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Advanced Clinical Practitioner

Advanced Clinical Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship

Develop advanced level clinical practice leadership, education and research skills.

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Advanced Clinical Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship

The Open University is pausing the intake of new starters on The Open University’s Advanced Clinical Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship for February 2023 as we do not have sufficient numbers to start the programme and make it sustainable for the lifetime of the apprenticeship.

These changes do not affect any current apprentices on the programme and service levels will remain unchanged. We remain committed to providing a quality experience for all our apprentices in existing and future cohorts and to providing apprenticeship programmes which deliver real impacts for employers and apprentices alike.

Please contact us if you have any questions or wish to discuss your requirements.

Delivered in partnership with employers, this flexible and innovative Level 7 Apprenticeship will prepare experienced registered healthcare professionals to develop their professional careers as Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACPs). 

Apprentices will develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to act with a high level of autonomy by learning about the four pillars that underpin advanced clinical practice (ACP), clinical practice, leadership and management, research and education. Apprentices will enhance their skills in holistic and systematic assessment, complex decision making and the provision of high-quality evidence-based interventions for patients, clients and their families. Apprentices will be supported in practice within the workplace, strengthening their learning through the application of theory to their scope of practice.

This programme incorporates a Non-Medical Prescribing (NMP) module which, upon successful completion, enables apprentices to gain professional, statutory and regulatory body recognition as a non-medical prescriber within their scope of practice as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Non-Medical Prescribing awarded by The Open University.


Why choose The Open University’s Advanced Clinical Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship?

The Advanced Clinical Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship:

  • Improves clinical outcomes, continuity of care and patient waiting times.
  • Empowers the multi-professional team to respond to changing demands on services.
  • Makes better use of the skills of health professionals, enabling them to perform at the top of their licence.
  • Provides staff with career development opportunities which values their skills and aids retention.
  • Makes use of the apprenticeship levy.
  • Provides tutor-supported online learning delivered flexibly around the demands of your organisation, enabling apprentices to balance study with personal commitments and minimising time away from the workplace.
  • Offers learning that is consistently high-quality and accessible 24/7 and for multiple staff, regardless of their location.
  • Allows apprentices to apply what they learn immediately into practice, for the positive benefit of the organisation.
  • Benefits from the OU's 50+ years’ experience of providing knowledge and skills to busy working adults and proven history of delivering apprenticeship programmes to organisations from the NHS to FTSE 100 companies.
  • Includes non-medical, independent and/or supplementary prescribing.

To learn more or to find out how we can help your organisation, please contact us.

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Alongside the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) apprenticeship requirements, employers must also commit to the following Advanced Clinical Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship (ACPDA) programme requirements:

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  • Prepares registered healthcare professionals to develop as Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACPs).
  • Allows organisations to invest in staff training and nurture talent, in order to support their growth and efficiency.
  • Apprentices can immediately apply new learning into practice, for the benefit of service users.
  • Allows organisations to maximise the use of the apprenticeship levy. 

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This programme is aimed at registered and experienced nurses, midwives, pharmacists and Allied Health Professionals who are supported by their employers to develop into advanced clinical practice roles in a variety of clinical settings.

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Below is a summary of the eligibility criteria as set by the government for apprentices. For further information, see the Government funding rules.

To be eligible for government funding, at the start of the apprenticeship, apprentices must:

  • Be over 16 years old
  • Not be in full-time education
  • Have the right to live and work in England
  • Spend at least 50% of their working hours in England

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As well as meeting the eligibility criteria, applicants will need:

  • To hold a degree from a UK university or equivalent, or, if they are a registered non-graduate practitioner, be able to demonstrate equivalent academic ability and professional experience. Applicants with non-European academic qualifications will need to supply evidence of equivalency through NARIC / ENIC.
  • English and maths functional skills at Level 2 or equivalent. If an apprentice doesn’t hold an English and maths level 2 certificate, they must achieve these qualifications before they can be admitted to the end-point assessment to complete their apprenticeship programme. The OU will support apprentices to achieve these qualifications if needed. The OU strongly recommends that these qualifications are achieved within the first 12 months of the apprenticeship in order to have maximum benefit on academic study and workplace development.
  • Current registration with one of the statutory regulators of health and care professions.
  • Employment as a healthcare professional in an appropriate setting on a minimum contract, normally of 30 hours per week.
  • Evidence of their employer’s recommendation for their application for a programme of study leading to an advanced practice role. This will include a formal reference from the employer confirming the applicant:
    • Demonstrates professional values and behaviours
    • Respects people’s diversity, beliefs, culture, needs, values and preferences
    • Shows respect and empathy acting as a role model for others, and
    • Has ‘clinical readiness’ to undertake the programme.
  • Evidence of employer support to undertake the programme, including:
    • The provision of an appropriate mentor to ensure relevant learning in practice
    • The availability of appropriate supervision in clinical practice
    • For the Non-Medical Prescribing (NMP) module, the provision of a Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP).
  • Normally a minimum of two years post-qualification experience in the workplace.
  • For the latest information on vaccination requirements for frontline health and social care workers, please check the NHS England website and the Vaccination as a Condition of Deployment: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Pre-Registration Nursing and Midwifery and Allied Health Profession Students.

