Speech-Language Therapist Kaihaumanu Reo ā-Waha

Speech-language therapists assess and treat people who have problems with verbal communication or swallowing. This may include difficulties with speech, language, listening, reading or writing.

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Registration with the New Zealand Speech-language Therapists' Association (NZSTA) is recommended. NZSTA provides Annual Practising Certificates for members.

Speech-language therapists may do some or all of the following:

  • assess and diagnose communication problems such as stuttering
  • co-ordinate and plan treatments
  • help clients learn to speak, listen, read or write
  • lead group therapy sessions
  • help children and adults learn to swallow and eat
  • report on their clients
  • educate and advise clients and their families.

Useful Experience

Work with young children is useful experience.

Personal Qualities

Speech-language therapists need to be:

  • patient and supportive
  • able to put people at ease
  • good communicators
  • able to relate to people of all ages, and from a range of cultures and backgrounds.

Skills

Speech-language therapists need to have knowledge of:

  • English or other languages
  • how the brain, mouth, throat and voice box function
  • medical conditions that can affect speech
  • psychology and education theory, and child development and health
  • community and family support services, and where to refer their clients.

Conditions

Speech-language therapists:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may also work evenings
  • work in therapy clinics or at locations such as schools, rest homes and hospitals.

Speech-Language Therapists can earn around $52K-$73K per year.

Pay for speech-language therapists varies depending on experience.

  • New speech-language therapists usually earn between $52,000 and $73,000 a year. 
  • Experienced speech-language therapists may earn between $73,000 and $100,000.

Sources: District Health Boards/PSA, 'Allied, Public Health and Technical Multi-employer Collective Agreement', 2020; and New Zealand Speech-language Therapists' Association, 2020.

Speech-language therapists may progress to work in managerial or research roles. They may also move between work in the education and health industries.

Speech-language therapists may specialise in a field of work, or work with particular groups of people such as:

  • children (paediatrics)
  • the elderly
  • children and adults who have physical disorders such as difficulties swallowing, or cleft lips or palates.

Years Of Training

4-5 years of training required.

To become a speech-language therapist you need to have a: 

  • Bachelor's degree in speech and language pathology (Hons) or speech and language therapy (Hons)
  • Master's degree in speech and language pathology or speech-language therapy practice.

Vulnerable Children Act

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children. 

Speech-Language Therapist

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