How to become an SLT?

Why Speech-language Therapy?

In the words of Jana, a first year Masters student at the University of Auckland:

What does becoming a qualified Speech-language Therapist
allow you to do?

This is a profession which allows great flexibility and opportunity to make a profound
difference in your community. We are the experts when it comes to supporting effective
communication and safe swallowing for everyone. You may end up working in a
multidisciplinary team in educational, medical, research, or community based settings. Many
speech-language therapists make a shift between settings. The scope of practice is vast
allowing you to start as a generalist and then specialise over time if you choose.

What if I want to travel?

The international Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) allows speech-language therapists who
have trained in one of the signatory countries a pathway to return to New Zealand or shift overseas
and continue their career if they meet the other requirements of that country and state.

What if I am coming to New Zealand to study from another

As the New Zealand Speech-language Therapists’ Association accredits training institutions in New
Zealand to the satisfaction of the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA), studying in New Zealand
has the benefit of allowing you to return to your home country with an MRA recognised

Ways to decide whether this profession might be a good fit for

● talking with people who have accessed Speech-language Therapy services
● meeting with or shadowing practicing speech-language therapists
● reading the course outlines for training institutions in New Zealand
● attending open days at the universities offering training
● doing a careers aptitude test on
● volunteering in places where speech-language therapists works

Where to train in New Zealand:

There are currently 3 accredited institutions and 4 pathways:

For those who have not yet completed a Bachelor degree:
● Massey University’s Bachelor of Speech and Language Therapy with Honours
● University of Canterbury’s Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology with Honours

For those who already have a Bachelor degree:
● The University of Auckland’s Master of Speech Language Therapy Practice
● University of Canterbury’s Master of Speech and Language Pathology

What to expect in your training

The training is a mix of coursework and hands-on clinical practicum. Students describe the training
as challenging, but highly rewarding.

It is well suited to people who enjoy working alongside and helping people to achieve their goals
around communication and/or swallowing. It is a profession that requires people to be culturally
competent, empathetic, creative, thoughtful, and have excellent communication skills.

People who are interested in science, linguistics, research, education, psychology, medicine or
engineering often find speech-language therapy to be a rewarding career.

Here are some insights from a several SLT students

Current prospects for future graduates

Speech-language therapy is a growing field. The need for our services is greater than the current capacity of the workforce.

Speech-language therapy offers a wide variety of workplaces opportunities and many appreciate the option to change clinical focus over the course of one’s career without retraining. There are also opportunities to progress from clinical work to research or management roles.

How could you start preparing now:

There are many ways to develop skills and knowledge that will serve you well in a career as a speech-language therapist.

Learning about disability rights, communication accessibility, and spending time with many different generations is invaluable. Many people volunteer or do paid work as support workers, teaching assistants, or respite carers. Making time for conversations with people of different generations or with people with disabilities is valuable.

If you are interested in working in education, working as a teaching assistant or communication support worker can be a great way to develop hands on skills and confidence.

If you are interested in the medical setting, you can volunteer in hospitals or age care facilities.

Don’t forget there are many opportunities to have conversations with people with communication or swallowing challenges. If you are interested in finding part time work providing respite or carer support work, contact your local Needs Assessment Service Coordinator service for information about how to find this type of work in your region.

Never underestimate the value and importance of developing your cultural competency skills or learning another language, including sign language. Whatever career you choose, these skills will be invaluable.


Massey University Scholarships
Waitemata District Health Board Scholarships
Ministry of Health – Hauora Māori Scholarships 2020
Ministry of Health – The Pacific Health Scholarships
Ministry of Education scholarships

University of Auckland:
Postgraduate scholarships
Jane and Rebecca Hulst Memorial Scholarship
Tuakana Scholarships for Māori and Pacific Students

We would like to thank our 2020 student representatives for helping develop this resource: Livvy Pride, Emma Barbafiera, Jessica Eagle, Bo Young, Brianna Oosterbroek, Jacqui Morgan and Tash Thompson