Taking a health course can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it also requires time, money and commitment. So before you sign up to study, it’s always best to carry out some detailed research.
We’ve come up with four key questions that will help you to decide which health course is right for you. Read on to discover what they are.
Question 1: What qualifications do I need?
The public health sector covers a wide range of careers, from mental health nursing to health and social care management or public health consultancy. Many of these careers have very specific entry requirements, so before you make any decisions, make sure that your chosen healthcare course will actually give you the qualifications you need. Here are a few examples:
Level 4 Diploma in Counselling or Psychotherapy, approved by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
Level 5/6 Diploma in Health and Social Care Management.
BSc in Physiotherapy or Accelerated MSc approved by the HCPC.
Care Worker/Personal Assistant
Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care.
Speech & Language Therapist
Speech and Language Therapy degree or an accelerated postgraduate course approved by the HCPC.
Question 2: How will I fund my studies?
Higher education courses
Changes are afoot in the way that health courses are funded. In December 2019, the UK government announced their new financial support offer, which guarantees that all nursing and midwifery students will receive at least £5000 per year from August 2020. Many allied health students will also be eligible for this grant, including trainee physiotherapists, dietitians, speech and language therapist and podiatrists.
And there’s more good news! If your chosen specialism is struggling to recruit enough students, or you live in an area that has experienced a drop in applicants, you could receive up to £3000 of extra funding. However, you will still need to rely on student loans to cover your tuition fees and maintenance costs.
But what if you’ve already got a degree and you want to retrain as a health worker? While you won’t receive the new bursary, you will now be eligible for financial support in the form of a student loan. You may also be able to apply for help with expenses such as childcare and travel costs.
Finally, if you’d rather earn while you learn, there’s always the option of doing a degree apprenticeship. Choose this route and your tuition fees will be paid, you’ll receive a salary and you’ll get plenty of hands-on experience.
If you don’t need a degree to access your chosen career there are three main options in terms of financial support.
Question 3: What is the time commitment?
While you’ll qualify more quickly if you study your healthcare course full time, it’s worth thinking carefully about whether you can manage the commitment involved. If full-time study isn’t an option, don’t despair, as you’ll find that many health courses can be taken on a part-time basis. For example, nursing degrees can be studied part-time over four years instead of three. Part-time physiotherapy degrees are also available, although successful completion can take between four and six years.
If you need to earn while you learn, you could look into doing a health-related apprenticeship, as you’ll be paid a salary and you’ll gain plenty of valuable work experience. Four-year degree level nursing apprenticeships are widely available, and there are also opportunities in the health and social care sector.
The NHS currently employs around
apprentices across the UK
Need to gain your health qualification flexibly? We offer a great range of online courses such as our Healthcare Management Diploma or our self-paced level 3 Diploma in Counselling. Studying course content via distance learning does require self-motivation, but it’s a great option if you need to fit your professional development around your other responsibilities.
Question 4: Do I have the skills to succeed?
Most health careers are hands-on and involve lots of contact with a wide variety of people, so before you commit to a course it’s best to be absolutely sure that you have the right mix of soft skills and personality traits.
Shadowing a health professional is the perfect way to discover what their job really involves, so we recommend doing this if you can.
Soft skills every health worker needs
Choosing which health course to take is a decision that could have a major impact on your future career. But if you answer our four key questions, you can be confident that you’re making the right choice.
Ready to start the decision-making process? Check out our high-quality healthcare courses today!