Apprentices undertaking the Non-Medical Prescribing (NMP) module will need to meet the specific regulatory requirements of that module, as follows:​

  • Hold a degree from a UK university or equivalent, or, if you are a registered non-graduate practitioner, be able to demonstrate equivalent academic ability and professional experience.
  • Be a level 1 NMC registered nurse (RN) or midwife or a pharmacist registered with the GPhC, or an allied health professional registered with the HCPC and satisfy the professional regulatory requirements to enter onto a prescribing programme.
  • Have a current and valid (within the last three years, or online) enhanced DBS certificate with checks made against all 5 registers.
  • Have as a minimum the appropriate length of experience as set by the respective regulatory body. This is currently one year for the NMC, two years for the GPhC, and three years for the HCPC.
  • Have been deemed competent to safely and effectively practice clinical/health assessments, diagnostics/care management, planning and evaluating care within their proposed area of prescribing practice.
  • Have identified an appropriate DPP, for nurses this is a Practice Supervisor, to supervise clinical practice and a Practice Assessor to assess clinical practice.

Apprentices will study the following modules.  Each module is offered once a year:

  • Non-medical and independent supplementary prescribing (60 credits)
  • Developing advanced clinical practice (60 credits)
  • Advancing professional practice (40 credits)
  • Advanced clinical practice – End-point Assessment (20 credits)

The topics covered will encompass the four pillars that underpin advanced clinical practice:

  • Clinical practice
  • Leadership, management and collaborative practice
  • Education and facilitation of learning
  • Research and enquiry-based practice

By the end of the programme, apprentices will be able to demonstrate they have met the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the apprenticeship standard for advanced clinical practice which include:

  • Demonstrating core capabilities and area-specific clinical competence
  • Managing clinical care in partnership with individuals, families and carers
  • Demonstrating analysis and synthesis of complex problems across a range of settings
  • Providing innovative solutions to enhance people’s experience and improve outcomes

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3


Non-medical prescribing

Developing advanced clinical practice

Advancing professional practice

End Point Assessment – Advanced Clinical Practice

MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice awarded.

EPA achieved.

Apprenticeship programme completed.

English and maths (functional skills) development*
   Theory modules


Employers will need to allow a part of an apprentice’s working time to be protected for off-the-job training. In addition, the employer will need to support the apprentice in the workplace through the provision of supervision, assessment, mentorship and access to relevant and appropriate learning opportunities throughout the programme, with recognition of the scope of practice that the applicant will be developing.

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We are a national provider with a local presence. Our apprenticeship programmes are supported closely by academic and practitioner colleagues who connect with employers to provide ongoing management of the programme delivery. The Open University has the experience and support in place to help apprentices succeed and make a positive impact on practice.

Your organisation and apprentices will be supported by expert staff who will work collaboratively with the relevant roles in your organisation:

Practice Tutor (PT)

The PT is a key role and provides individual support to apprentices to progress and complete all the requirements of the apprenticeship or professional programme they have enrolled in. The support is tailored to the context of each learner’s professional duties and their workplace environment. Regular engagement with each learner’s line manager or work-based supervisor are critical components of this role. In addition, the PT coaches the apprentice to integrate their academic learning with their professional work, guide them in the development of their portfolio and prepares them for their end-point assessment.

There are further roles and teams that support both apprentices and employers, and that work very closely with the PTs.

Academic Tutors

The role of the Academic Tutor is to support success by using, interpreting and building on the teaching resources produced by the OU and provided to apprentices. They monitor progression, mark assignments, provide personalised feedback and work in partnership to support the apprentices’ academic, personal and professional development. In addition, Academic Tutors provide pastoral support to apprentices. They are sometimes also referred to as Associate Lecturers or Module Tutors.

