Entry requirements

There are no academic entry requirements for this course. However, you must have the support of your employer for the two work-based modules Enhancing your healthcare practice (K117) and Extending your contribution to healthcare practice (K236) and be employed as healthcare support worker/healthcare assistant in a healthcare setting.

It is also a requirement that you:

  • remain in employment while studying towards this qualification
  • work in a healthcare setting for a minimum of two days per week
  • are involved in the direct delivery of care or providing interventions for patients/service users
  • provide confirmation of your employer’s support for your studies
  • have a workplace supervisor qualified in the same area of practice to support and assess your work-based learning
  • have access to a computer and the internet.

Please note that you cannot apply online for this qualification – for more information about how to register, employers and individuals should contact us.

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study flexibly, completing 60-120 credits a year
  • Depending on the agreement with your employer you can complete this qualification in 2-4 years.

Counting previous study

You could save time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study towards this qualification, if you have:

  • already studied at university level (even if you didn't finish your studies)
  • other professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs

Find out more about credit transfer

Preparing for study with an Access module

If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! The OU offers Access modules designed to introduce the subject area, build your confidence and prepare you for further study, and you may be eligible to study an Access module for free! You'll get:

  • a personal tutor providing regular feedback with one to one telephone tutorials
  • support from a dedicated team throughout your study
  • detailed written feedback.
For this qualification we recommend:

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This is a multidisciplinary module that allows you to develop your subject knowledge and your general study skills. It provides an excellent introduction to a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, management and law.

View full details of People, work and society Access module

Your next step

Call us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or book a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you.

In this section:
How much will it cost?
Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • If, like most OU students, you study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year, you'll take six years to complete an honours degree.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £2,928*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £5,856*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £11,712*.

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.

Skills for career development

Delivering quality care requires teamwork and people management skills. Studying this qualification will encourage you to work in your multi-professional team to improve the patient/service user experience. You will also develop valuable transferable skills in communication literacy, IT skills, information retrieval, numeracy, time management, organisational skills, analysing information and problem solving – and you’ll be well prepared for further study (such as an honours degree course, or a professional qualification in your particular field of practice).

Career relevance

This diploma is designed to promote the development of healthcare career pathways and to prepare healthcare support workers/healthcare assistants for the role of assistant/associate practitioner. Although it provides no guarantee of promotion, it is particularly relevant for staff working in healthcare support roles who wish to gain a qualification that helps them to deliver high quality, safe and compassionate care. It is also valuable for those already working in the role of assistant/associate practitioner who wish to gain a qualification to underpin their practice.

On completion of this qualification, you may wish to pursue further study opportunities leading to, for example, an honours degree in health and social care or, possibly, as a registered practitioner in your respective field of practice. 

Successful completion of Diploma of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice also allows access to Stage 2 of the pre-registration nursing programme, subject to successful selection and meeting the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) entry requirements.

Other careers

The wide range of transferable skills you’ll develop during your studies will be applicable to many roles outside health and social care.

In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills. 

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that most careers will require further study, training and/or work experience):

  • Adult nurse
  • Mental health nurse
  • Social worker
  • Health promotion specialist
  • Counsellor
  • Child protection officer
  • Youth worker
  • Community development worker
  • Care home manager
  • Health services manager

Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, PlanIT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.


To register for this qualification, please refer to the entry requirements under Am I ready? and contact us (online registration is not available).

Next start date Sep 2018 - Registration closes 09/08/2018
Credit transfer: apply by 12/07/2018

Request your Health and Social Care prospectus

Our prospectuses help you choose your course, understand what it's like to be an OU student and register for study.

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