Clinical Speech and Language Studies

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What are Clinical Speech and Language Studies?

Human communication and interaction in the form of speech and language heavily rely on the ability to speak and write, listen and learn, and to be understood. A wide range of conditions can impair these abilities and Speech and Language Therapists will work with people of all ages to assess, diagnose and treat individuals with Speech and Language impairments.

Conditions such as a stroke, cerebral palsy, hearing impairments, learning disabilities, developmental delays, swallowing disorders and autism can all affect communication

Since communication difficulties affect every aspect of a person’s life, the work of the speech and language therapist is multi-faceted, and therapists work with other professionals in multidisciplinary teams in a variety of settings, from schools to hospitals and other clinical settings to establish treatment programs and help patients and their families as effectively as possible.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Clinical Speech and Language Studies courses in the following subject areas:

  • B.Sc. in Clinical Speech & Language Studies – Gain a qualification in speech and language therapy from the school of Linguistic, Speech, and Communication Sciences.
  • Understanding Speech and Language Difficulties – The study of communication through speech and language and the difficulties of development of speech.
  • Speech & Language Therapy – Gain the skills and knowledge to help people minimize or overcome impaired speech, voice, language, or swallowing difficulties.

Studying Clinical Speech and Language Studies in college

There are much Clinical Speech and Language Studies courses that take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover all theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification. The practical components of the courses are very important. These may take place in schools, hospitals, and community health clinics and help to develop your skills in the assessment and treatment of people with communication disorders.

You could also consider work experience or volunteering to help with clinical activities and other relevant work placements. Work Experience will not only help to provide an important learning context from the start of your studies but will allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry. Work Experience will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a course in Clinical Speech and Language Studies you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of communication and speech and language impairments and therapies.

Speech and language therapists work with a variety of people to assess, diagnose and treat clients for a variety of disorders including childhood speech and language disorders, stammers, acquired speech and language disorders from injury or disease, voice disorders, and even eating, drinking, and swallowing difficulties.

Speech and Language Therapists also work with clients who cannot communicate through normal means to develop alternative forms of communication or use specialized computing devices. They work and liaise with parents, carers, and other professionals, such as teachers, nurses, occupational therapists, and doctors.

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. The hours are usually full-time, Monday to Friday with the possibility of extra hours. You should expect to work some evenings and weekends on certain occasions or in special circumstances, although weekend or shift work is uncommon. Typical employers include hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, private practice, community services, disability services, and voluntary organizations.

Travel during the working day can be frequent as therapists may work in several different locations during the working week. As clinical experience grows so too do opportunities to move into more senior posts and specialize in working with a particular group of clients or type of speech and language disorder, such as speech delay in children or neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Others move into research, teaching, or management.

Related jobs include:

  • Speech Therapist
  • Audiologist
  • Clinical Audiologist
  • Music Therapy 
  • Therapist
  • Clinical Manager
  • Classroom Assistant
  • Teacher
  • Special Education Teacher
  • Special Education Supervisor
  • Health Services
  • Chiropractor
  • Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Medical physicist
  • Statistician
  • Doctor/GP

Further study

After completing a course in Clinical Speech and Language Studies you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as Linguistics, Medicine, Nursing, or Psychology.


Are there any skills that would be beneficial when considering a course in Clinical Speech and Language Studies?

Anyone working in Speech and Language should have empathy, patience, and excellent motivational skills. You should be responsible and reliable with a professional approach and the ability to respect your clients and their confidentiality. You should have the ability to make your own decisions as well as work in co-operation with others.

You should have the confidence to relate to a wide range of people and enjoy working with people of all ages. The capacity to listen carefully combined with excellent verbal and written communication skills are a must for Speech and Language studies.

What are the typical duties of someone in the Speech and Language field?

· Carrying out assessment and treatment at clinics and patients’ homes.

· Keeping detailed clinical notes and drafting reports on patient symptoms, treatments, and progress.

· Using technical equipment to analyze voice patterns and examine the factors involved in producing speech.

· Introducing and supporting new ways of working with families to prevent future speech and language difficulties.

· Collaborating with service users, family members, carers, and other staff in the setting of treatment.

· Delivering training to parents and teachers, allowing them to help in the patient’s recovery.

· Teaching exercises to help eliminate speech problems.

· Referring patients to other specialists when necessary.

· Liaising with other professionals such as doctors and ear/nose/throat (ENT) specialists.

Where can I study Clinical Speech and Language Studies?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· Language is thought to have originated circa 100,000 BC. Most linguists agree that it is likely language began around the time when modern humans (Homo sapiens) evolved in Africa with modern skull shapes and vocal cords. 

· The incidence of language impairment is higher among boys than among girls, a ratio anywhere from 2:1 to 3:1.

· The language with the most extensive alphabet in the world belongs to the Cambodian language Khmer and is 74 characters long.

· A study of macaque monkeys supports the idea that languages may have evolved to replace grooming as a better way of forging interpersonal bonds.

· Many scientists agree that becoming a polyglot can boost your brainpower. Other studies also suggest that speaking more than one language can help to slow down the aging process of the mind.

Mariza Halliday

Mental Health Nursing
Speech and Language Therapy Courses


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