Have you ever seen someone stammering or facing eating or drinking difficulties? Probably, they might be suffering from a speech disorder. Therefore, if you want to make a promising career treating this problem, this blog is just for you. Speech and language therapy refers to the treatment for kids and adults with speech and language disorders.
Moreover, speech and language therapy is also known as Speech-language pathology (SLP). It is an excellent and diverse career option. Also, it offers you to work for the well-being of people. From this blog, you will get to know if speech therapy is the right career for you.
Table of Contents
What is Speech and Language Therapy?
Speech and language therapy provides care, support and treatment to all age groups. It includes children as well as adults who have challenges with communication, eating, drinking and swallowing. It can treat all types of issues from stammering to delayed speech in children.
If you are suffering from such a problem or somebody you know is, it is time to find a place to treat this. Speech and language therapists can help you exercise and practise speech. Moreover, they help you learn an alternative communication method. For instance, by using pictures or sign language. They may provide you with special equipment if required, such as a computer or device that can help you to generate speech.
However, younger children usually get to use a device similar to a laptop covered with symbols of everyday objects and activities. In this case, the child presses the device and makes a combination of symbols to communicate with others.
Furthermore, a professional therapist can advise you if you have cerebral palsy on independent living. This can include a suggestion on household tasks, getting a job, using technology like computers and gadgets. In the long run, this therapy can be very helpful in gaining and boosting your self-esteem and independence.
Where Can You Get Speech Therapy?
Speech and language therapy is applied in different types of places. For example-
- Rehabilitation centres
- Medical and clinic
- Rural health centres
- Speech and hearing centres
- Therapist’s own office
Who Should Look for a Speech Therapist?
Speech therapy has the power to improve our lives. It can cure a wide range of speech problems. This range includes the following-
- People with learning difficulties
- Children suffering from language delay
- One who is facing difficulties in producing sounds
- Patients with hearing problems
- People suffering from cleft lip and palate
- Those who stammer
- The patient who have voice disorders
- A person going through language development disorder
- Those who are facing eating or swallowing problems or both.
- Patients suffering from neurological impairments and degenerative conditions, including stroke, head injury.
- Parkinson’s disease and dementia Patients
Speech Therapy Cost in the UK
In the United Kingdom, kids are entitled to an assessment by local NHS speech and language therapy teams. In the first place, it is possible after usually the referral by health visitors or educational institutes. Now, you may ask, how much does speech therapy cost? The Children’s Commissioner for England reported in June 2019 that £291.65 a year per head was spent on services in some areas. Meanwhile, the budget in some areas was up to £30.94 or less.
However, during the year 2018, 193,971 children in primary schools in England studied the special educational needs register. They all needed speech therapy services. For this purpose, there is an initial assessment following by therapy sessions. Furthermore, these initial assessments will provide the patient summary report with findings and recommendations. In general, payment has to be made session by session. Even training sessions of parents will require a cost so that the amount is distributed between the trainers.
Is Speech Therapy a Good Career Choice?
Firstly, speech therapy is the right profession for you if you enjoy Science, education, languages, linguistics, or medicine. Secondly, it gives you a good enough salary to maintain a stable lifestyle.
The average annual salary of these professionals is much higher than the average salary of others in the United Kingdom. For example, speech therapists earn around £22 per hour. So, the yearly wage is around £46,410 per year on average for a therapist.
Thirdly, the flexibility and freedom of work and the humanitarian ground created an exception with any other job. This job certainly has a lower stress level, higher morality and higher job satisfaction. You can enjoy a sound work/life balance.
Moreover, the demand for speech therapists has increased in recent years all over the world. Thus, you can get an excellent opportunity to improve and promote your career.
Furthermore, people will love you as you are improving their lives. The smiling faces of cured patients, especially the children, will fill your heart with joy. Where else you can get this?
How to Become a Speech and Language Therapist? (Step-By-Step Instructions)
Speech therapy professionals (SLT) diagnose and improve speech problems. However, you can also call them speech and language pathologists (SLP). There are some prerequisites to fulfil you can work as a Speech and Language professional in the United Kingdom. First, it is a must to register in the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC). It is the governing body for healthcare professionals.
However, there are several other steps to help you kickstart your career in this field. Thus, below is a step-by-step instruction on how to become a speech and language therapist in the UK:
It is mandatory for you to pass your GCSE exams successfully to enter any university or educational institute in order to pursue a career in this field. For this purpose, you have to meet some requirements before.
Requirements to Get Admitted to the Universities are-
- 2 or 3 A-levels is required, along with 5 GCSEs (grades A-C)
- The general condition may include English language, maths, statistics, biological and social science courses.