Apprenticeship Enrolment and Support Team (AEST)

The AEST supports apprentices throughout their Apprenticeship journey. This team of friendly Senior Advisors can offer advice and support for a range of queries apprentices may have whilst studying their modules, whether that be for advice on an upcoming assignment or exam, navigation around the OU online learning platforms or when they are experiencing difficult circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. This support team is able to reach out to a wide range of relevant teams within the University to help apprentices get back on track again.

English and Maths Support Team

This team made up of English and/or maths specialist tutors and support staff that work with apprentices who are required to achieve English and/or maths qualifications during their apprenticeship. These specialist tutors are able to provide one-to-one support in areas of challenge and to help prepare the apprentice for the formal qualification tests.

Apprenticeship Programme Delivery Managers (APDM)

This role supports employers to recruit and onboard applicants on to the chosen apprenticeship programme. APDMs provide information, advice and guidance and carry out an initial assessment to ensure the apprenticeship is the right one at the right level for the individual. APDMs provide quarterly management information reports to employers detailing learners progress and put interventions in place where an apprentice is in need of support. Employers will have a named APDM to be the primary contact for apprenticeship delivery throughout the programme.

Practice Assessor

Practice Assessors ensures the apprentice has resources to complete their competencies. They meet the apprentice regularly to follow up on their progress, discuss and sign off their competencies. The Practice Assessor is responsible for ensuring an apprentice is completing their competencies and liaises with other professionals and units to ensure the apprentice completes other competencies which may not be available in their allocated placement.

Practice Supervisor

The role of a Practice Supervisor is to support and supervise ACP nursing and midwifery apprentices in the practice learning environment. All ACP nursing and midwifery apprentices must be supervised while learning in practice environments.

Line Manager

This is a person in the workplace who supports the choice of apprenticeship programme for their employee or applicant and is involved in the onboarding process with their applicant. Line managers facilitate the apprentice to take off-the-job planned training time and they fully engage in 12 weekly progress review meetings with the Practice Tutor and apprentice. Line managers have regular one to one meetings with their apprentices to integrate the apprenticeship into performance and development. They are key to enabling a successful work-based project and completion of the apprentice’s end-point assessment.

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An apprenticeship requires a part of an apprentice’s working time for off-the-job protected training time to allow the apprentice to engage in the learning. The Open University’s tutor-supported online learning gives the employer and the apprentice the flexibility to pick the most suitable times around organisational and personal needs – minimising the impact on day-to-day productivity.

At present the face-to-face days on the programme are being delivered via online meeting rooms. It is a compulsory requirement for learners to attend these days. The Open University is currently reviewing the safe delivery of on-campus face-to-face days and the programme team will be guided by the university and the Statutory Health Profession Regulators in reviewing online and on-campus delivery. Employers and learners will be advised in advance of any changes to the delivery pattern.

Online delivery is both varied and interactive, using rich media formats that engage and enthuse apprentices on their journey. Learning can be accessed 24/7 on computers, tablets and mobile devices. Online forums and tutorials as well as email and telephone communication are used to support apprentices throughout the programme.

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For a more detailed look at our Advanced Clinical Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship, download our brochure, or contact our business team advisors.

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Develop the relevant skills for your organisation, improve productivity and achieve higher staff morale.

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Earn while you learn and develop the skills you need to gain access to sectors you want to work in.


We’re an Approved/Appointed Supplier on a large number of national frameworks and dynamic purchasing systems. See which frameworks are available to procure this programme through.

Advanced Clinical Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship

Advanced Clinical Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship

Delivered in partnership with employers, this flexible and innovative Level 7 Apprenticeship will prepare experienced registered healthcare professionals to develop their professional careers as Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACPs).

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Education & Skills Funding Agency European Union - European Social Fund Apprenticeships

Programme Summary

Location: England


  • The apprenticeship may be completed in a minimum of 29 months

Level and standard

Specific entry requirements

Recognition of prior learning (RPL)

End-point assessment (EPA)

  • Integrated

Qualifications achieved at the end of the programme

  • MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice
  • Advanced Clinical Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship awarded by the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE)

Additional information

Contact us

Disability support

Further information

For a more detailed look at our Advanced Clinical Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship, download our brochure.

Download brochure

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