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Certificate of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice

This certificate of higher education enables healthcare support staff to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to underpin effective practice. You’ll develop a wide range of practical skills and competencies, while exploring essential biological, social, political, ethical and psychological concepts. You’ll also build valuable numeracy, literacy, IT, communication and cognitive skills.

Key features of the course

  • Designed for healthcare support workers, aspiring assistant practitioners and aspiring nursing students
  • Includes a strong work-based element - your employer must provide significant supervision by a registered nurse for 770 practice hours and comprehensive programme support
  • Theoretical aspects studied mainly online
  • Includes work-based and academic assessment
  • Builds a solid foundation for further study

A nationally recognised qualification in its own right, this certificate of higher education is also equivalent to the first stage of a foundation degree or an honours degree.

Course Summary

Certificate

Certificate

  • Widely recognised qualification.
  • Equivalent to the first third of an honours degree.
  • Study for interest or career development.
  • Shows that you can study successfully at university level.
  • Count it towards further qualifications such as a foundation degree, DipHE or honours degree.
Course code
T01
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
120
How long it takes
Part time – 2 years
Full time – 1 year
Time limit – 7 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This certificate of higher education has one stage, comprising 120 credits.

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module. See Entry requirements for more details.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll be introduced to the study of health and social care, together with underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills. You’ll consider care in a variety of settings, alongside work-based study of the factors influencing health in different service user groups. There is a strong focus on person-centred, compassionate care and the development of practice-based skills to meet patient/client needs.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2021.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Certificate of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • using mathematical and biological expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
  • undertaking practical work (patient/client care)
  • finding external/third party material online
  • in addition to the above, the regulatory body for the nursing programme (the NMC) has guidance on health and disability relating to fitness for professional practice.

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.

It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Certificate of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 


Entry requirements

To study our Certificate of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice, you’ll need to:

  • work in a healthcare setting for a minimum of two days per week
  • remain in employment while studying towards this certificate
  • be involved in the direct delivery of care or providing interventions for patients/clients
  • provide confirmation of your employer’s support for your studies1
  • have a workplace supervisor qualified in the same area of practice to support and assess your work-based learning1
  • have access to a computer and the internet.

1You must have the support of your employer for the work-based module Introduction to healthcare practice (K104). This includes your employer providing supervision by a registered nurse for the 770 practice hours needed to complete the module. Read the Guidance for employers and supervisors or see the module description for more details.

Please note 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 1-2 years.
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner

Preparing for study with an Access module

Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
  • support from a dedicated team throughout your study
  • detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.

View full details of People, work and society Access module

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.
  • Most OU students study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,168*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits, which is equivalent to a year's full-time study, is £6,336*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £6,336*.

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2022. 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 set books, a computer and internet access.

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.


Skills for career development

The certificate builds key employability skills in areas such as communication, IT, problem-solving, planning and organisation. It also prepares you for further academic study.

Career relevance

Although this certificate provides no guarantee of promotion in the workplace, it is designed as the first step to prepare healthcare support workers for the role of assistant/associate practitioner. Your employer is required to provide a workplace supervisor/mentor who will support and assess you in the workplace.

Following completion of this qualification, you may wish to pursue further study opportunities leading to, for example, our BSc (Honours) Nursing. The Certificate of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice allows access to Stage 2 of this degree, subject to successful selection and meeting the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) minimum entry requirements.

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
  • Advice worker
  • Practice manager
  • Child protection officer
  • Youth worker
  • Probation officer
  • Community development worker
  • Care home manager
  • Health services manager
  • Child protection officer.

Register for this course

Please see Entry requirements to register for this course as online registration is not available.

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