What do Speech Therapists earn? We examine the starting and average salary of a Speech Therapist, as well as possible career progression options of the role.
Speech Therapists offer treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties with communication – either for physical or psychological reasons.
This can mean that the people you work with either have developmental issues or are suffering from an illness or injury that has impaired their ability to communicate.
Speech Therapists may also help people struggling with eating, drinking and swallowing.
You may work in a hospital, clinic, or even within someone’s home.
It’s known for being a varied and hugely rewarding career, with lots of opportunity for progression and personal development.
This guide aims to examine all the most important questions regarding Speech Therapist pay, from starting salaries through to advice on increasing your income.
What Is The Starting Salary For A Speech Therapist?
The starting salary for a Speech Therapist is typically at Band 5 in the NHS, which is currently £27,055 a year.
This rises up the pay scale to £32,934 a year – the top of Band 5.
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What Is The Average Salary For A Speech Therapist?
The average salary for a Speech Therapist is approximately £35,000 a year, based on the latest data.
This reflects a Speech Therapist with several years of experience, probably working in the NHS within a Band 6 position.Many Speech Therapists will of course earn more or less than this, according to their experience, specialist expertise and location.
What’s The Most A Speech Therapist Can Earn?
Highly specialised Speech Therapists can earn a Band 7 salary, which currently sits between £41,659 and £47,672 a year.
Some Speech Therapists reach management positions too, which can pay Band 8 salaries.
This would see you potentially earn upwards of £50,000 a year.
Privately, Speech Therapist salaries are thought to be roughly in line with the NHS.
However, at some in-demand private practices it’s possible for some Speech Therapists to earn a higher salary.
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How Much Do Locum Speech Therapists Earn?
Locum Speech Therapists can expect to earn around £20 to £35 an hour.
This is a higher pay rate than the average full-time Speech Therapist.
However, this can be slightly misleading.
To earn that higher rate across the year, you’d have to secure work as a locum Speech Therapist consistently.
And while that is possible for experienced Speech Therapists, it isn’t guaranteed.
It is also harder for less experienced Speech Therapists to command higher rates when working through agencies.
Furthermore, working as a locum means you won’t enjoy many of the benefits a full-time worker is given, like holiday and sick pay.
These benefits are especially generous within the NHS.
Working as a locum Speech Therapist can be very lucrative, and for anyone looking for flexibility it can be ideal.
But it’s a decision that must carefully balanced.
What’s The Career Progression For A Speech Therapist?
Many Speech Therapists spend their careers climbing the NHS ladder.
They accrue more experience and more skills, often becoming more specialised as a result.
And typically, the more specialised you become, the easier it is to apply for roles in higher bandings.
Senior Therapists can often move into management, research or teaching.
Less frequently they may also move into more strategic and broad management positions – for example, overseeing a wider children’s service.
Some Speech Therapists may also choose to move into the private sector – either working for a specialist clinic or setting up their own.
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What Does The Future Hold For Speech Therapist Salaries?
Like most NHS workers, the majority of Speech Therapists await decisions from the government about annual NHS pay rises.
These have been stubbornly low over recent years – owing to public sector cuts.
There are around 20,000 Speech Therapists across the UK working in various settings, but there remains a significant shortage.
Speech Therapists have in fact been added to the government’s Skilled Worker Shortage Occupation List, which helps to remove barriers in recruiting specialists from overseas.
In fact, there is a global shortage of qualified Speech Therapists.
All in all, this puts Speech Therapists in a very strong position.
In the coming years, you’ll have lots of job opportunities, and should you wish to work as a locum, the potential to command very high hourly rates.
Beyond this, pressure will rightly build on the government to offer more generous pay rises to ensure Speech Therapists are recruited and retained at the levels needed to solve the shortages.
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