I have a creative degree. Do I need to have any other qualifications?
All registered health professions will require that you have a certain level of maths and English (usually equivalent to Level 2). Some universities will also require you to have GCSEs or an equivalent qualification.
Because postgraduate courses are accelerated, most universities will look for a result of at least a 2:2 (or equivalent) for entry at this level. If you did not obtain a 2:2, you may want to consider entry as an undergraduate. You can also consider the Nursing Associate pathway if you are interested in Nursing, or an Access diploma.
It’s worth mentioning that some universities will want your degree to be related your field of study – for example, music for music therapy and dance for physiotherapy. They will, however, consider relevant work experience.
Are there any other requirements?
Some universities will want you to have some experience in a health setting, but this can be in a voluntary capacity or in a variety of roles. Other universities will ask that you demonstrate experience in working with the public. You will also be expected to clear a DBS check, and you will need to have the right to reside in the UK.
Although it’s not required, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the NHS Values prior to making your application.
What are my options?
If you want to enter health, there are three main routes. You can apply directly for an unregistered health role, such as a health and care assistant, which will give you valuable experience and access to apprenticeships. You can also take an Access course, which is a good option for people who have been out of study for some time or hold a third-class degree. Otherwise, if you hold a 2:2, you can apply for most pre-registration health courses at either the undergraduate or postgraduate level.
How do I narrow in on a career that’s right for me?
What’s the difference between postgraduate and undergraduate study?
Mainly length, intensity and availability. Postgraduate courses typically take two years to complete, whereas undergraduate courses take three to six years, depending if you are full-time or part-time. Because postgraduate courses are shorter, they can tend to be more intense. There are also fewer postgraduate pre-registration health courses than at the undergraduate level, so considering both levels can broaden the number of universities you can study at, as well as your professional options.
It’s worth highlighting that creative graduates can apply at either level.
I already have student loans. Is there any more support on offer?
Usually yes. For qualifying health courses at either the undergraduate or postgraduate level, you can receive further support from the Student Loans Company for both your fees and maintenance. While this will increase the amount you owe, it will not increase the amount you pay each month. There is also a yearly non-repayable support payment of between £5k to £8k for most health courses.
There are some courses that sit outside of this support arrangement, including arts therapy. Arts therapy is eligible for standard postgraduate student loan support, but if you have already taken out a loan for postgraduate study, you will need to fund this course through other means. The other courses that have different funding arrangements are paramedicine and hearing aid dispensing.
More information can be found at The Funding Clinic.