Speech Therapy or Public Health?

(11 Posts)
cupcaketea Sun 16-Jul-17 17:40:48

I am faced with a big decision. I'm not from the UK but have been accepted onto a MSc Public Health degree. I'll need to sort the student visa soon if I'm going to do it this year. I'm 31 and I want to get a move on with my life...

I will have to fund this out of pocket and I am prepared and can afford to do it, but what holds me back is the issue of a job after graduating and not knowing if this is 100% the right choice for me. I've done a lot of research and many grads from these programs seem to struggle to find work. I'm interested in things like environmental health and Public Health does encompass that to some degree, but I'm just not sure if I will be able to work in this field upon graduating.

Also, I have a lot of freelance clients in my current line of work and I wouldn't be able to freelance at all on a student visa in the UK, so there goes that income. I love the UK and have lived there for 6 months on a visitor visa in the past and I could do that again if I wanted to go back, but on the student visa I would be able to stay for one full year. But I know this is not a reason to base my decision of whether to go forward with the degree or not.

My other option is to pursue Speech Therapy as a career. I have wanted to do this for a long time and it feels like something constantly nagging me in the back of my mind. I would need to do a year or pre requisite courses (can do these all online) and then apply to grad school in my country (which can be online as well or partially online plus on campus or fully on campus)... Speech therapists are basically guaranteed a nice job upon graduating as the need is so strong. I'm very good with children and creative at coming up with games and activities to help them learn. I light up around kids.

I am an ISFJ personality... so sensitive, introverted, creative, and compassionate and I tend to clam up around intimidating types in the workplace.

I just don't know what to do and I am so torn right now. Any advice or opinions? Thank you so much in advance smile

OP’s posts: |
cupcaketea Sun 16-Jul-17 17:49:12

One more thing I forgot to add... I will be done with the Public Health degree in 1 year if I do it. Speech Therapy qualifications will take 3-4 years and will be 2-3 times more expensive than the Public Health degree. So very torn!

OP’s posts: |
swingofthings Mon 17-Jul-17 19:20:13

Speech therapists are very much in demand in the UK, however, it is not just about working with kids with difficulty speaking, it is most commonly working with the elderly, doing swallowing assessments etc... They are usually band 7 and sometimes band 8A so earn a good salary.

There are various things you can do with a degree in Public Health. The most lucrative one would be to do a specialty training. It's hard to get in, but if you do, you are paid to carry out the training, and afterwards (2 to 3 years), you earn the status of Consultant in Public Health and earn the same salary than a Consultant in Medicine.

Lottapianos Mon 17-Jul-17 19:27:27

OP, I have been a speech and language therapist for many years. I would recommend spending some time shadowing speech and language therapists at work - at least one who works with children and one who works with adults. There is SO much more to the job than just working with kids. In the NHS, you would start on Band 5 which is about £21,000 and it can take several years to move up to the next band. The profession is hugely under staffed and under resourced. Not trying to put you off,but I think it's important to have a realistic idea of what the job can be like. Also have a look at the websites for undergraduate SLT programs to get an idea of the range of subjects that are covered on the course

RatherBeCrazy Mon 17-Jul-17 19:43:22

As Lotta said SALTs are in huge demand but funding has been drastically cut over the years. You are absolutely not guaranteed a job upon graduating, at least not within the first 6-12 months. That said, it is a wonderful field to work in.

cupcaketea Mon 17-Jul-17 19:43:28

Thank you for both of your replies. My older cousin is actually a speech therapist, so I'm very familiar with the role. I want to work with children if I go this way, which is what she does. In my country, a master's degree is required and I would need the pre reqs for it too, so it would take me around 3 years. However, I think the pay for what SLTs are started off at in the UK is ludicrously low for the training it entails - especially if it's a master's degree.

Swingofthings, for the specialty consultant role, does the person also have to have a clinical degree like a nurse?

Thank you again for the info. smile

OP’s posts: |
swingofthings Tue 18-Jul-17 07:02:06

You don't need a Master's degree to become a SALT. If you do a search on the nhs.job website, 20 miles from London for instance, you'll see that there are 3 pages of adverts for SALT, from band 5 to Band 8A.

For the specialty consultant, you don't need a clinical background. You do however need some experience having worked within the NHS, at minimum band 6 or 7. It is very competitive, a ratio of about 1:10, although some variance depending on the area. You apply in December for a start in the following September.


Doraemon Wed 26-Jul-17 16:14:03

Could I jump on this thread to ask if demand for SALT varies across the country? I almost applied several year (and a third child) ago but didn't at the time feel able to commit to the degree if I was unsure of getting a job at the end of it. I'm coming back to the idea again as said 3rd child is starting school - the degree would be doable but I wouldn't be in a position to move home to chase work after so would be limited to West or North Yorkshire.

swingofthings Wed 26-Jul-17 18:29:33

You can do a search on nhs jobs. 7 positions available at this point of time.

solittle Wed 26-Jul-17 18:38:42

Doraemon - i'm a recently qualified SLT in West/South Yorkshire.

I also wasn't in a position to move and was also very picky about my preferred client group - I worked for a charity doing a health visitor type job for 9 months (which I got paid more for!) before getting my ideal job in April this year. Demand does vary a lot across the UK, I think Yorkshire is quite average for vacancies. Most of my cohort have jobs now. It does also really depend what client group you want, there were a lot of SEN school vancancies when I was looking.

Doraemon Wed 26-Jul-17 20:15:06

Thanks! SEN school vacancies would be right up my street :-)

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