 Years)
University of Reading (R12) (4 Years)
University of Sheffield (S18) (BMedSci Speech) (4 Years)
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (S78) (Speech and Language Pathology) (4 Years)
University of Ulster, at Jordanstown (U20) (Speech and Language Pathology) (3 Years)
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (C20) (4 Years)
And a further 3 of the Republic of Ireland:
National University of Ireland, Galway (4 Years)
Trinity College, Dublin (Clinical Speech and Language Studies) (4 Years)
University College Cork (4 Years)
The courses at the above institutions are all recognised by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) or the Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists (IASLT) respectively. They are also approved by the Health Professionals Council (HPC).
All the institutions require at least 5 GCSEs at grades A*-C; some universities will specify passes in specific subjects, such as a modern foreign language or a biological science.
Applicants will also need at least 3 A levels (or 2 A levels and 2 AS levels) at grades AAB-BBC, usually including at least 1 science subject (some universities accept Psychology or Sociology as a science subject, but some don't).
Alternative qualifications to A levels are also accepted, such as approved Access courses, VCEs and Scottish qualifications.
UCAS Form & Personal Statement
Life as a Speech and Language Therapy Student
How to Cope on SaLT Placements
Graduate Destinations and Career Prospects
Speech and Language Therapy Degree's open up opportunities within both the NHS and in private clinics. A majority of new graduates will start work with the NHS before branching off into private clinics or even setting up their own independent SALT services. After 6-12 months of NHS experience graduates are also able to work in temporary roles through locum recruitment agencies that specialise in SALT roles. One of the leading medical recruitment firms is Labmed who have a dedicated SALT consultant dealing purely with SLT roles throughout the country.