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What healthcare careers can you go into with a college qualification?

By 2020, the National Careers Service predicts that there will be over 100,000 more job opportunities in healthcare, so now could be an astute time to think about a career in this sector. What’s more, many healthcare jobs don’t require a university level qualification.

“Only about 50% of jobs in the National Health Service require a degree or similar professional qualification. You don’t need to be a doctor or nurse to gain the satisfaction of helping people and improving the quality of their lives,” says Sue Hughes, an adviser with the NHS.

That’s great news for those students who don’t have a degree, or feel that college is more suited for them.  Professionals from other industries may also be able to transfer their skills to a job in the health sector.

The NHS needs to equip its front line with vital support staff such as ambulance paramedics and emergency medical dispatchers, dental hygienists and dental nurses, cardiographers, radiography and image assistants, medical secretaries and administration staff, nutritionists, pharmacy assistants, patient care attendants, social workers, janitors, engineers and so many others, so there’s bound to be something to suit your skills.

For a full list of health care careers and their entry requirements, click here.

Evidently, the opportunities to help those in need is vast and varied, as the national healthcare ship needs so much more than just doctors and nurses to keep it afloat. We’ve taken a look at just some of the exciting jobs you could do, what they involve and the qualifications you need to apply:


Cardiographers are in charge of monitoring patients’ heartbeats using a machine called an electrocardiograph (ECG), as well as many other duties to support the work of cardiologists (doctors specialising in the cardiovascular system). You don’t need a formal cardiology qualification to apply. Instead you’ll get on the job training, working alongside doctors, surgeons and nurses for a qualification form the Society for Cardiological Science and Technology. You will need good numeracy and literacy, and may be asked for at least two GCSEs or equivalent to apply. It would also be an advantage to have some experience in health or social care.

Health and Social care courses at Derby College

Healthcare assistant

If you want to directly work with patients, a healthcare assistant could be an incredibly rewarding route to take. Helping people with disabilities, illnesses and old age fall under this role and, again, you don’t need any formal qualifications to do this unless you want to work with children. You’ll work under the guidance and supervision of a qualified health professional such as a GP or midwife, and the role can be as varied as processing lab samples, caring for patients’ needs, monitoring patient conditions or conducting health education work. Good English and Maths is useful, but what is important is that you have ‘soft skills’ such as being caring, kind, friendly and a willingness to be hands-on with patients and do personal care tasks.

Our Access to Healthcare courses

Prosthetic technician

A Prosthetic Technician has the opportunity to change lives. You’ll work alongside a Prosthetist to create tailor-made artificial limbs for patients with missing body parts. The role will involve working with people who have either been born with a missing limb, or have lost a limb through accident, military service, or amputation due to a medical condition.  After the Prosthetist has assessed the patient’s needs, you will manufacture the limb using design technology such as CAD (Computer-Aided Design) or CAM (Computer-Aided Modelling). There are no formal entry requirements, but five relevant GCSE’s grade A-C in subjects such as Maths, Science, English and Engineering are key for this role, as well as being creative and good with your hands.

View our relevant courses

Maternity support worker

Working with expectant mums and supporting Midwives to ensure mothers and babies receive the best care possible is an incredibly fulfilling job. As a Maternity Support Worker you’ll be responsible for helping the Midwife provide expectant and new mothers with the support they need. You’ll also work closely with the mothers, help with parenting classes, providing mothers with support to care for themselves and their new baby, and update the midwives on the condition of your patients. Each NHS Trust sets their own entry requirements, but it will be preferred if you have GCSE Maths and English grade C or higher, paid or voluntary experience in a relevant environment, or an NVQ in Health and Social Care.

Need help with your GCSEs? We can help you get the grades you need, no matter how long you’ve been away from education. Click here.

If you’re passionate about working in a profession to help people and improve their quality of life, it may not be as far out of reach as you think.

Check out the courses we have on offer that could help to set you on a rewarding path.


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