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Why You Should Study Speech Therapy

If you want to make a change in someone's life, then consider continuing your education in speech and language therapy.

When you think of life changing professions, the first career that probably comes to mind isprobably the emergency services. Basically it probably wouldn't be a speech therapist, yet that role is so important to plenty of people of all ages.

I spoke to a former speech therapy student to find out what it’s like and why you should study it too.


What Does Studying Speech Therapy Involve?

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Sally Dennis studied Speech and Languages Science at Newcastle University. During her time on the course she learned all about the job and the technical information behind it. "The degree involves both theoretical lectures and practical placements,” she says. “Speech therapy degrees vary widely."

The degree at Newcastle University included plenty of technical topics, such as studying the relevant areas of the human body, linguistics and phonetics, child development and developmental psychology, but also included the more practical learning of therapy and discharge processes.

Then there were compulsory work placements. Sally says, "Everyone [on her course] does the same two placements to begin with, one in the child literacy clinic and one in the adult clinic." With speech therapy, there is the scope to work with children with development issues as well as adults who require help after suffering from a stroke or with learning disabilities, for example.

"This required development of good observation skills," says Sally, "and excellent time keeping skills as this was a full on course balancing placements, assignments, lectures and revision for exams." So, for prospective students with impeccable organisation and a desire to help those in need, speech therapy might be the perfect choice. "I loved the placements and interesting lectures about speech and language disorders, but I hated some of the assignments that seemed so irrelevant to becoming a speech and language therapist," says Sally.


Why Study It?

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Sally certainly enjoyed the course, however speech therapy was not her only choice when deciding what to study. She says, "I chose speech and language therapy because I wanted to go into a profession which was rewarding and helps people.

"I also considered physiotherapy and occupational therapy but speech and language therapy interested me the most."


What Qualifications Do You Need?

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If you want to progress in Speech and Language Therapy after your undergraduate course, then there are some things you need to bear in mind.

The entry requirements vary from university to university, though most require at least an upper second class honours degree (2:1). Some, such as the course available at UCL, requires students to already have a minimum of a 2:1 on application.

You may also need to have come from a relevant academic background and have had work experience relating to the profession, such as with a speech and language therapist or working with clients with difficult in communicating.

Some courses, on the other hand, allow people to apply regardless of their previous degree. The postgraduate course available at City University London allows graduates with a degree from a different discipline to gain a pre-registration health qualification in two years rather than the four it would take at undergraduate level.


How Do I Pay for It?

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The NHS no longer funds this type of course. However, you can apply for the new postgraduate loans, as well as maintenance and career development loans. Depending on the university you want to study at, you may also be able to apply for a bursary to help you with the costs.


Next Step: Research Speech Therapy Courses


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