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Can You Become a Nurse Through an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to gain practical skills and knowledge while earning a wage. However, you may wonder, “Can you become a nurse through an apprenticeship?”

In the United Kingdom, the nursing profession offers rewarding career opportunities with the chance to make a meaningful impact on people’s lives. While traditional routes to becoming a nurse involve pursuing a university degree, an alternative pathway has gained popularity in recent years – the nursing apprenticeship. 

This article provides a detailed guide on how to become a nurse in the UK through an apprenticeship program.

Can You Become a Nurse Through an Apprenticeship

What is a Nursing Apprenticeship? 

A nursing apprenticeship is a work-based training program that allows individuals to combine academic learning with practical experience. It is designed to equip aspiring nurses with the necessary skills, knowledge, and competencies to provide high-quality patient care. In addition, apprenticeships provide an excellent opportunity to earn a wage while studying, making them a viable option for those who prefer hands-on learning.

Entry Requirements

To embark on a nursing apprenticeship in the UK, you will typically need to meet the following requirements:

  1. Age: Apprenticeships are open to individuals aged 16 or above.
  2. Education: Generally, apprenticeships require a minimum of a few GCSEs, including English, Mathematics, and Science. However, specific entry requirements may vary among different apprenticeship programs and providers.
  3. Residency: You must have the right to live and work in the UK.

Apprenticeship Levels

Nursing apprenticeships in the UK are available at different levels, offering progression opportunities for individuals with varying levels of prior qualifications and experience. The main levels are:

  1. Nursing Associate: This intermediate-level apprenticeship allows you to work as a nursing associate, supporting registered nurses in delivering care.
  2. Registered Nurse: The registered nurse apprenticeship is a higher-level program that enables you to become a fully qualified registered nurse.

Duration and Structure

The duration of a nursing apprenticeship can vary depending on the level and specific program. Typically, an apprenticeship can range from two to four years. The structure typically involves a combination of on-the-job training and academic study, with the ratio varying based on the program and provider. Apprentices will spend significant time working under the supervision of experienced healthcare professionals in a clinical setting.

Finding an Apprenticeship

To find a nursing apprenticeship, several resources can help you explore available opportunities. These include:

  1. National Health Service (NHS) Jobs website: The official NHS Jobs website advertises apprenticeship vacancies across the UK.
  2. Healthcare provider websites: Many healthcare organisations and hospitals advertise apprenticeship programs directly on their websites.

Apprenticeship Assessment and Qualification

You will be continuously assessed throughout the nursing apprenticeship to meet the required standards. Assessment methods may include written assignments, practical exams, and workplace observations. Upon completing the apprenticeship, you will receive a nationally recognised qualification, such as a Nursing Associate Foundation or Nursing Degree (BSc).

Progression Opportunities

After completing a nursing apprenticeship, you will have the necessary skills to embark on a fulfilling nursing career. Additionally, the experience gained during the apprenticeship can provide a strong foundation for further professional development and specialisation in mental health nursing, pediatric nursing, or adult nursing. As you progress in your nursing career, there may also be opportunities to pursue advanced qualifications, such as a Master’s degree or a Nurse Practitioner certification.


Becoming a nurse in the UK through an apprenticeship offers an alternative and valuable pathway to entering nursing. By combining academic learning and practical experience, apprenticeships provide a unique opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge needed to become a great nurse.

Updated on May 29, 2023

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