NHS Apprenticeships: What you need to know

Always wanted to work for the NHS? You’re in luck…

Finding a career with the National Health Service isn’t just for doctors and nurses. There are a wide range of different opportunities out there, many of which may not even require a background in healthcare to get started.

We’ve already covered how to get a job in healthcare without any experience, but here’s everything you need to know about NHS apprenticeships:


What are NHS apprenticeships?

NHS Apprenticeships are the perfect way to start a career in healthcare.

They’re available to anyone over the age of 16, and provide a great opportunity to learn the ropes in a new role, whilst still getting paid a regular wage.

Currently, the NHS employs around 14,000 apprentices across the UK.

Apprenticeships: How to get started

Applying for apprenticeships


How long do NHS apprenticeships last?

An apprenticeship with the NHS can take anywhere from one to four years to complete.

The exact length will depend on the role you apply for, and which level your apprenticeship is.


What apprenticeships are available?

The NHS offers a wide range of apprenticeship opportunities, covering everything from dental nursing to emergency care.

Some of the most popular NHS apprenticeships include:

  • Maternity and paediatric support
  • Perioperative support
  • Pharmacy services
  • Health and social care
  • Dental nursing
  • Healthcare assistance
  • Informatics

However, this is by no means an extensive list, and there are hundreds of different disciplines on offer to choose from.

What’s more, with crucial changes on the horizon within the health sector, apprenticeships are on the rise – with the NHS looking to employ 100,000 apprentices by the year 2020.

Five apprenticeships you may not have considered


NHS apprenticeship levels

Apprenticeships with the NHS are available at four levels:

  1. Intermediate Apprenticeships – equivalent to five GCSEs A* – C
  2. Advanced Apprenticeships – equivalent to two A-Levels
  3. Higher Apprenticeships – equivalent to a foundation degree and above
  4. Degree Apprenticeships – equivalent to a full bachelor’s or master’s degree

The type of apprenticeship that’s right for you will depend on your previous experience, as well as what role you’re looking to go into.

Types of apprenticeships


What are the entry requirements?

As you might expect, NHS Apprenticeships are highly competitive.

Entry requirements will all depend on which level you’re looking to start. For most Intermediate Apprenticeships, for example, there might not be any set requirements (although GCSEs may help).

However, to move on to an Advanced Apprenticeship, you’ll generally need at least five good GCSEs, or to have completed the Intermediate level. For Higher Apprenticeships, A Levels (or the previous apprenticeship level) will be required.

Aside from qualifications, you’ll need to show that you’re committed, aware of your responsibilities and able to successfully manage the work whilst studying – all whilst sharing the core NHS values of wanting to help and care for people.


What are the benefits of an NHS apprenticeship?

There are many great benefits of starting an apprenticeship in the healthcare industry.

Some of the top benefits include:

  • Gaining a nationally-recognised qualification
  • Learning whilst you earn a regular wage
  • On-the-job experience
  • Support from industry professionals
  • Building up your professional network

Why choose an apprenticeship?

Seven reasons you should start an apprenticeship


What can I do after my apprenticeship?

Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you will generally either be offered a permanent position, or allowed to continue your professional development.

If you don’t choose to move on to the next level, you may even be eligible to move into higher education – and build on the skills and knowledge you’ve learned during your apprenticeship.

If you aren’t lucky enough to be kept on, you’ll still have a professional qualification to add to your CV. And with 15% of employers stating that apprentices are more employable than those with other qualifications, there’ll be no limit to how far you can progress in your career.

Five reasons you should be working in healthcare

What are the career prospects for apprentices?



Ready to start? View all available apprenticeships now.


Careermap is an online platform which is dedicated to supporting 15-24 year olds who are looking for a pathway into apprenticeships and early career opportunities.


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