Alternative Ways to Enter University is Through The Following-
Note: Equivalent Scottish and Irish qualifications are approved for university entrance.
You will need to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree. However, we recommend you to complete your bachelor’s degree program from a well-reputed university.
Bachelor’s Degree Program
In university, there are several courses in speech therapy in different names; you can find the following:
- Speech and language pathology
- Communication Disorders
- Speech Science
- Principles of Audiology
- Speech Sound Disorders
- Human communication
- Speech and Hearing
- Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech Mechanism
- Neurobiology of Communication, etc.
Therefore, all these above courses will build you as a complete speech therapist.
After completion of the Bachelor’s degree, you can get admitted to SLP Master’s degree program.
SLP Master’s Degree Program
A postgraduate programme in speech & language therapy usually takes a couple of years. However, you can add extra value to your CV by achieving this degree as a language therapist.
Subsequently, you can consider doing an internship under the supervision of any registered speech therapist. It will help you with practical experiences about real-life problems.
Note: All the institution has different entry requirements. So, it’s essential to check the rules and conditions carefully. However, no matter where you have studied, you will need to prove your specialisation in speech and language therapy.
You can also apply for some degree apprenticeships. This will open an alternative door for you to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). However, it must be remembered; there is no set entry condition for degree apprenticeships.
However, in this career path, an employer will offer you an apprenticeship. So, you will require completing level 3 qualifications as a condition to study at the degree level. Generally, employers post job vacancies on their websites offering apprenticeships.
Pro Tips: You may consider joining some Speech and language therapy courses. It will help you learn everything about the job thoroughly from scratch. Moreover, you can receive a professional certificate.
Here is an excellent Speech and Language Therapy Diploma course for you. Meanwhile, you complete this wholesome course; you will know everything about your job role and the industry you will enter. On the whole, this will ensure you a bright career in the speech therapy job market.
What are the Professional Skills for a Speech and Language Therapist?
As an SLT, you should try to achieve the following skills to be a language therapist-
- Great communication skills
- Leadership quality
- Ability to supervise and control subordinates
- Power to influence and motivate people
- Excellent listening skills
- Ability to design the most effective treatment plan
- Good problem-solving ability
What are the Personal Characteristics of Speech and Language Therapists?
For working in the speech and language therapy sector, you should have some unique characteristics like the following:
- Ability to motivate and reassure people
- Flexible to work with people of different ages
- Ability to work alone or in a team
- Enjoy working and communicating with people
- Keep patience for long periods
How to Work as a Speech and Language Therapist?
After graduation, a speech therapist usually takes experience from a clinical fellowship. In that first year, as a therapist, you will have a mentor. That experienced therapist will supervise you and observe you as a clinician.
Moreover, networking with an experienced will help you a lot in the practical field. You may end up building a good bond with your supervisor and get some professional recommendations as well. At the end of this clinical fellowship period, you can work as a fully-fledged speech and language therapist. Thus, you will get the chance to work wherever you intend to.
What are the Responsibilities of a Speech and Language Therapist?
Speech and Language Therapy has massive power to transform human lives. Moreover, this therapy offers healing, life-changing support, and care for patients who are suffering. The speech therapist makes their life complete by assisting them with verbal communication.
A Speech therapist has a vast range of responsibilities. You, as a therapist, have to treat difficulties with talking, eating, or swallowing. Also, you have to cure people with physical or psychological problems. Basically, everything under speech issues like speaking and communicating falls under your responsibility.
In an Educational Institution
As a professional therapist, you can work in educational institutions, like schools, health care centres, hospitals, nursing places, and speech therapist offices. However, you can work independently in your chamber too.
Therefore, at schools, you will spend a regular day meeting with parents and teachers. You will discuss each student’s individualised education plan with their guardian. Secondly, you will have to visit your young patient every day. You may treat them either one-on-one or in separate groups.
Thirdly, you may have to spend time for screenings and evaluate students generally. Thus, you will diagnose and cure the speech and language difficulties of school kids.
In Therapist’s Own Office
However, you may also own a speech therapy centre. A general day will look a little different in this setting. There, you can employ additional therapists or therapy assistants to share your workload. Also, you have to supervise them if they are working efficiently or not.
When you are treating in your office, you will provide therapy for around 45 minutes to an hour per session to improve the condition. At the end of every session, you will report to the parents of kids about regular progression. If necessary, you may suggest to the patient some exercises to practice at home.
Speech and language therapy is a very promising career field. Neither is its demand going to decrease anytime soon, nor its value. In this blog, you got an overview of this industry as well as got a peek into the life of a speech and language therapist.
Thus, a good salary, work-life balance and increased demand have lifted this job to the top. Learning more about this can open a new door for your knowledge and career options. And your choice will definitely help to improve many lives.