How to become a healthcare assistant



with lots of other opportunities

In the


You can be a healthcare assistant by doing a course in a college or an apprenticeship. You can join our NHS work experience programme to learn more.


  • level 2 Diploma In Preparing for Further Study in Health, Social Care and Social Work
  • level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care
  • level 3 National Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care
  • T Level in Health

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level


As a healthcare assistant, you’ll need to be compassionate and caring. Being able to work in a team, be organised and know when to ask for help.

Career development

You could go on to train as a, nursing associate or a healthcare professional such as a nurse, podiatrist or midwife.

Podcast – healthcare assistant

A day in the life of a healthcare assistant

Why did you decide to be a healthcare assistant?

My career as a healthcare assistant only started once I moved to the UK. Before moving to the UK, I worked in a clinical setup for a good 15 years but my husband moved to the UK and he worked for the NHS. He worked long hours and we had two young kids, so I decided to do a course as a health care assistant in a surgery close to where I lived.

This surgery was flexible with hours and the GP, Doctor Mahmud, was very nice to me so I decided I will stay here working in a healthcare assistant role. This was because I could spend more time with my children, look after my young family and have time for myself. I enjoyed working and I loved coming to work which is why I’m still here 18 years down the line. 

How do people become healthcare assistants?

In fact, a healthcare assistant is a non-registered job title. You can do a phlebotomy training and get your certificate. With this certificate, you can join a GP surgery or hospital as a phlebotomist. As soon as you get exposed to different small roles, you can then do a care certificate and you’ll be trained to be healthcare assistant.

Finally, there are various levels, level 1-3, and at level 3 you can do various things like I do. From here you can progress to do nursing. It’s quite a nice place to start with. Especially if you’ve finished A Levels and you’re going to university, you can work part time and see what you like. 

How do you apply for a part time job as a healthcare assistant alongside education? Do you need any experience? 

To join as a health care assistant, you need a certificate of care. There’s a care certificate organised by the CCGs. Sometimes the receptionists or the care navigators are given this as a part of their career progression. They can do it if they are interested in becoming a healthcare assistant.

So once you have a care certificate, you can join as a healthcare assistant doing small things at level one and slowly build up your portfolio.

Whats the nicest thing about being a healthcare assistant?

One of the nice things about working in a general practice is that you work in the same place. Especially when you work in one place for most of your career, the patients become a part of your life. I get to watch them grow up almost. Along with this is the staff as well because they become like a family.

We work five days a week and we are all in the surgery five days a week. There are times when its tough and it’s busy but we are all working together and supporting each other. From the care navigators to the doctors.

Learn about other job roles in the NHS

You can find more information and job roles in the NHS below, or join our NHS work experience programme.

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